If there was ever a doubt that meat and good cocktails didn’t go together, that idea was certainly quashed when Hayden Block set up shop here in Calgary. Located in the heart of Kensington, this deliciously smokey eaterie is where meat-filled dreams are born. I popped in for lunch a couple of weeks ago with my photographer friend Lindsay MacNeil (who snapped these lovely photos) for a meat + cocktail-fueled meal that – to be completely honest – totally blew us away.
First of all, the ambiance of Hayden Block is absolutely charming. The wooden interior and strands of exposed bulbs throughout the joint give off a perfect Southern vibe reminscient of BBQ spots you’d find in places like Austin, Texas. I love the long communal tables that center the room and the fantastic bar where all of their famous cocktails are crafted.
Speaking of cocktails, we had the opportunity to try some seriously delicious beverages. Their cocktail menu is very unique – using ingredients I’ve never seen on any other menus around town. Lindsay tried the Smokey Old Fashioned (watch how it is made on my Instagram here) which features Buffalo Trace Bourbon, sugar cub, burnt orange butters and Angostura bitters. I decided to go with the Old Besse cocktail which features Alberta Springs 10 Year, Amaro Lucano, orange blossom flower water, ginger and dandelion burdock bitters. Both cocktails packed a real punch and were the perfect compliment to our meal.
We ended up trying a little bit of everything for lunch – from pulled pork to smoked turkey to brisket to ribs. Most of their menu is completely gluten-free so I was beyond excited to be able to try so many things on the menu. We also tried their potato salad, broccoli salad and watermelon mint salad, along with some pickled vegetables. Everything was perfectly flavoured and left us feeling pleasantly satisfied. Their house-made sauces were absolutely amazing. Between the espresso sauce and the sour flavour, the house sauce was definitely our favourite.
The smoked turkey was definitely a highlight of the meal. Even though Thanksgiving had already passed it felt like the perfect time to indulge in some delicious turkey. The watermelon and broccoli salads were a great pairing with the juicy and tender slices of turkey.
While we visited Hayden Block for lunch, you should know that they also have a delightful brunch menu featuring all sorts of yummy things like Brisket Breakfast Tacos and Pulled Pork Eggs Benny. If you are more of a night owl, you should definitely pop by after 10pm for quite a deal – they offer 1/2 price off their entire meat menu. It can be so hard to find great late-night eats in this city, so you’ve heard it here first – head to Hayden Block when you have a hankering for some delicious food and maybe a cocktail or two.
Visit Hayden Block – 1136 Kensington Road NW