Alder Room – Modern, experiential, regionally inspired…

Ben Staley is pulling out all the stops (and buzzwords) in his latest venture, Alder Room.

Four nights of the week, Alder Room serves between 15 and 20 courses in a tasting menu affair. The night we went, 17 courses were offered. FYI: the cost at present is $160 plus $50 for juice pairings, $60 for juice and wine combination pairing, or $70 for full wine pairing. You must reserve and purchase your “ticket” online before the dinner and without knowing what you will be eating.  No refunds are given, however if you can’t make the night you’ve booked, you can still use your ticket at another time.  A matinee tasting menu of 10 items is also now available for $100.

It’s an ambitious approach, for sure, but will it fly?

The food, like what was served at the now-closed Alta next door, has been prepared before hand so what you witness is almost three hours of plating as opposed to cooking. As each item is served, Ben Staley explains the preparation method of the dish and how the ingredients were raised. The first handful of dishes are served in the front ‘living room’ and then guests are moved to a long counter with mid-backed stools.

In my on-air review, I mistakenly said the beets were cooked for three days (it should be three hours), and that the pork belly was roasted; correction – it was cooked (sous vide, as revealed a few days later) for 36 hours. Sitting at that long counter is not only tiresome and somewhat uncomfortable after a time, it also makes hearing difficult—not just with what the chef is saying, but amongts your dinner party as well, especially if there are more than two of you.

Alder Room secured position #10 on enRoute’s 2017 Top 10 Best New Restaurant list.

Read about my experience here.

Pictures of the dishes on the night we dined are below.

Ash covered quail eggs, smoked potatoes, malted hazelnuts.
Fried sunchoke skins.
Caramelized cabbage leaves.
Scallops, kohlrabi and cucumber.
Beets and blueberries in hay cream.
Butternut squash with walnut and koji.
Cabbage with caramelized tomato puree and chicken jus.
Pork belly, green tomato, wild onion.

Caramelized sunchoke ice cream with wild rice.


Salty Jersey milk ice cream with maple syrup.

Author: Twyla Campbell

World-wide wanderer, CBC Edmonton AM Restaurant Reviewer, Member of Edmonton’s Slow Food convivium, oenophile, epicurean explorer and a freelance writer whose works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including More, Above & Beyond, Avenue (Edmonton), Up Here, Northern Flyer, Opulence, City Palate, the Edible Prairie Journal, The Edmonton Journal, Slow Food Canada, Lifestyle Alberta, and on Slow Food Edmonton’s website. Grant MacEwan University (Professional Writing Program) Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree (in progress). I’m a Tweeter @wanderwoman10