The Neechi Commons building, with its exposed brick walls and sunlit rooms, was beautifully designed to let the sun and sky flood inside while at the same time keeping the prairie wind at bay.
We wound our way up the spiral staircase to their restaurant dubbed Come N’ Eat and found the last available table tucked next to the window. The inauspicious dining room is pristine and unadorned with the exception of huge paintings on the north wall.
We shopped many times at Neechi Foods, when it was on Dufferin Avenue, for pickerel, wild rice and blueberries and I had pretty much decided that I would go with one of these authentic ingredients.
Would it be the bannock French toast covered in blueberries or the wild rice and sweet potato croquettes?
I knew too that Come N’ Eat would be memorable because I had also visited the Tallest Poppy Restaurant just down the street.
The connection? Talia Syrie who operated the novel little cafe in the Occidental Hotel is now the food service manager at Neechi Commons. I was also familiar with her talents from her work with Raw Almond, the pop-up restaurant on the river near the Forks.
In the end, I opted for a pickerel burger. The cost of this local fish is forever accelerating which makes me happy for the toiling fishermen of Lake Winnipeg. But the dear price of the fish must be a challenge for chefs trying to prepare affordable dishes incorporating our local delicacy. Come N’ Eat chooses to economize by preparing a patty of potatoes and some minced pickerel which delivers a delicate fish flavour. In truth, I would have liked to have known this in advance because the menu description of breaded pickerel had me salivating for a different taste altogether. The grilled bun was set aside and instead I tucked into a house salad of wild rice, cucumber, corn and apple. The dressing was light and the nutty full-bodied taste of the rice was allowed to shine.
My luncheon date opted for Talia’s new breakfast, which proved to be a casserole of sautéed mushrooms, peppers, bacon and potatoes, crowned with two glorious poached eggs and triangles of bannock. Glistening green kale poked out of the casserole. She remarked that she had never tasted kale prepared in this way before. The cook had gone easy on the salt and the entire dish "felt" and tasted full of nutrients and very healthy. The fruit accompaniment was a nice light extra.
This is a lovely spot for delectable food at breakfast and lunch.
Come N’ Eat Restaurant
865 Main St. (Neechi Commons)
Surface parking south of
building, wheelchair access via elevator
Breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.;
Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Kathryne Grisim’s foodmusings.ca blog was named best local blog in Uptown Magazine’s Best of Winnipeg readers’ poll.