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The perfect spot for lunch with friends


Have you stood in the lobby of the Malcolm Hotel recently? I forgot how lovely it is, somehow managing to strike the right note between bright, spacious, and welcoming with cozy corners and a sweeping  fireplace. Similarly, the Stirling Dining Room & Lounge feels right at home here with an exposed brick wall, plaid dining chairs and intimate banquette nooks. Open to the public and serving up elevated comfort food in a casual gastropub-style environment, this is the perfect spot for lunch with friends, business meetings, or a relaxed and delicious dinner.

With a lightly Scottish theme, it makes sense that the bar is a focal point of the dining room, which does rather make it hard to pass up the opportunity for a pre-dinner cocktail. If shoulder season is a time for all weathers, then it should be a time for all flavour profiles too! If the climes are chilly (not me eyeballing the recent May snowfall…) then there are warmer, spicier sips, like the Nightcrawler (grapefruit, cinnamon, tequila) to lean in to, but if its sunny then a Stirling rum punch on the patio before lunch seems like it should be, well, THE LAW. If you’re looking for an elegance that ascends all seasons, try the Purple Lady made with local butterfly pea infused Wild Life gin.

All hail an establishment with a bread and butter board on the menu; simple yet totally resplendent at the same time. Yum. Chef Graham Smith’s focaccia with signature butter, mustard seed and pickled onions was a pure joy, as was the ultimate in comfort food bison bolognese. The ragu, the pappardelle and the parmesan cheese were just what I needed on a blustery afternoon! I also took great delight in the seared tuna soba noodle salad with hoisin dressing; another one for the patio bucket list when it opens up.

Chef Graham clearly has a creative streak going on under those chef whites; inspired by a traditional Scottish chowder, his “cappuccino” chowder presents the creamy fish dish in a coffee mug with a smoked foam. Served aside sourdough bread, this is a sure fire hit with those seeking a little levity.

I was dining for lunch, so was very much in business for lighter fare, but rest assured there are some deeply hearty steaks, a tenderloin and even a lamb rack option. For the meatless, cauliflower and mushroom steaks are plated with crispy fingerling potatoes and vegetables, and for fish fiends there is a salmon filet, juicy U10 scallops, prawns, Ahi tuna and a 60z lobster tail. Swoon. 

If dessert cocktails are your thing (and, like, honestly, who doesn’t love an espresso martini?!), then there is an array of liquid libations to swill back, as well as more traditional sweet options which I very much need to return to sample. Honestly I wish I had a multitude of stomachs to take on the task of sampling every single delicious morsel in the Bow Valley all at once, but alas, I have to pace myself! To that note, one of the servers told me about the Stirling Dining Room  “Kings Table” experience, a chef-driven affair with special plates and sommelier wine pairings which high key has me planning my next visit!

For reservations, menus and further information visit malcolmhotel/dining/stirlinggrill/

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