City Bites Insider
CITY BITES INSIDER
Notable restaurant and food happenings
Too Beaucoup It’s too much! Two ambitious chefs have transformed the former Kaashi Food Centre at the corner of Somerset and Booth into Too
Beaucoup (802 Somerset St. W.). Slated to open in early November, it’s cool and casual, a 30-seat spot that will allow seasoned chefs (and lifelong friends) Emma Campbell (whose most recent gig was chef de cuisine at Supply and Demand) and Caroline Murphy (whose resumé includes stints at top spots Edgar and Town) to design their own restaurant from the ground up. The duo took over the Chinatown spot this past summer, gutting the interior, exposing hidden brickwork, and designing a space Murphy describes as “simple and clean.” The look matches their menu, which highlights casual fine dining. “We’re going to take all that we’ve learned so far in cooking and make the dishes that we want to make,” says Murphy. Too Beaucoup has a coffee-shop vibe in the mornings with pastries and Little Victories coffee, morphing into a lunchtime soup-andsandwich shop, then an intimate spot for after-work snacks and drinks and, finally, casual fine dining in the evenings. Sweet Talk Disenchanted by high rents and crime, Heinrich
Stubbe shut down his shop this past summer after close to three decades on Dalhousie Street. Now the German chocolatier is back with a new store in Hintonburg (1224 Wellington St. W.). The move has allowed Stubbe to design Stubbe
Chocolates from the ground up. Now everything is on one level — chocolate makers in the kitchen at the back of the store, separate counters filled with truffles, specialty chocolates, and cakes. “I was sad to realize how many people I disappointed when I decided to move,” says Stubbe. “But I’m also excited to greet my old and new clientele here.” The store’s close affiliation with Le Cordon Bowled over Sen Kitchen, an offshoot of Sen Asian Cuisine, will be in good company at the new Queen St. Fare, a food hall opening this fall in the Sun Life Financial Centre
Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute
continues, with students working at the shop and learning techniques from a master.
Locals know it already, but outsiders are increasingly recognizing Carp as a food (and drink) hub, road-tripping to the Carp Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings and staying for lunchtime fare at Alice’s Village Cafe or some homemade ice cream at Carp Custom Creamery. Now you can quaff a local craft beer too. Ridge Rock Brewing
Co. (421 Donald B. Munro Dr.) has opened at Carp’s main intersection. Housed in an 1860s heritage building, the town’s newest food-and-drink destination should quickly make a name for itself with its quality beers — brewmaster Jamie Maxwell worked at the much-lauded Harpoon Brewery in Vermont before moving back to Canada to open Calabogie Brewing Company a few years back. Many of these food-and-drink people will be at this year’s Carp Farmers’ Christmas
Market, which takes place Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Keep an eye out for Tasha’s Table and Bisou Dates &
Chocolates for decadent sweet treats. Caffeine Fix Great coffee, great cause. Ottawa-based Birch
Bark Coffee Company is the brainchild of Ojibwe entrepreneur Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, who is using coffee to bring fresh water to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. The idea is simple — for every 40 bags of coffee the company sells, Birch Bark will purchase and install a home water purifier in an Indigenous community facing a boil-water advisory. Launched earlier this year, the company has already been profiled by its sales platform, Shopify, as well as by media in Ottawa and Toronto. With business interest exploding, Marsolais-Nahwegahbow says he is looking into roasting on a much larger scale. The most popular of Birch Bark’s five offerings is Summer Solstice, with beans from the Coatepec region of Mexico. Local retailers include Herb & Spice, Massine’s Your Independent Grocer, and Seed to Sausage.
• Exciting news from chef Joe Thottungal of Coconut Lagoon, who is launching a downtown restaurant at L’Esplanade Laurier. The 65-seat Thali (136 O’Connor), which is set to open in mid-November, will have an ever-changing menu of chef-inspired thalis featuring seasonal and local produce paired with craft beers and Canadian wines.
It’s all brunch, all the time in the Glebe, where two new restaurants with a decidedly breakfasty vibe have opened. Eldon’s (in the old Burrito Shack location at 775 Bank) is serving up brunch for lunch Tuesday to Sunday, while Indulgence, just down the street at 589 Bank (in the former Makita space), caters to sweet lovers with brunches and desserts as mainstays. Nothing will ever take the place of the beloved
Mellos Restaurant, but we’ve got to move on sometime and we’ve been hearing good things about Bánh Mì Girl, which opened in the venerable Dalhousie Street spot late last summer. Bánh mì and bao are the draws.
• Tough to keep track of the culinary twists and turns of chef Rene Rodriguez. He cooked Mexican at Navarra, Italian at Orto Trattoria and, at press time, had announced plans to cook modern French cuisine at new digs on Elgin later this year. • It’s holiday snack season, and the guys behind
Beer Snacks International are debuting their first peanutless option. Channa highlights the crunchy chickpea and will have an aromatic spice profile that promises to be salty, spicy, and savoury. Can’t wait.
• Satisfying the foodies on your gift list is easy. Just pop by their favourite spots and pick up snacks or swag — everyone seems to be doing totes and Ts these days. Hoping to see a Bread By Us cinnamon snail T-shirt in our stocking.
• The Urban Element reprises its popular “Decadent Holiday Baking” class with multiple dates in November and December. Spumoni bars, cranberry swirl shortbread, and molasses spice lemon cookies are just three of the seven cookies on the menu. Sign up early. This one’s always a sellout.
• Big news for Big Daddy’s fans. The crab shack and oyster bar has been resurrected on Cooper at the Cartier Place Suite Hotel.
• Sad news this summer when chef Harriet Clunie of Beechwood Gastropub and chef Rich Wilson of The Pomeroy House both announced the closure of their restaurants. At press time, Wilson had already announced a new gig at gezellig.
Hall Monitor Ottawa hits big-city status with the debut of its first food hall. Located in the Sun Life Financial Centre (170 Queen St.), Queen St. Fare is a combo food, drink, and live-music venue. On the menu? The big ideas of many high-profile chefs and food scenesters. Key players includeMercadito, which will be selling Mexican street food under the guidance of Rene Rodriguez and in partnership with Burrito Borracho; SenKitchen (from the owners of Sen Asian Cuisine at Lansdowne), which will have high-end dishes from across Asia; Q Bar, a partnership between Jill Dagenais (formerly of The Moonroom) and the Bar Robo team, which will focus on wines, craft beers, and cocktails; and Capitol BurgerCounter, which will offer hand-formed burgers, made from fresh local beef, and hand-cut fries. Green Rebel (salads), Bar Robo (coffee, pastries, and sandwiches), and Fiazza (pizza) will also operate spots. With the launch planned for the week of Dec. 10, the 8,500-square-foot hall has a 390-person indoor capacity and will have a 30-seat patio in the summer.