On August 15, I was lucky enough to attend the Media Launch of the new JOEY Bell Tower restaurant in downtown Edmonton. A Jasper Avenue staple for many years, JOEY recently closed the doors of its Jasper and 112 Street location, relocating to the new Bell Tower flagship restaurant on 103 Avenue and 101 Street–on the cusp of the new ICE District and just steps from Roger’s Place.
The new location has kept the JOEY-style open concept kitchen, with even more floor space for guests, exterior glass walls around the building, and a covered all-season garden terrace with large double-sided fireplace in place of a traditional patio.
To say that they plied us with food at this event would be an understatement. From the moment we walked through the door, we were never without a drink in hand. Welcome champagne was followed by a prosecco tasting, followed by cocktails and wine selected for pairing with the six course meal prepared for the media guests.
Kylie and I shared our dinner with Graham Hicks and his daughter and we all had a blast tasting the culinary craftsmanship of the Bell Tower flagship–including items that aren’t available at some other JOEY restaurants.
The servers and event planners did an amazing job of accommodating my gluten intolerance, providing me with a number of options and alternatives to the set menu. I’ll outline both kinds of food in this post.
We started off the evening with some Hawaiian Tuna Tacos, Osaka-style Pressed Salmon Sushi, and the Night Market Curry Dip. On the gluten-free side, I was given a personal tuna taco served on a lettuce leaf. And it was amazing. Everyone at our table raved about the tacos, which were light and fresh with an abundance of tuna and avocado. While I’ve had pressed salmon sushi recently at Dorinku on Whyte (which was great), I steered away from this one because I didn’t know what was in the sauce.
The gluten-lovers at our table found them a delicious appetizer and looked longingly at the next table, who’d ordered more to share. The curry dip came with naan bread, so alas, was out of my reach, but I took a taste of the curry sauce and found it fragrant and savoury, though not nearly as spicy as I would’ve liked. They do use a vindaloo-style to make this curry, but with none of the traditional vindaloo heat.
While everyone was snacking on the curry dip, I was given a portion of the Superfood 500 Salad, which features organic quinoa, plenty of raw vegetables, watermelon radish, mint, parsley, and avocado. I usually don’t like too much quinoa, but this was a well-proportioned and deliciously fresh salad. I’d definitely order it again–and wouldn’t feel guilty about eating it.
Main courses for the regular peeps was three variations of the Chef’s Daily Rotisserie Chicken (Peri Peri, Vindaloom, and Angry Bird), along with a huge pan of Spanish Paella with shrimp and chorizo. They both looked excellent, though the consensus at our table was definitely the Angry Bird flavoured rotisserie chicken. During this course, I was given a full plate of the Herb Crush Salmon with lemon butter, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. Perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, and filling. I could barely finish the salmon, let alone all of the sides.
Dessert was JOEY’s homemade Spun Daily Ice Cream which, thankfully, I could eat. We had a few spoonfuls of the salted caramel ice cream and it was the perfect end to our meal–and quite possibly my favourite thing on the menu. Homemade ice cream…you just can’t beat it.
At the end of the day, I really enjoyed my meal here. The Bell Tower location isn’t drastically different from any other JOEYs restaurant, but if you’ve eaten at the chain before and enjoyed the fashionable nature of the restaurant’s interior and menu, you can add this location to your list. It’s perfect for after-work drinks, pre- or post-game beers and snacks, or just a semi-dressy lunch or dinner with coworkers, friends, or family. As a flagship location, you’ll see more variation and culinary innovation on the menu than at other locations, so it’s worth a try for that reason alone. And if that still doesn’t convince you, stop by for a scoop of the salted caramel ice cream one evening. That, my friends, is worth the drive.
JOEY Bell Tower
10310 101 Street
780 990 5639