time slows down when you nib­ble a lit­tle, drink a lit­tle, and talk some. so pull up a chair — or opt for take out — and let the con­ver­sa­tion be­gin

Where Ottawa - - CONTENTS - by cindy deach­man

Small bites, big taste

Vegetable board Though cheese and char­cu­terie is more com­mon, don’t for­get about a vegetable board. “I re­mem­ber once be­ing at Pull­man, one of my favourite wine bars in Mon­treal,” says Soif Bar à Vin owner Véronique Rivest, “and eat­ing a gor­geous, ul­tra-sim­ple plate of amaz­ingly fresh and tasty veg­eta­bles. … I liked it so much, I had three of them and that was my meal.” Soif ’s chef Jamie Stunt has fun play­ing around with the ever-chang­ing veg­eta­bles and flow­ers on his board. “Just be­fore ser­vice, we go shop­ping for herbs,” says Stunt, re­fer­ring to Soif ’s own pots of herbs grow­ing out back. $15. Soif Bar à Vin, 88, rue Mont­calm, Gatineau, 819-600-7643 Cichèti For Vene­tians, says North & Navy co-owner/chef Adam Vet­torel, “the cinq-à-sept way of eat­ing” is nor­mal, where om­bres or lit­tle glasses of wine are ac­com­pa­nied by cichèti. Vet­torel of­fers a vari­able menu of these morsels. For in­stance, smoked trout and ap­ple slices are nes­tled in a tre­viso leaf, mar­i­nated oys­ter mush­rooms have been charged with grain mus­tard, and meat­balls taste the way meat­balls should, not stodgy but light. Have a bite at the bar or or­der plates for the whole ta­ble. North & Navy, 226 Ne­pean St., 613-232-6289 but­tery brioche Ex­ec­u­tive chef De­nis Gi­rard skill­fully crafts the menu at Le Bac­cara, in­clud­ing the duck bom­bon­nette, cooked sous-vide and served with peach, truf­fles, pear, a hazel­nut dress­ing, and wild rice pow­der. It in­cludes Le Bac­cara’s sig­na­ture brioche: sauteed in but­ter and spread with mas­car­pone. Le Bac­cara, Casino du Lac Leamy, 1 boul. du Casino, Gatineau, 819-772-6210

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