July’s Supper Club was held at one of Ottawa’s older vegetarian restaurant staples, the Table. Even before locally renowned Chef Caroline Ishii found a permanent space for Zen Kitchen (634 Somerset Street W.), the Table (1230 Wellington St. W) and the Green Door (198 Main Street) restaurants developed quite the following for vegetarian fare. The Table remains a popular standby, almost always crowded at dinner time.
Having lived in the Hintonburg/Wellington West area for five years now, it actually took Jenn and I three to find the opportunity to first eat in the restaurant that reputedly broke all the rules. On its country kitchen floor sits pine furniture that is more Ikea than modern urban bistro. Local art graces its walls.
The table seemingly makes no profit on beverages. Filtered water is free, self serve, and in metal cisterns. Fair-trade coffee and tea are likewise available, costing a dollar each. The menu changes depending on what produce is readily available and dishes are served on four long buffets, two hot and two cold. Food is purchased by weight, cafeteria style. Where regular restaurants mark vegetarian options, the Table marks raw or vegan ones.
When dining at the Table, if you plan on having multiple courses, ask the person at the cash and till to run a tab. All table-ware supplied is pre-weighed. It then becomes a question of choosing what delectables your palate craves. Options often represent a world tour of ethnic-inspired dishes. I almost always have a generous servings of South Indian dhal and potato fritters. Guiltily, I have to admit that I have yet to overcome my aversion to meatless lasagna even though the Table’s cooks make a tasty vegetable or mushroom interpretation.
During the supper club, I actually found myself too engaged in conversation to take pictures. With our supper club taking two of the long tables in the center of the restaurant, I found myself seated with club members who were far more familiar with the neighbourhood than I. Among the revelations: the best lemon tart in town comes from the 3 Tarts Bakery (1320 Wellington Street W.) and home-style chocolate brownies with an inch of frosting can be had at the locally owned Wellington Sandwiches (1123 Wellington Street W.) in the reconstruction zone.
Fortunately, I was able to get a shot of my dessert, a luscious chocolate beetroot cake.
Impressions: Think carrot cake texture, only chocolate and hold the raisins. I was impressed and enjoyed my slice. However, I would have appreciated the beetroot shredded somewhat finer.
Total (2 plates, 2 desserts, and 1 coffee): $24.67 (including taxes and tip)
Every time I visit the Table, I am always surprised by how satisfying a vegetarian plate can be. While there are very rarely any standout dishes, the Table serves a decent dinner, making it deserving of its status as a staple restaurant.
The Table Vegetarian Restaurant
1230 Wellington Street W.
Tags: back posted, beetroot chocolate cake, Hintonburg, Hintonburg Supper Club, The Table, vegetarian