Colonial's union of flavours

Colonial Fusion Cuisine
163 Quarry Park Blvd. S.E.
Calgary, (403) 723-6669

Rating: *** 1/2

Dinner for two with drinks: $75
Signature Dish: Mahogany quail ($23)
Signature Drink: Blossoming jasmine tea

The colonization of Quarry Park, an old gravel pit redeveloped into Calgary's newest community, hasn't quite registered on GPS or Google Maps. But Colonial Fusion Cuisine knows its place, offering an innovative blend of Vietnamese, French and Thai flavours.

You can't, and shouldn't, compare Colonial (which lists a $46 lobster pad thai) to a typical Vietnamese noodle joint. A Swarovski crystal dragon hangs over Colonial's sleek bar; stunning orchids and silver chopsticks adorn the tables.

Grilled la lot leaves ($13) are a refined take on a traditional Vietnamese appetizer. Betel leaves are wrapped around tender marinated beef with a chili lime dipping sauce.

The star of our meal was the mahogany quail ($23), plump quarter-birds brushed with honey, garlic, coconut juice and bits of caramelized onion. With quail this tasty, there's no shame in using fingers and gnawing on the bones.

Salmon caramelized in fish sauce ($23) is cooked just enough for the fresh fish to come through, along with garlic and jalapeno. Meaty duck breast ($27) made up for a mild red curry sauce.

Most diners seemed to be eating entrees individually, but the oversized plates — heaped with crisp, seasonal vegetables — are easily shared.

Of note, tea comes in the form of beautiful blossoms served in glass teapots.

Dining out

McDonald's has introduced chicken (crispy or grilled) sandwiches on mini baguettes in either pesto or spicy thai flavours at the mini price of $1.99 plus tax.

In brief

Food Festival
The Salut Wine + Food Festival runs from April 7-17 and showcases fine wine and gourmet food. Go to or call (403) 457-4544 for more info.

Hotel California
The California Wine Fair showcasing 100 state wineries, hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction with proceeds going to the Calgary Opera is at the Hotel Arts (119 12th Ave. S.W.) April 9. Call (403) 262-7286 for more info.

More on