Some of the dishes on offer you at Calgary’s Lonely Mouth Bar. The restaurant opened in December, 2021, and is positioned in the well known district of 17th Avenue.Gavin John/The World and Mail

Lonely Mouth Bar

Spot: 528 17 Ave SW, Calgary


Rate: $6.50-$38

Delicacies: Up to date Japanese

Atmosphere: Innovative, but energetic

Beverages on provide: Sake, cocktails, wine, beer

Finest bets: Pickled cucumber, milk buns, chicken wings, udon, miso cod, scallops, shochu vesper (cocktail)

Vegetarian pleasant? Of course, but not overly vegan friendly.

Extra info: Open from 12 p.m. to late, 7 times a week. Satisfied hour from 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.

Does 17th Avenue definitely want 1 more restaurant?

This is a dilemma I commonly request myself just about every time it is announced that an eatery is below advancement on the Calgary street that, typically, feels like it may possibly burst if another institution opens its doors.

With an overpopulated road of food stuff and consume options will come a great deal of closings and reimaginings. And that is just how a single of Concorde Group’s latest eating places sprang to daily life.

The space that housed the fledgling Ox Bar de Tapas for several years in advance of shuttering in late 2019 re-emerged at the tail stop of 2021 as Lonely Mouth Bar. The sake-centered bar presents a combine of classic and inventive Japanese delicacies and, given that opening virtually six months back, it remains a warm ticket on Calgary’s competitive dining strip.

Scallops with ginger purée, kombu buttermilk and turnips.Gavin John/The World and Mail

While the format of Lonely Mouth leans intensely on the bare bones of its room predecessor (and kinds ahead of it), it does supply up a vibe all its have courtesy of the cafe group’s go-to interior industry experts at the substantially-sought-just after Frank Architecture and Layout. A sky-high wood-panelled entrance door leaves a placing 1st impact followed by a slick south corner bar and north corner kitchen area. The primary dining place, divided by a wood display divider wall, is chock total of textured blue banquette backs with heat-hued leather benches, thick-corduroy pink chairs, massive lantern lights and additional.

In other text, it is a pretty neat house. A single that lends alone nicely to a see-and-be-noticed night out with friends or for an amazing day, but probably not a relaxed evening meal with the prolonged household.

From a myriad of funky sake and cocktail options to hand rolls, sashimi and inventive Japanese-style (and/or motivated) creations, the menu right here offers quite a few explanations to occur back for repeat visits.

Lonely Mouth govt chef Tomohiro Mitsuno garnishes a bowl of udon noodles.Gavin John/The Globe and Mail

The humble dimensions of most “salty snacks” on Lonely Mouth’s menu signify one particular can get a smattering of dishes – followed by hand rolls – ahead of segueing into mains. Standouts right here incorporate the pickled cucumber, which arrived in the form of toddler cucumber chunks sliced into an accordion-like impact and dressed with a vibrant ginger dressing. A legitimate epitome of refreshing, this crunchy vegetable dish could easily serve as a palate cleanser at any time all over a meal below.

Then there’s the soft, pillowy milk buns served with a a little nutty, koji-cultured butter and wisps of crispy nori. A glutenous plate that will help soak up the correctly boozy, but dynamic shochu vesper, a Japanese-encouraged variation of the typical martini produced with cucumber-infused vodka, shochu and the white wine aperitif quinquina blanc.

I’ll have (and did have) an additional.

Kake udon with dashi, scallion and tempura kasu.Gavin John/The World and Mail

Chicken wings do not essentially soar out at a particular person whilst perusing the menu of a contemporary Japanese eatery, but on my 2nd stop by to Lonely Mouth, I gave them a consider. The marinated rooster wings coupled with a pleasantly light, shattery tempura batter and a tangy yuzu ranch dip make for just one heck of a unforgettable bar snack.

Had been these (unexpectedly) some of the most effective wings in Calgary? I would undoubtedly say so.

Request a Calgarian who’s been to this cafe what their spotlight of the food was and most would proclaim the kake udon (udon soup) many thanks to the noodles becoming built in-property on the daily. It is a method that is unusual in Canada and 1st in Alberta, so it feels justified to be impressed with the thick and toothsome noodles that arrive at your table, swimming in a piping sizzling dashi with scallions, togarashi, crispy bits of tempura and yuzu zest.

The zest of the Asian citrus fruit is akin to tasting sunshine. It is strong, taste-bud-commanding, nonetheless never ever overpowering. Rooted in Japanese cuisine, you will find yuzu peppered all over the menu listed here, but it puts its best foot forward with the udon.

Govt chef Tomohiro Mitsuno, still left, and regional supervisor and sake sommelier Amanda Jensen.Gavin John/The Globe and Mail

Lonely Mouth’s tempura offerings run the gamut from prawns and gentle-boiled eggs to yams and shistos, nothing at all out of the regular and tasty enough with the gentle, golden batter. Also, the hand rolls do not disappoint or extremely impress, but instead flavourful fillers in among your snacks, udon and primary dishes.

The Alberta beef hand roll, with fried garlic, black garlic and scallions, is a delicate homage to tartare (or I interpreted it as these), so maybe a very best wager in this category.

Head chef May Ng and government chef Tomo Mitsunno aren’t participating in all over with their fantastically offered sashi platter accompanied by light-weight and dark shoyu. High-high quality cuts of seafoods like scallops and bluefin tuna discuss for by themselves listed here.

Composed major plates like the incredibly seared scallops, nestled into a blend of kombu, miso-dressed turnips and a buttermilk eco-friendly sauce and a sake-marinated miso cod with mizuna and radish salad in a goma dressing more enhance that the seafood recreation at Lonely Mouth is a strong 1.

Lonely Mouth restaurant is positioned in the space that formerly housed Ox Bar de Tapas.Gavin John/The World and Mail

Like most people, I am by no signifies a sake skilled, but did extensively get pleasure from the descriptive nature of the sake menu in this article as very well as the entrance of house’s array of sake cups and pouring vessels to offer some entertaining approachability to a subsect of the liquor environment that can usually feel daunting. I am now smitten with the Fukucho Yuzu Lemon Sake, an featuring I can only explain as a sake model of limoncello. There’s that yuzu “sunshine” impact once more!

“Kuchisabishii: when you are not hungry, but you try to eat due to the fact your mouth is lonely,” reads the restaurant menu.

Which is exactly how I felt as I spooned into a heat sweet potato fritter topped with miso caramel and a awesome miso gelato at the tail stop of a past-filling evening meal.

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