Chic atmosphere, fine food, fab service, and beverages the entice the taste buds to wake up. That is exactly what you will find at Calgary’s One18Empire, a whiskey inspired bar and restaurant. With a selection of over 100 whiskeys, you could spend plenty of time sipping your little heart out. I do enjoy sipping on a fine whiskey myself. The focal point of their local inspired fare is shareable plates. The whole concept really intrigued me, so I had to go and experience it for myself.
Located in the Marriot Hotel downtown, One18Empire’s ambiance is very inviting.
The name is derived from where it was located on the original historic Atlantic Avenue in the early 1900’s known then as the Grand Central Hotel. There was a time the hotel nearly blew up way back when an old miner shoveled dynamite in the furnace. They now have a drink named after the event called ‘Near Miss‘. A perfect place to unwind after work full of rich Calgary history.
Our server for the evening was Meredith, she was awesome from the get go. I was digging the uniforms which were that of workshop apparel too, and also the trays they use.
Very fashionable workshop apparel I might add.
We got right in there with some Bourbon to start things off. The Black Walnut Old Fashioned – their signature cocktail. Which also happens to be one of the worlds first written down recipes. I was instantly enamored by the large tennis size ball of ice in my glass. Not gonna lie, the ice sphere was pretty darn cool.
Apparently it is not just for show either. It also has a purpose as I was informed. The ice melts slowly because of its shape and size, so that it maintains your drink at the perfect temperature while very minimally changing the taste, so as to keep it good until the last drop. That it was!! Delicious. I could get used to sipping on that.
My tastebuds were awakened, and seeing as how One18Empire’s focus is on shareable plates, we dug right into a charcuterie board. I do love a good charcuterie board, it is a common staple back in Spain, so it almost brought me back home to Mallorca for a moment. I was very impressed with their personal touches on the board consisting of house made marmalade, house made pickles, and house made mustard. Those details always make a difference.
Accompanied with that fine feast was the simple beet salad.
Don’t let the name fool you, that salad was not so simple, it was more like divine.
With a chilled bottle of Reisling on the go, and even though we were feeling quite stuffed from the first course, we still went on to tuck into a couple of mains. Seeing as how we were already in sharing mode, we thought it best to stay on that train and choose a main each for the both of us to try.
We decided on the Seared duck breast and the Alberta grass fed petite tender .
I would have to say my favorite of the two was the tenderloin, it was superb.
This was absolutely a divine experience, and we were provided with ample history of One18Empire by our knowledgeable and top notch server Meredith, her bubbly personality, and attentive service really made the experience a memorable one.
Unfortunately we didn’t do any whiskey sampling, or see the whole restaurant, but that is just more reason to go back sooner rather then later – and I absolutely will be going back for an extended experience. One18Empire, a historical sensory filled culinary journey not to be missed.