Notable restaurant and food happenings
Salad 2.0 He first made his name as co-founder of the ultra-successful DavidsTea loose-leaf tea shops. Now Ottawa native David Segal, who left the company in 2016, is back with another tasty idea.
Mad Radish, which is slated to launch its first two locations (859 Bank St. and 100-116 Albert St.) this summer, is all about highly creative salads. The idea, says Segal, “is to match the quality of food you get in the fine-dining world with the speed and service you get in the fast-food world.” With that in mind, the savvy entrepreneur has teamed up with executive chef
Nigel Finley, who made his name in Toronto at acclaimed restaurants Catch and The Chase. Finley, who has been experimenting these past few months, says he started with 150 salads and narrowed it down through multiple tastings to a greatest-hits menu of 10 to 12. The idea is to have a core group of favourite salads on the menu and five or six that are unveiled with the seasons as Finley continues to innovate. And a final word from Segal? “This is Salad 2.0 — Salad 2.0 is all about how food that is good for you has to taste good. It’s the next stage in refining our diets as a society.” Amen to that. Amuse-Bouche Sporting an ambitious menu of modern French cuisine and a motivated chef in the kitchen, the ByWard Market’s newest fine-dining restaurant opened in late winter just one month after its predecessor, Murray Street, closed its doors.
Sur-Lie (110 Murray St., 613-562-7244) sees Cordon Bleu-trained chef Nick Berolo dreaming up creative and beautiful dishes based on classic French techniques and recipes. The chef, who honed his craft at notable French restaurants in Montreal and Banff before returning to Ottawa to cook, most recently at Luxe Bistro, promises a menu that’s “small, dynamic, and ever changing.” For non-oenophiles, Sur-Lie is a winemaking term that means “on the lees,” and owner Neil Gowe oversees a list focused on French and Ontario wines. Theirs is not the only opening of note in the ByWard Market of late: chef Matthew
Carmichael has expanded his empire with a second El Camino on Clarence (set to open mid-June), Zak’s Diner has launched a miniempire with the opening of Zak’s Cantina next door, and Social has extended its reach by taking over and renovating the former Poised clothing store next door. Bubble Tea She got super-serious about her kombucha biz just one year ago, but it’s already full-steam ahead for Buchipop founder Patricia Larkin, who now has more than 50 food retailers and restaurants around town selling her fizzy drinks. She recently expanded into a 3,900-square-foot space in Little Italy, the former home of Sam Bat, which she shares with kimchi and catering whizzes Heirloom Kitchen and juice experts Renew Cold Press. Larkin has four flavours in regular circulation right now — original, ginger, berry (raspberry, strawberry, wild blueberry, and hibiscus), and amarillo (made with hops). Look for her to introduce a couple of soda-pop-inspired flavours for summer — citrus and grape. “I think of Buchipop as a fun lifestyle brand,” says Larkin. “A lot of the kombucha makers are focused on the health side. I look at kombucha — and Buchipop — as a soda alternative. It just happens to have health benefits and way less sugar than pop!” Métis Menu Visitors to Wakefield would do well to check out the latest addition to the Riverside strip. Nikosi
Bistro-Pub (721, ch. Riverside, 819-459-3773), which launched in the winter, is the brainchild of Métis restaurateur Wapokunie Riel-Lachapelle, who oversees a menu that honours traditional rustic French cuisine fused with Indigenous ingredients. It’s a great match, with Nikosi quickly gaining a devoted following of neighbourhood regulars. Popular menu items include spicy duck drumsticks, boar burgers, and the Nikosi poutine with duck confit and dried cranberries. On the summer menu? Chef du cuisine Simon Gravelle is working on a smoked-mackerel salad and jerk duck, pulled boar, and mackerel tacos with corn salsa. For the record, Nikosi, which means “bear paw,” is the name of Riel-Lachapelle’s nephew. At press time, construction had begun on a 50-seat patio with views down the Gatineau River to the covered bridge. The Cold Files Summer is short — so little time to pack in all the ice cream and beer tasting that needs to be done. With that in mind, a quick rundown of what’s new on the ice cream store and pub scenes. On the ice cream front, Sundae School has opened its doors in the bottom of The Kavanaugh condo building at 222 Beechwood Ave., while at the other end of the strip, The Royal Oak now owns a spacious two-storey pub at the corner of Beechwood and Crichton. Merry Dairy, famous for its soft-serve custard, is scheduled to open a storefront at 102 Fairmont Ave. in Hintonburg this summer. On Elgin, the former Slice & Co. location has been resurrected as Elgin Beer Project, a casual pub targeting local craft beer fans with 50-plus brews from across Ottawa and the valley. And Centretowners are watching the refits going on in the heritage building at Flora and Bank.
Flora Hall Brewing is planning to open later this summer as a combo craft brewery, kitchen, and beer shop. For the July 1 imbiber, don’t forget to buy your tickets for local brewer Dominion City’s annual Dominion Day Party. The massive shindig, to be held at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum this year, sees all that fine ale paired with eats by the likes of Meat Press, The Rex, Albion Rooms, Moo Shu Ice Cream, and Holland’s Cake and Shake. The band lineup includes Amos the Transparent, Adam Saikley Quartet, and Northfields. Quick Bites
• Japanophiles and homesick expats have been flocking to Uji Café on Rideau Street for matcha lattes and decadent Japanese cheesecakes, tarts, and mille crepes.
• Backyard barbecuers should check out the all-wood bristle-free Grillin’ & Chillin’ barbecue scraper, made locally by Buzz Art and available at Bridlewood Home Hardware.
• In pastry news, La Maison du Kouign-Amann, which garnered a loyal following for its French pastries at Carp Farmers’ Market, has opened a bricks-and-mortar location in Kanata; Vanier’s
Quelque Chose Pâtisserie now has a second location in Westboro; and Sweet Bite, with Lebanese and French offerings, has opened in the Glebe in the former Truffle Treasures location.
• Congrats to Al’s Steakhouse, which celebrates 50 years in the capital with a full-on renovation that makes it lighter, brighter, and so very contemporary.
• Fans of fine coffee, music, and road-tripping will be thrilled to hear that the storied Neat Coffee
Shop has reopened in Burnstown under new ownership.
• Meanwhile, road trippers with a hankering for good pub grub should pencil in a visit to Lumbertown Ale House in Arnprior, while Carleton Place’s Black Tartan Kitchen is a newish casual fine-dining destination with chef Ian Carswell at the helm.
• Keep an eye out for NU Grocery Store, a zero-waste grocery store that is setting up shop at 1140 Wellington St. W., in the Tamarack condo. The package-free-groceries concept has taken off in Europe, and similar projects are in the works in Vancouver and Montreal. • Congrats to Ottawa’s own Gusto Worldwide
Media. The company recently won a James Beard Award for its original series Fish the Dish.