Canada’s Winnipeg has a number of surprisingly top notch restaurants. Why surprising? Winnipeg isn’t necessarily known as a foodie city in the same way San Francisco, New York and Paris is, and yet, I met a boat load of foodies, and people in the industry whose passion is food.
DESEO Bistro is a culinary delight run by Alejandro Mora and chef Scott Bagshaw who publicly cultivates a bad-boy reputation. Bad-boy aside, which no doubt adds to the his allure for some while mystifying others, he’s an amazing chef who churns out one A+ dish after another.
If you’re in Winnipeg, meander upstairs, have a drink at the bar and THEN, start ordering dishes and you’ll see what I mean.
Luckily, because we were a fairly large group, we took over a corner round table and did precisely that.
There are quirky things you wouldn’t expect that we didn’t order, such as house caramel popcorn and smoked chili and the Patatas Bravas, which is duck fat fried fingerling potatoes served with a spicy aioli.
A must try is the “pictured above” seared scallops dish. Scallops are served on top of a miso and celeriac puree, topped off with the unusually delicious combination of bacon, burnt orange and caviar.
They offer a fat page of DESEO small bites, which include healthier lighter choices such as roasted carrots in a honey vinaigrette, great to share options like the Chorizo & Figs in a sweet and sour anise and the Diver caught octopus, pan fried, served with green beans, harissa, marcona almonds, sweet and sour jicama and Greek yogurt.
Other must tries include the Duck Confit served in a creamy white polenta, duck reduction and grapefruit and the Butternut Squash Gnocchi, served with brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, feta and brown butter. Yum!
Did I mention the pan seared prawns served in garlic, white beans and a house smoked chili sauce?
I also had the Warm Beet Salad, which was served with a gorgonzola cheese, pistachios, pea shoots and apply vinny.
From braised beef short ribs and rack of lamb to pork belly served in a parsnip puree and sherry syrup, the menu is diverse and interesting. For example, they serve their lamb with spring peas almondine, potato and prosciuto pavee, with salt roasted beet and Cabernet reduction. The Duo of Duck was also divine – they sear it and serve with a toasted brioche, beet stained shallots and a pear mostarda. If you want to still go decadent but stay away from red meat, they have a Chilean Trout, which is served with green beans, fresh gnocchi, panchetta, lobster aioli and trout caviar.
Sold on the menu yet? Take a look.
The upstairs bar area.
Disclosure: Winnipeg Tourism sponsored my dinner at DESEO, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.