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Eating Edmonton: The Buckingham

I wasn’t very keen on going to The Buckingham for dinner. I was under the impression that it was just another pub on Whyte, but I honestly didn’t know what else to expect. However, when I was told the menu was all vegan pub food I caved. I decided I had to give it a try.

The most prominent feature of The Buckingham is the bar. As soon as you walk in you are met with a very impressive, and very long, wooden bar. A happy looking bartender greeted me, and my waiter gave me my choice of seating. This was certainly because the place was pretty much empty. It was 6 p.m. on a Saturday, so I was quite surprised that no one was around.

I decided to sit in one of the large wooden booths, which were hard and uncomfortable. I grabbed a menu and started glancing over everything: wings, nachos, donairs, burgers, poutine, and pretty much anything else you would expect from an Edmonton pub. However, the header on the menu reminded me of a very important facet of the menu: that it was “All Vegan – All the Time.” I started scanning the menu wildly, what would I try? Buffalo wings ($13)? Poutine ($9)? Or the BBQ Bac’n Cheeseburger ($14)?

In the end I decided to go with the Jumbo w/ Cheese ($15), an all vegan donair. I have pretty much grown up going to north side Edmonton donair shops, and it is safe to say that I had never even thought of a vegan donair until this day. I had to try it; I wanted to see what they could come up with. I ended up subbing in sweet potato fries for an extra two dollars and ordered a beer called the “Trash Panda.”

The donair really tasted great, but it was great for vegan food, if you know what I mean. There was a lack of juices (due to the lack of grease from real meat), and the vegan meat was cut much to thick to be called donair meat, they were more like small slabs. Also, it really shouldn’t have been called “jumbo” — it was much smaller than any jumbo donair I have had. However, I did really enjoy it. It was a great vegan take on a classic meal. The texture of the meat was perfect, and the taste was very close to the real thing. The lack of grease was made up for by the sauce, cheese, fresh tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.

I sat enjoying my meal, but soon came to realize that I still hadn’t received my beer. I had ordered it before I ordered the food. Out of nowhere my waiter runs up, as if reading my mind, and claims she forgot the beer. Lucky for me, she said it was on the house. Any night with free beer is a good night.

In the end I had a good meal, good service, and some free beer. The place has great vibes, an amazing vegan menu, and a dance floor. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they have a patio in the summer. I highly recommend checking the place out, even if you’re just looking to have some drinks.

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