Saddlery on Market
Address: 114 Market Ave
Part ode to Winnipeg’s industrial past, part contemporary restobar, Saddlery on Market draws diverse crowds to the East Exchange. On any given night, diners celebrating a private event, large groups grabbing grub post-work, and the pre-theatre throng may settle into the capacious yet comfortable space, browsing a well-executed menu that appeals to every appetite.
The large space makes use of the building’s heritage bones with exposed brick and industrial touches. Saloon-inspired décor nods to the building’s former life as the home of the leather manufacturing company, the Great West Saddlery Warehouse.
Lest one think the barn wood and backlit bar signal western fare, a glance at the menu instead reveals inspirations from Europe, Asia and, of course, Manitoba.
Globally influenced dishes abound. Warm olives are drizzled with oil, sprinkled with feta and accompanied by crisp crostini slices. The sweet chili chicken rice bowl satiates with a hint of Asian influence. Strips of crispy and juicy chicken provide simultaneous notes of sweet, salty and spicy.
Entrées combine variety with familiar comfort. Silky buttermilk mashed potatoes form miniature mountains beneath the meal’s main attraction. Two grilled chicken breasts govern the hunter chicken entrée with robust paprika barbeque flavour. Crimini mushroom demi-glace oozes over top, pooling at the bottom of the plate alongside perfectly roasted beets and carrots. California striploin shines with this less-is-more mentality, each healthy portion imbued with smoky, right-off-the-grill taste. Colourful roasted veggies accompany two skewers of tender shrimp to complete this satisfying spread.
A wide selection of share-ables promotes lively sociable sampling. Brussels sprouts are charred, crispy and topped with lemon basil aioli. Tempura pickerel tacos pack in condiments like pickled jalapenos, creamy coleslaw and chili lime crèma. Tuna tartar is neatly stacked alongside airy wonton crisps, all underneath a sweet soya drizzle. A bounty of fresh yellow fin will have diners struggling to share this refreshing appetizer.
Saddlery’s expansive menu is much like its ample interior, gracious in size and full of options. Winnipeg pride combined with international intentions makes this Exchange District stop an essential on culinary checklists.