Nothing soothes cold Canadian bones quite like a soak in a hot tub followed up by a glass of wine in front of a crackling fire. When we pulled up to Banff’s Buffalo Mountain Lodge, with its oversized steaming outdoor hot tub and neatly stacked firewood waiting outside our room, I knew I had found the perfect way to survive the -24 frigid temperatures. An hour later, with a glass from their award-winning wine menu (selections from the Anderson Valley, USA to Veneto, Italy) I was in winter-weary Canuck heaven.
The Buffalo Mountain Lodge has long been a favourite with couples and families for its great location, charming rooms and peaceful setting. But being led by our stomachs, we were here for the food and to check out the newly renovated Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room. When visiting Banff, one doesn’t always think of going to a hotel for dinner but it’s worth veering off up Tunnel Mountain Road to try this gem. We’d heard amazing things about Chef Kelly Strut’s kitchen creations and the foodies in us couldn’t resist.
The high, vaulted ceilings with post and beam architecture are, of course, still there but the dining room has been updated with a more modern, cozy and contemporary feel.
And the shining star is of course the beautifully presented and totally delicious food! The menu changes seasonally and is a contemporary version of rocky mountain cuisine with beef and game menu features. The meats are from the Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch which, like the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts collection of boutique hotels and restaurants in the region. Paired with locally sourced sides, and enhanced by that amazing wine list, a meal at the Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room is unforgettable.
Starting with charcuterie, we ate our way through their menu, including an Artisan salad with goat cheese and fig that was just the right amount of savoury and sweet, out of this world seared scallops, and braised bison short ribs that just melted in my mouth. Dessert was an equally impressive pear, almond & frangipane tart although I will be going back ASAP for the double chocolate Grand Marnier cheesecake!
One of my favourite parts of the outstanding charcuterie tray were the sweet but tart mustard melons which I happily discovered are available from CRMR Kitchen. You can have a little bit of the Sleeping Buffalo at home with the CRMR Kitchen line of frozen food, condiments and entrees all created in small batches by the chefs at CRMR. When you can’t get to Banff, you can still get to your freezer!