Since we moved into our new home things have been busy. We’ve spent our days at work, our evenings building furniture and patching walls, and our weekends trying to find a couch within our budget with the right style. While we have been spending time together, there hasn’t really been much ‘us’ time.
When we heard about Azuridge’s Downton Abbey event, we jumped at the chance to go. We had never been to Azuridge before but we had heard nothing but amazing reviews and thought it would be the perfect date night. All we really knew going into the event was that it was Downton Abbey themed, that there would be white gloved butlers, and that we would get to indulge in a five course chefs table dinner.
So we got all dressed up, and headed out to Priddis for the us time that we were so overdue for.
Azuridge is truly a private venue and while this makes the location perfect for a close-but-not-too-close getaway,getting there can be a struggle for those of us who are navigationally challenged. After a few mistaken turns (I would def recommend budgeting a few extra minutes your first time out there) we found the entrance and drove down the long road to the storybook inspired gates. The first thing we noticed was how gorgeous the hotel is. It has the classic Alberta chalet feel with a notably upscale twist.
We were greeted by a team of Butlers and Ladies in Waiting who took our jackets and led us to the cocktail room for complementary drinks and appies. Right from the beginning I could tell that Azuridge offers a superior level of service and the staff really care about the guests. Despite the amazing food and beautiful venue, it was the service that stood out to me the most. The Ladies in Waiting were specific to the Downton Abbey event, but the Butlers are there all the time! They’re a team of dedicated, professional individuals who want to ensure that every guest feels like royalty. They weren’t stuffy either, they were fun and loved to joke around with guests. Azuridge takes their Butler experience so seriously that they have a Butler school on site taught by Clarence McLeod who is a member of the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Only Gilded Butlers have the opportunity to serve the Queen and other members of royalty when they’re in Canada!
After cocktail hour, we were led couple by couple into the dining room and were seated at a large table with tall candles and gorgeous floral arrangements. In the background a harp was being played throughout the entire evening. We were seated near the middle of the table and I was a bit hesitant about taking photos in such a formal venue. I was pleasantly surprised that the rest of the guests were laid back and friendly, and some even took more photos than I did! The feel was definitely upscale but still very comfortable. Now onto my favourite part of every event:
Amuse Bouche (bite sized hors d’oeuvres)
West coast fresh organic salmon, poached in white wine sauce and garnished with prawns, leeks and savoy cabbage
I’m not usually a big fish person but this salmon was perfection. It was soft, moist and a touch sweet. The white wine sauce was a great compliment and the food was presented beautifully.
Fresh pear and potato soup with watercress salad and raspberry vinaigrette
This was my favorite course of the evening. I would never have thought to pair pear and potato but the combination was delicious. The soup was thick and rich in flavor.
English cucumber sorbet
The palate cleanser was served in the carved out portion of a glass block. The Chef, Master Chef Yoshi Chubachi, is also an award winning ice carver and used his talents on this stunning dish. Everyone had their phones out and were taking photos of the impressive presentation. If I could have taken home a tub of this cucumber sorbet I would have; it was sweet and refreshing but still tasted distinctly cucumber. If I could have taken the ice block home just to have in my freezer, I would have done that too.
Roast Alberta AAA prime rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, truffle mashed potatos and a red wine reduced veal au jus
You know when you go to upscale restaurants and end up at McDonalds after because the portion sizes were too small? This was not the case at the Downton Abbey dinner. The main course was so sizeable that they could have comfortably fit it on two plates and it would have still looked impressive. While I did not even come close to finishing my meal, Tony remarked that this was the “best prime rib he had ever had, hands down” and finished every last bite. The Yorkshire pudding was fluffy and flavorful and the truffle mashed were smooth and creamy.
Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream
The night finished with a sweet but not too sweet sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream. Naturally I found room in my stomach again for this.
The Executive Chef at Azuridge, Master Chef Yoshi Chubachi, is a Japanese Red Seal Chef who was previously Executive Chef at Eden in the Rimrock Resort and has won many culinary competitions as a part of Team Canada. This accomplished chef did not disappoint and literally the only complaint that I heard the entire evening was that the soup was too hot and took a long time to cool down (is this really a bad thing?). The entire meal was served on stunning floral plates with presentation in mind. Each dish was brought in and held by a Lady in Waiting while the host for the evening announced the dish. On signal, the plates would be placed in front of guests at the same time. Upon completion of each course, the plates would be removed at the same time and during the breaks we were served wine, Sherry and anything else we wanted. I was on antibiotics during the dinner so my choice drink for the evening was orange juice which they were happy to accommodate.
Overall, the experience was nothing short of magical and Tony and I got the us time that was much needed. Azuridge is only about 20 minutes from the southern tip of the city and I would highly recommend a visit for one of their signature events or a weekend away. The next event is St. Patrick’s Day brunch!