The restaurant’s name is a throwback to the bygone days of luxury travel by rail. Paying homage to Fairmont’s place in Canadian history as a Canadian Pacific Railway hotelier, ‘notch-8’ is the top speed on a locomotive. Great name choice, Fairmont.
Opened in 2015, this oh-so-glamorous space is the perfect mix of old world charm and ‘Mad Men’ chic, punctuated with modern touches—the spectacular light fixtures are definite showstoppers. And the food is equally alluring. Executive Chef Cameron Ballendine draws from his global experience—China, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and France—and combines his passion for local products with an international flair to create ‘classic + simple + fresh food.’
After taking a seat in one of the fabulous curtained booths, which felt like a luxurious train carriage, we perused the extensive wine and cocktail menu. We particularly liked the ‘charts’ that helped us choose our pre- and post-prohibition cocktails—like Moneypenny’s Vesper (Beefeater gin, Grey Goose vodka, Lillet Blanc, and cranberry); Maple Hickory Old Fashioned (hickory-infused Woodford Reserve, maple liquor, and local bitters); and Bubbles and Berries (Finlandia vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh lemon, and Moet).
Of course we had to choose the pink girlie beverage, Bubbles and Berries, and it was a fine choice! We also picked a mocktail: The Grouse Grind (grapefruit, orange and cranberry juice, and a splash of ginger ale). Both were recommended by our server extraordinaire, Treena.
Two must-have appies, which will satisfy your carb cravings, are the Scotch Egg (spicy lamb sausage, potato puree, balsamic tomatoes) and the incredible NOTCH8 Signature Bread (stout, comte cheese, mustard seed). But be careful to save room for their mouthwatering entrées.
Being meatatarians, we, of course, opted for the tender Rotisserie Chicken with heirloom carrots, fingerling potatoes, and a bourbon molasses mustard, and the juicy Angus beef sirloin steak with cauliflower puree, port braised shallot, steak fries, and Notch8 steak sauce. Both were top-notch! (Note: there are several fish and vegetarian options too.)
While we took a moment to slightly digest our satisfying mains, before diving into dessert, singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall entertained the crowd with her guitar playing and melodious voice—Notch8 offers live music in the evenings, Wednesday through Saturday.
To end your meal with a bang, may we suggest you order the #OMG? This decadent seven-layer chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut praline and passion fruit gel will indeed have you ooing and ahhing with every bite. Sadly we don’t have a picture as we devoured it within seconds of it arriving at the table 🙂 Believe us when we say that it was AWESOME.
With so many tempting menu items to try, we’ll be back again and again, and again.
For information regarding Notch8’s hours of operation or to make a reservation, visit www.notch8-dining.com
Main image is courtesy of Michael Peters