Revel's roasted cauliflower arrangement reminded this reviewer of the Game of Thrones' Wall. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN

Revel Bistro & Bar
9802 Jasper Ave.
587-524-3333
Reveledmonton.com  (reservations as well)

No delivery listed

Tues. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (12 a.m. Friday)
Sat. 4:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday.

Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns
Ambience:  4.5 of 5 Suns
Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns

Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $80

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

By GRAHAM HICKS

The Weekly Dish recently commented on very fine chefs working in Edmonton with little, if any, public profile.

Here’s another one: Kunal Sawhney, now six months at the Revel Bistro + Bar as executive chef.

A dinner at Revel – in the historic Alberta Hotel across from the Edmonton Convention Centre – was worthy of 4.5 out of 5 Suns for the food.

Every Sawhney creation was a pleasing, exciting culinary adventure.

It’s all the more uplifting because the restaurant space – despite its ideal downtown location and historic authenticity – has had a rough go since opening in 2013.

Original restaurateur Larry Stewart (Hardware Grill) opened Tavern 1903 in the space, only to leave due to a dispute with the landlord.  Spencer Thompson’s Alberta Hotel + Grill lasted from 2014 to 2016.

Kaylen and Kaylan Como (Privada Wine & Tapas in St. Albert) took the space in 2016 as Revel Bistro & Bar (not to be confused with Rebel in the inner west end).  But then executive chef Tony Krause – now at Beaumont’s Chartier – exited.

Revel’s planets deserve alignment under Sawhney.

Sawhney is Edmonton-raised and trained. Before returning, he was a sous-chef at Vancouver’s prestigious Hawksworth eatery.

In presentation and taste, his roasted cauliflower was bold and dynamic. The visual was a mini-Wall from Game of Thrones – a roasted cauliflower foundation, crispy chicken wing buttresses, pureed eggplant buttons as sentinels, with added flavours from Middle-East condiments  and pickled cucumber.

The man is a master of fusion:  The smoothest, creamiest dahl soup ever was poured, table-side, around a pakora. The contrast between the submerged pakora with its shredded cucumber/mint raita and the pureed dahl was near-sensational.

A pakora peeks out from an ultra-smooth pureed dahl soup.

And then the big, light, fluffy gnocchi, sprinkled with crumbled pancetta and potato crumbs, crisped and embellished with a whisper of pickled asparagus.

Finally, beautifully  seared scallops, each perched on a smoked pork belly morsel, flavoured with a subtle romesco sauce.

A close-up of Revel’s fluffy crumbled-pancetta topped gnocchi.

Clearly we were in the hands of a master chef. Sawhney has a deep understanding of flavour combinations, of artistically outstanding presentations.

Would that the same could be said of Revel’s service. A sloppily-dressed young man took care of us — pleasant enough, but obviously untrained — with no knowledge of what he was serving.

Each scallop was paired with a mouth-watering morsel of smoked pork belly.

May Sawhney have a long run at Revel. His food alone ought to make the restaurant/bar one of the most popular in Edmonton.

FOOD NOTES

Lindsay Porter, owner/chef at London Local, is competing in the Food Network Canada’s Firemasters grilling competition episode airing this Thursday, April 25, 2019  at 8 p.m. To celebrate, London Local is offering a “Brewmaster Meets Firemaster” dinner during the show, a  four-course meat-lovers delight with Belgian/German beer pairings for only $65 a person. Google ‘Eventbrite’ and ‘Brewmaster’ to reserve seating.

Coming to London Local Tuesday, April 30, is the 152nd gathering of the Art of Conversation from 4:30 p.m. on.

• Welcome home: After a stint in the Okanagan, chef and former Sun food writer Phil Joy is back home as the Sorrentino Group’s Director of Culinary Operations.

• Opening in early summer is Nate Box’s  Fox Burger/June’s Delicatessen in the under-renovation Gibbard Block in the historic Highlands neighbourhood. Once home to La Boheme Restaurant, it will come with a third-floor rooftop patio.

Meanwhile, Nate’s Elm Café sandwich shop is about to become Speedy Cantina, home of the city’s best burritos.