The Lonely Mouth Bar, a Japanese-inspired restaurant specializing in sake, is one of Calgary’s hottest new spots.
It’s also one of our favorite spots along vibrant 17th Avenue.
This classy spot is a new concept for the YYC culinary scene, located at 528 17th Avenue SW.
The interesting name derives from the notion that “when you are not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is alone”.
The room is gorgeous, the sake list is probably the best in town, and the food is inventive and delicious.
We recently had the chance to check this place out and fully experience the very popular bar and restaurant.
As soon as we sat down we were offered hot oshibori towels to clean our hands. Each is infused with essential oils made by local supplier Riley Carlson, who also makes the candles that light up the space, and he’s even a bartender.
It’s not the only local product that makes this restaurant so special.
If you order the sake, which you absolutely should, you will then be offered a platter of o-choko handcrafted by Calgary artist Noah Haruki. Each is entirely unique and adds to the tradition and pleasure of dining here.
The full list of sakes is also led by Amanda Jansen, who has been studying sake since 2011. She has achieved several impressive titles during her career, including Advanced Sake Professional (Japan, 2016), WSET3 Sake (San Francisco, 2019) and Sake Scholar. (Brooklyn, 2019).
There are so many different ways to approach the menu here, and sharing is always best.
Consisting of savory snacks, rolls, udon, tempura, meat and fish and sweets, you really can’t go wrong. Show up hungry like we did.
We started with the miso turnips with toasted sesame (a great palate cleanser), the pickled cucumber with a ginger vinaigrette, the excellent Brussels sprouts served okonomiyaki style and the table favorite, the tartare of bluefin tuna.
This tartare dish is topped with avocado, tuna, and a miso emulsion, then served with udon crackers.
We also had two of the many hand rolls – cucumber and shrimp.
As a main course, we had the miso cod, prepared with a sake marinade, mizuna radish salad and a delicious goma vinaigrette.
We also had the udon, which could very well be Lonely Mouth’s signature dish.
This kake udon is made with udon, dashi, green onion, togarashi, yuzu peel and a tempura kasu. The noodles are prepared on site daily. We all loved it.
The cocktails were also a huge hit if sake isn’t necessarily your thing.
The Lonely Mouth Sour, made with shochu, Midori, yuzu, lemon, and egg white, tastes exactly like Rockets the candy and it looks pretty spectacular too.
The decor and design of the room is warm and with wooden details and cozy booths in this divided room, it feels like a country restaurant just outside of Tokyo. The Summer Patio manages to combine this vibe with the excitement of 17th Avenue for a truly one-of-a-kind YYC experience.
If you haven’t already arrived at this place and fell in love, now is the time to finally go and check it out.
Address: 528 17th Avenue SW, Calgary