Er­ling’s Va­ri­ety 25 Strath­cona Ave., 613-231-8484

Ottawa Magazine - - INDULGE -

The Glebe-Old Ot­tawa South din­ing scene has changed dra­mat­i­cally in the past few years. The neigh­bour­hood has said adieu to many stal­warts, in­clud­ing John Tay­lor’s Gen­uine Food and Wine bar, and wel­comed many more. And there’s no deny­ing that the chain eater­ies at Lans­downe have had an im­pact as well. But it’s steady as she goes at Er­ling’s. Well into its fourth year of ser­vice, and notwith­stand­ing changes in its open kitchen, re­cent vis­its in­di­cate that this north Glebe restau­rant run by Liam Vain­ola con­tin­ues to be a restau­rant of re­laxed plea­sures. The am­bi­ence is lovely, the ser­vice car­ing, the wine list ter­rific, and the food won­der­ful. Now in charge of the kitchen is Justin Way, late of M¯eNa restau­rant. The re­fined cui­sine and strik­ing pre­sen­ta­tions he prac­tised on Pre­ston Street (with chef James Brats­berg) are find­ing their way to Er­ling’s plates. Also find­ing their way are veg­eta­bles. The ten­dency to toss ba­con in with the usual sus­pects — cau­li­flower, Brus­sels sprouts, kale — isn’t prac­tised here. And not missed one bit. Mush­rooms piled on smoked-ched­dar po­lenta come with a thicket of ap­ple sticks; roasted Brus­sels are paired with lus­cious cheese and a poached egg. Squash purée is the base for three per­fectly cooked ravioli, the pouches filled with goat cheese, lightly sweet with maple syrup, piqued with jalapeno. Roasted hazel­nuts tossed over top give crunch, sautéed chard a bit of bit­ter, and crum­bled sage per­fumes the lot. Veni­son tartare and a short rib propped up on a root veg­etable latke are the stars on the beefy side of the menu. Dough­nuts sweeten the end, with a cup of hor­chata for dunk­ing. Small plates $6–$16. Closed Mon­day.

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