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Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen – A Peek at the Bar Eats Menu – updated

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This week, we pointed to Chef Robin Bowen’s recent segment on A-Channel’s morning show to highlight a dish he will include in SPIN Kitchen & Bar‘s (100 Kent Street) new “Bar Eats and Munch” menu, to be released in July. The “Braised Quebec duckling quesadilla” that was featured (and subsequently served Thursday evening at Ottawa Human Society fundraiser “In the Doghouse”) is a classic dish from Chef Bowen’s repertoire. He has been making it since he was an apprentice, working in professional kitchens in his hometown, Calgary, Alberta.

SPIN's Current Bar Nibbles

SPIN’s Current Bar Nibbles

The Ottawa Marriott hired him to transform the menu at SPIN, essentially, imprint his brand of fresh, crisp, and edgy food onto the restaurant. At the same time, SPIN’s menu, be it for lunch, dinner, or bar “nibbles”, must appeal to both hotel guests and Ottawa locals. Besides the duck quesadilla, the “Bar Eats and Munch” menu will feature crab sliders, tempura shrimp, and grilled lamb “lollipops”, dishes that are easily recognizable.

The drafts of the menus we have seen are very understandable. You needn’t be a well-read food enthusiast to decipher what you will be served. There are no esoteric culinary terms on the menu. Descriptions are refreshingly concise and informative. Take for instance another “Bar Eats and Munch” menu item, “Spin Mac’s”.

Spin Mac’s mini burger
“1000 island aioli”, cheese & pickles

It is rather clear the slider-style burgers will borrow aspects from the large-chained fast food sandwich with a very similar name (Big-…).

Chef Bowen chose the menu item to be functional as well. Mostly, they facilitate one-handed eating, to be enjoyed in SPIN’s lobby. Unencumbered, the other hand is free to shake hands, work a smart phone, or hold a drink.

SPIN’s lobby was transformed during recent renovations to create a lounge space business travelers can sit down in and order a snack, while connecting to the Ottawa Marriott’s complementary WIFI. There are electrical outlets and network drops, cleverly concealed at the long tables.

Central Tables, Equipped with Electrical Outlets

Central Tables, Equipped with Electrical Outlets

The hotel even lends out Apple iPads to guests.

The space is likewise intended to attract office workers from nearby complexes after a long day. Already, the lobby was chosen by the Government of Canada’s Web 2.0 Practitioner (#W2P) community for a casual meet-up (tweet-up). Wednesday afternoon, approximately 50 young public servants gathered in the lobby to network and discuss new and innovative ways to better serve Canadians, using cutting edge technology.

Here are dishes next month’s guests can look forward to:

Crab Sliders
When we sat down with the Ottawa Marriott and Chef Bowen to chat about covering the menu-makeover, he had us try his then experiment with chilled lump crab dip and potato chips.

Lump Crab Dip with In-House Potato Chips

Lump Crab Dip with In-House Potato Chips

Think sweet crab and mayonnaise flavoured with crab boil seasoning on a crunchy chip.

Now imagine something similar, loosely shaped together, breaded with panko crumbs and deep fried.

Crab Sliders, paired with Keith's India Pale Ale

Crab Sliders, paired with Keith’s India Pale Ale

Generous Portion of Crab with Water Cress and a Black Bean Aioli on an Ace Bakery Bun

Generous Portion of Crab with Water Cress and a Black Bean Aioli on an Ace Bakery Bun

The black bean aioli is an emulsion made with fermented black beans, roasted red pepper, ginger, sambal oleak, sesame oil, egg yolk, salt and pepper and a “touch” of lime. It provides umami, salt, slight brightness, and a little spice.

Tempura Gulf Stream Shrimp
Having attended our fair share of cocktail receptions, food on sticks is surprisingly convenient. How about carefully shelled tempura shrimp?

Tempura Gulf Stream Shrimp

Tempura Gulf Stream Shrimp

Chef Bowen adding the Mango, Basil, and Green Chili Gastrique

Chef Bowen adding the Mango, Basil, and Green Chili Gastrique

Tempura Shrimp with Mango, Basil, and Green Chili Gastrique

Tempura Shrimp with Mango, Basil, and Green Chili Gastrique

Chef Bowen shared how he made the shrimp’s thin coating wonderfully crisp. First, the shrimp tempura employs Louisiana white shrimp, which is reputed to be sweeter. Carefully peeled so only the tail fins remain, Chef Bowen coats each in an egg batter made with equal parts by of volume of rice flour and cold soda water. To fry them, he employs a method well-read food enthusiasts will recognize as coming from celebrated former Toronto-chef Susur Lee. The shrimp are fried twice in hot oil, the first time for 15 seconds. The second, for 30 seconds. The result, a glassy tempura-style coating. It is paired with a mojito-inspired sauce that reflects Chef Bowen’s signature, a combination of sweet and spice.

Grilled Lamb Lollipops
When was the last time you ordered a rack of lamb at a restaurant? It is a bit of a holdover from decades past to have an entire rack on the menu, something decadent. Here is Chef Bowen’s answer for modern dining, grilled lamb “lollipops”

Grilled Lamb Lollipops

Grilled Lamb Lollipops

with a Jalapeno Mint Pesto

with a Jalapeno Mint Pesto

and Tomato Marmalade

and Tomato Marmalade

Lamb lollipops aren’t something you’ll find at the Royal Oak pub two streets over. Especially, paired with a tomato marmalade that features cinnamon, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar. Think carefully grilled rib-chops of grass-fed New Zealand lamb, paired with sweet from the marmalade and heat from the pesto. Chef Bowen essentially manages the gamey-ness of the lamb with paired flavours.

Also on the menu, obligatory bar eats chicken wings in two flavours, either tequila lime barbecue or Chef Bowen’s hotter than hell sauce. And, a take on American chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro’s lettuce wraps with crisp veggies (carrots, celery, fennel radishes, and red and yellow bell peppers), Shanghai noodles, spiced cashews, and a ponzo dipping sauce.

With a menu like this, well executed, we envision SPIN will be quite the contender for happy hour on Fridays.

Particulars:
SPIN Kitchen & Bar
100 Kent Street
(Street-level restaurant at the Ottawa Marriott)
(613) 783-4202

Spin Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.

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@sherrilynne (Jun 18, 01:57 PM)
Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen - A Peek at the Bar Eats Menu http://nblo.gs/jiHSm tx: @foodiePrints

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@chefrobinbowen (Jun 18, 09:52 AM)
RT @spinkitchenbar: Great pics! RT @foodiePrints: Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen - A Peek at the Bar Eats Menu http://nblo.gs/jiHSm

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@spinkitchenbar (Jun 18, 09:33 AM)
Great pics! RT @foodiePrints: Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen - A Peek at the Bar Eats Menu http://nblo.gs/jiHSm

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@spydergrrl (Jun 18, 08:22 AM)
@foodiePrints discusses the new Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen w/a shoutout to #w2p http://bit.ly/lONuwt c/ @scilib

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@joymosk (Jun 18, 05:32 AM)
Hey #w2p mention! foodiePrints - Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen http://bit.ly/lryKvk @scilib @spydrrgirl

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@thefoodca (Jun 17, 09:20 PM)
Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen - A Peek at the Bar Eats Menu (foodiePrints) http://fewd.ca/a26866

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