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Blazing Culinary Trails



Banff’s Brazen elicits a sense of adventure with every meal

With an imaginative and constantly-evolving menu, a meal at Banff’s Brazen is always an adventure in flavour, texture and presentation. Helmed by the wildly creative Chef Dan Jiricka, this Pursuit eatery is worth visiting often. 

Located on the second floor of the Mount Royal Hotel, the beautiful dining room is vibrant and alive on a Saturday night with old-school soul on the speakers and a happy hum of conversation floating up into the rafters. 

We began the adventure with stuffed mushroom caps and famous pork belly small plates. The mushroom caps are umami bombs of savoury shrimp mousse topped with a wasabi-pea crumble and broiled in a rich miso butter. They come hot, so give them a minute…it’s a tough wait, but well worth it. The little towers of sweet and smoky pork belly sits on an aromatic carrot ginger puree, is drenched in a sour maple demi-glace and topped with tangy pickled mustard creating a balance of salt, fat, sugar and acid that makes this dish a fan favourite. 

We opted for the 14 oz certified Angus striploin as our large plate, which marries the sweet notes of carmelized onion and cherries with the subtle bitterness of juniper in a delicious jus. For vegetables, we went with the (could that really be?) vegan fried sunchokes served with a creamy cashew and smoked tofu mousse and sprinkled with a dill pickle powder that complements the crispy battered chokes subtly and brilliantly. The bright and fresh tomatillo carpaccio is the chef’s take on a Caprese salad that features tangy green tomatillos, thin sliced and topped with balsamic vinegar pearls and a creamy burrata whipped with basil. Delicious! 

We were fortunate to be only the second table to try the brand new Death by Chocolate dessert coming to Brazen’s winter menu. On par with Chef Dan’s innovative creme brulee and Strawberry Fields desserts, Death by Chocolate is a stroke of creative genius. A rich chocolate brownie is coated in a chocolate ganache and placed in a schmeer of creme on a splatter of berry coulis. Topped with a moulded chocolate mousse skull and adorned with a white chocolate web, this dessert could easily have gone past the point of “too much.” But the level of sweetness is perfect, there’s textural variety in which elements work together and the presentation is, of course, dark and beautiful. 

Brazen’s winter menu launched in late October, so be sure to visit soon for new and exciting dishes.

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