Octopus Grilled at Sabor

Octopus Grilled at Sabor Restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta

The Sabor Restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta offers both Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, including a pretty decent selection of Tapas. I visited there initially to try their Paella, but I also sampled several small plate offerings including the Grilled Octopus served in a Black Olive Tapenade you see pictured above. It was interesting, I suppose, but not especially impressive.

To begin with, the plating was unusual, to say the least. The sections of grilled tentacles were formed into a flattened circular mound , presumably with a Timbale mold, or the like, all of which was set into the Tapenade ‘bed’. I have not seen this style of presentation used with Octopus before, but it was quite attractive, save for the fact that the dark ‘pool’ of Olive Tapenade in which it was sitting really didn’t make for a nice visual contrast.

The Octopus itself was, unfortunately, not especially tasty. There was a nice sweetness in those places where the grill had slightly charred the tentacles, but other than that the flesh was a bit tasteless and lacking in the usual chewy texture. I suspect that this may have been Octopus that had been kept for a little bit too long in the freezer. It wasn’t ‘freezer-burned’ or anything, but it lacked the delicate sweetness of fresh Octopus and was probably tenderized a bit too aggressively.

The unique aspect of this particular Octopus dish was, of course, the use of Tapenade as a sauce. I am not entirely sure what all the constituents were, save for Black Olives, but it had rather the tanginess of a Vinaigrette and faint herbaceous note here and there. There was some crusty bread served alongside, and the Tapenade was excellent as a dip with this but, all through the experience, I had a hard time deciding if the Octopus and the Black Olives made a good pair. Ultimately, I am afraid I decided they really didn’t work all that well together. It was a good idea, to be fair, and I generally enjoyed it, but it is not something I would try in my own kitchen any time soon.


Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!