Tekarra is Back, Baby

    John Strugnell October 14, 2016

    Tekarra Restaurant has put the coals back on the fire, passionately serving the best meal I’ve had there in years.

    With new owners (Cyndi and Mike Day from Evil Dave’s) and a new chef, dining room manager and menu, this hidden gem in Jasper has raised its once high-set bar even higher.

    Tekarra has the ability to transport you in time: fast forwarding to modern menus and contemporary drinks, rewinding with décor of timber and antler and freezing the clock while you’re there.

    I ordered the Riverbank Gin and Tonic upon arrival, with Eau Clair gin, Saskatoon berry compote, lime and tonic. My date Andy had the Tekarra 75; Eau Clair, Prosecco, simple syrup, lemon peel and lemon juice, garnished with a brandy cherry. Both were dangerously good and perfect for our patio table.

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    The new menu is well designed with twelve sharing plates and starters. Entrées are protein heavy with one vegetarian option of quinoa risotto, which I’ve heard is awesome.

    We started with a Canadian sourced nori trout roll. The fish is house smoked and prepared like a maki roll, breaded in panko and flash fried. There’s a maple and soy reduction on the side, which, if I had it my way, would be on everything I eat for the rest of my life.

    The crispy coating balanced with the salty, sweet sauce. And while it was light on the trout flavour, the meal was still recognisable as a sushi roll. I could have eaten two.

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    For mains, we both ordered the wild boar belly: thick slices of pan seared pork served on creamy peppercorn and bean purée. There was an earthy apple, molasses and roast grape tomato side, as well as young carrots, green beans and fresh pea shoots.

    The boar was exquisite. Its fat was delicate on the palate and complemented the caramelized meat. I wish it came with a hundred slices, but alas, it was five.

    Given that summer is coming to a close, the mix of seasonal vegetables, hearty dark sweetness, chilly patio breeze and waning sun was magic all on its own.

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    Andy ordered the chocolate tart for dessert: house made chocolate with the velvet texture of a truffle, poured into a Graham shell and served with strawberry salsa.

    I had a Sazerac with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Dark Horse rye, Absinthe, simple syrup, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters: a sweet and savoury end to my meal.

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    The professionalism of the restaurant’s staff was unrivalled. They asked if there was a special occasion when I booked my reservation, and I noticed the ‘less is more’ and well-timed appearances of our server. I finish with my opening argument. Tekarra is back, baby.

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