There are several tell-tale signs Autumn is upon us: the sun sets earlier, the evenings get cooler (permitting a comfortable night’s sleep), and C’est Bon Cooking holds its “Foods of Wellington West (Ottawa’s Epicurean Row)” Tour.
Our friends at C’est Bon Cooking, Paola St-Georges (@Cestboncooking) and Chef Andrée Riffou, held their first Edible Ottawa Tour of the Wellington West and Hintonburg neighbourhoods last year. I couldn’t attend as I was busy delivering a bouquet of flowers to Marysol Foucault to congratulate her on opening Edgar (60 Rue Bégin). Jenn, however, did.
She regaled me with such wondrous tidbits about the neighbourhoods we call home I signed on to visit the first couple stops of this year’s tour. Why? Paola started her tour at Chef Jason Laurin’s newly renovated space for Essence Catering (430 Parkdale Avenue). Afterward, she stopped at two of the brightest new hotspots in Hintonburg Burnt Butter (1100 Wellington Street W.) and Back Lane Cafe (1087 Wellington Street W.)
Here are photos from Burnt Butter and Back Lane Cafe. Photos of Chef Laurin’s innovative bites will come in a later post as he will be featured in the upcoming issue of the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine (Fall 2011 edition).
We have already written an “first glimpse” post about Burnt Butter. Our wine blogger Claire has since visited, enjoying her meal. But, here are some highlights:
- Family-owned and operated by Chef Steve and his wife Gen Lamorie- Wallace
- Serves creative takes on Italian-inspired starters and mains (e.g. conch fritters with coriander yellow pepper coulis and cassava frites w/spicy mango dip)
- Showcases a rotating wine menu that changes weekly
- Wine selections represent a balanced domestic:foreign ratio
- Chef Wallace has spent 30 years in Ottawa’s restaurant industry, working primarily with Ritz restaurants
- Opening a restaurant has been Chef Wallace’s dream for decades
- Reception has been so good, the @burnt_butter twitter account tweeted they were hiring another bartender and line cook.
Here is the bite they shared with C’est Bon Cooking’s touring food enthusiasts:
[Lobster and Sweet Potato Torteloni with Chive Lemon Cream Sauce and with Carrot and Pickled Hearts of Palm Slaw]
Back Lane Cafe
- Owned and operated by longtime restauranteur George Monsour (former owner of the Ritz restaurants)
- Kitchen lead by Chef Evan Pritchard (formerly of Stella Osteria)
- Serves a French menu with Mediterranean flourishes (e.g. lentil soup with goat cheese gougère, mushroom broth with duck confit, roasted salmon nicoise salad, hearth simmered “fisherman’s stew”, and mussels in toasted garlic and Provencal tomato sauce frites)
- Restaurant’s name hails back to when people lived in villages with main streets. While people worked and ate in street-facing buildings, the back lanes were where people really met and did business
- Dining room has a worn pastoral feel with exposed brick, thick painted wood beams, and an enormous distressed and polished concrete bar top
- Kitchen is equipped with a pair of Le Panyol wood-fired ovens from France, which have been specially installed with 12″ of concrete around them to retain heat
- Kitchen has no freezer, only a walk-in fridge that was brought into the lower level of the kitchen piece by piece
- Back Lane serves no pop (bottles or cans), instead prepares spritzers (e.g. rhubarb and raspberry) from fruit juice and cane sugar
- Back Lane’s compostables are sent to Mariposa Farms
- First in Ottawa to serve Granville Island Pale Ale
Here are the bites they shared with C’est Bon Cooking’s touring food enthusiasts:
[Chilled Beet and Buttermilk soup with a Goat Cheese Gougère filled with House Gravalax and Cream]
[walnuts, dulce de leche, espresso ganache, shortbread, dark chocolate]
Because Jenn is allergic to chocolate, she was served a beignet.
Deliciously crisp on the outside and not at all bready in the middle, but light and airy, Jenn didn’t lament about not being able to eat the chocolate. It was a first!
Chef Pritchard brought out some mini-baguettes for us to feast our eyes upon.
Jenn got to try one.
Back Lane’s breads, expertly crafted by Chef Pritchard (who once worked for Kevin Mathieson of Ottawa’s Art-Is-In Bakery), are baked in the residual heat of the wood ovens. They sported a deliciously crisp and crunchy crust, very different from Art-Is-In baguettes.
So, have you visited either of Hintoburg’s newest restaurants? What do you think of them?
Here is a slideshow of photos from the tour:
1100 Wellington Street W.
Tags: Back Lane Cafe, Burnt Butter, C'est Bon Cooking, culinary tourism, food tour, Hintonburg