My colleague Rascal and I recently toured around a part of Calgary. After checking out several projects, we stopped by Le Matin in Silver Springs. For this blog posting, I’m picking Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” because I hum this song whenever I’m having a bad day.
Rascal’s sister eats here after church with her friend. The cafe is small and from outward appearances, looks more like a coffee shop than a cafe that makes hearty sandwiches and delicious lunch specials.
I ordered a Clubhouse ($10.50). I was surprised the sandwich didn’t come with a side of soup or chips, but when my dish arrived, I understood why. This is a huge MF sandwich! Each half sandwich contained three thick slices of bread, a ton of ham and good quality bacon. You don’t see sandwiches like this anymore.
Rascal ordered the lunch special – Crispy Chicken with Rice ($13). Again, this was a large portion. Lots of chunks of batter white chicken. I wished Rascal offered to let me try a tiny piece, but he didn’t. So much for comradery. I asked him if he wanted half of my sandwich. He said no. His chicken entree looked and smelled appetizing and Rascal confirmed it was a tasty dish.
The cafe was filled with locals that seem familiar with the friendly owner running the front. Other popular dishes include wraps, soups and specialty drinks.
Redheads is always tweaking its dishes or trying out something new. On my last visit, I learned that Sapporo is now on tap. A new rice burger (not yet on the menu) has become my new favourite, beef and gobo. I still haven’t tried the Japagetti or five-course meal set, but I’ll get there eventually.
The beef and gobo (burdock root) rice sandwich is something special. The beef is sweet and nicely seasoned. Gobo has this marvellous mild, earthy taste and crunchy texture. The rice was perfectly cooked, warm and topped with fresh spinach leaves. The nori is fresh and crisp.
Recently, L and I have tried the Tofu Asian Salad ($6.99). What a great price for such a stunning salad. I particularly enjoyed the strands of seaweed and nori. The tofu was nicely cut and fresh-tasting. Just a tip, you probably don’t need to use all the dressing, as the sesame dressing is quite rich.
One of my other go-to dishes is the miso-tonkatsu ramen ($9.99). I’ve been telling my friends Asian Persuasion and What’s Up Hamsup to try Redhead’s version. They want to but every time they visit, they can’t help themselves and order the tonkatsu curry. The soup is steaming hot. The broth is rich and the noodles are chewy. The pork crispy and fatty. I love the assortment of sprouts, the milky egg and all the garnishes.
Redheads is best known for their Japa Curry, the Katsu ($10.99) or the Karaage Curry ($10.99). The katsu is well-marbled and crispy. The beef curry is thick, rich and flavourful.
Finally, L and I were lucky to try a special dessert, apple with caramel and strawberries. Sounds simple, but so good. The tart crispness of the apple with the sweetness of the caramel sauce was old-school delicious. Check out the crazy knife skills.
The best time to go is in the evenings, when the cafe is quieter. The prices are a steal and the food is so comforting in the chilly weather. Thank you Redheads, for being so consistently delicious.
My husband and I are going to Japan! While he’s been several times, it will be my first visit. To celebrate, we went over to Redheads Japa Cafe for a late dinner.
At Redheads, I can usually count on hearing Jack Jackson’s song, Better Together. I remember when I worked at my neighbourhood coffee house. I would put Jackson’s playlist on repeat during my six hour shift. Customers would always complain that they were sick of hearing the same artist but I didn’t care enough to do anything about it.
One of the owners of Redheads who is also the chef came out to say hello. He recommended the special, Hamburg Curry ($10.99) and told me he would incorporate some mushrooms in the gravy. L ordered his usual, Japa Katsu Curry ($10.99) and the Beef Tataki ($8.00).
The presentation of the curry has changed. Now, the curry is separated in a gravy boat. The beef curry is served piping hot, thick and with a texture similar to pulled pork. The curry is heavy and super flavourful with a subtle heat to it. L’s pork katsu was practically still sizzling from the fryer, the batter thin and crunchy. The portions at Redheads are spot on, generous with the amount of curry and a smaller portion of rice.
My hamburg brought out my inner fei po. The patty itself was well-seasoned and packed with the rich taste of Alberta beef. The exterior was super crunchy and remained so despite the bath of the shitake mushroom gravy. How good was this dish? I promptly ignored my beer and focused on shoving this delicious food into my mouth. As always, the rice was perfect. The egg on top was poached beautifully, the yolk soft and sticky.
I asked L if hamburg tasted this good in Japan. He thinks Redheads makes the best one he tried, possibly because of the use of Alberta beef. He says there is something in the taste of Redheads and Shokunin food that reminds him of Japan.
The beef tataki was good. Generous slices of chilled ruby red steak. The sauce was a sweet soy ginger blend. The crunchy garlic chips and salad were a nice addition to the dish.
Redheads Japa Cafe is one of my favourite places to eat. Japanese curry is out of this world good and so underrated in Calgary. The prices make it an affordable place to eat on a regular occasion and service is always good. It’s a great place to grab a quick meal and enjoy it in a quiet atmosphere.