Boxwood (Calgary) – A nice spin-off of River Cafe
We got a nice gift certificate over the holidays from my sis C to Boxwood. We’d been before but every time I could get there, I would forget my camera. It is beautifully located inside Central Memorial Park. It seems to me that the River Cafe people must really like to make people take a small walk in order to get to their restaurants. It isn’t quite as nice as River Cafe, with the atmospheric walk across the bridge and through the start of Princess Island Park… but it still adds to the experience. I am a bit surprised with how clean the park is considering how close the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre is. I always find areas close to hospital/urgent care centres are a bit dodgy.
Like River Cafe, the ideology appears to be local ingredients and simple preparations. They really focus on sandwiches during lunch hour. I haven’t been during dinner but the menu looks really tasty. They also have board games… I wonder what happens at night! They are pretty busy and don’t take reservations unfortunately. You have to mark your name on the wall with chalk when you get in… just FYI. Sometimes they are so busy that no one reminds you to do that and you stand there awkwardly for a while.
This is the Vietnamese Style Driview Farm Lamb with chilies, cilantro, pickled carrots and cucumber for $10. The bread was nice and doughy but not the baguette I was expecting considering this was “Vietnamese” style. The lamb meatballs were savory and slightly sweet. There was just enough lamb flavour without punching you in the nose. The pickeled carrots and cucumbers really added a lot of freshness to the dish.
This is the roasted tomato and white bean stew with swiss chard, sage, arugula and almond pistou for $7. Warm, salty, and clear, this was a nice complement to the sandwiches. When your mouth was starchy from bread… this would wash it all down. I love swiss chard. It is wonderfully bitter.
This is the Faro salad with red wine vinaigrette, red cabbage, celery, beets, and radishes for $8. This was a massive salad for the price. It was so healthy tasting too. I usually hate this kind of food but it was well seasoned and fresh. It had some nice crunch and acid too.
This is the Bowden Farm naturally raised roast chicken with fresh apple, preserved lemon, and basil aioli for $10. I was sad that this was a cold chicken dish but the meat had so much chicken flavour. You know when you eat good chicken, where it tastes deliciously of the chicken fat… and not of brine or of salt or of herbs, just wonderful chicken fat? This sandwich captures that. This was delicious, I just wish it was warm.
Overall, Boxwood really lives up to its expectations as the spin-off restaurant from River Cafe. Fresh ingredients with really simple production. No fuss. No muss. Just delicious flavours. I’ll come here again.
Boxwood, Central Memorial Park, 340 13th Avenue SW, Calgary, (403) 265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca