By Rob Scherf
If Calgary’s nightlife has just one place that’s utterly stunning in its uniqueness, that place is Mortal Coil. Located in the heart of Mission, the Coil has been a fixture of Calgary culture for almost seven years, and shows no signs of slowing down.
The first thing new visitors will notice is that Mortal Coil has an interesting sense of decor–or, to put it in co-owner Brent Boeckx’s more accurate wording, the place is “stupidly dark.” He’s not joking, and diners with an aversion to deep shades of purple are advised to find another restaurant. More adventurous eaters will find that while the room may be disorienting at first, its clashy colours and heavily textured artwork will eventually start to elict a rather warm and provocative way of viewing their dining experience.
The attraction of Mortal Coil doesn’t just come from its aesthetic eccentricity: the food is some of the best in the city. Not overly elaborate, the Coil uses simplicity to its advantage in order to create a varied menu full of familiar bar favourites. Arranged into delightful new interpretations, this effortlessly bridges the gap between drunk-food and fine cuisine. Even lowbrow hits like artichoke dip are reworked into sultry new creatures, often changed completely by the replacement of staple ingredients with something totally unexpected, but still intimately familiar.
And then, of course, there’s the drinkin’. Mortal Coil boasts an excellent martini sheet of custom creations. The drinks are infinitely drinkable, laced with sweets and fine ingredients, and in a playful touch, all served with a Fuzzy Peach candy to top off the experience. For less adventurous fare, there is of course a respectable bar with many fine beers on tap.
In a city dangerously devoid of good places to eat and get a little hammered simultaneously, this establishment stands alone. Whether it’s the delicious menu, inventive drinks or the excellent sense of space, everybody will find something to love about Mortal Coil.