Ottawa Magazine - - THE GLEBE -

Billed as a gas­tropub, The Rowan of­fers so­phis­ti­cated Bri­tish/ Euro­pean food, and it does this very well. It’s owned by Si­mon and Ross Fraser, the broth­ers who brought Fraser Café to New Ed­in­burgh over 10 years ago, but it’s Kyle De­can, for­merly souschef at Fraser, who holds the reins in the kitchen here.

Adding a unique twist to ev­ery of­fer­ing, De­can el­e­vates his food to the de­light­fully un­ex­pected. More­over, he goes be­yond typ­i­cal Bri­tish fare by bring­ing culi­nary in­flu­ences back from his trav­els — for in­stance, by adorn­ing a starter plate of chick­pea panisse and grilled zuc­chini with a sticky trea­cle-chili sauce, which, our server ex­plains, was picked up while cook­ing at the Olympics in Korea this past win­ter.

A par­tic­u­larly no­table dish is the roasted cauliflower salad with co­rian­der yo­gurt, chick­pea hum­mus, cress, and pine nuts: per­fectly bal­anced, deeply savoury, and with just the right touch of bright herbs and creami­ness. The green pea soup is lively and fresh with mint and cu­cum­ber, while crispy fried quails, served atop a deeply savoury sausage ragout, is an ad­ven­tur­ous and de­li­cious dish.

Ex­pect an ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of beer and spir­its (it’s a pub, af­ter all), but its wine list is im­pres­sive, too, with a var­ied se­lec­tion of not over­priced in­ter­na­tional and On­tario vintages.

Pubs have tra­di­tion­ally been lively, bustling places for gath­er­ing with oth­ers, and with its large front win­dows and bright, spa­cious in­te­ri­ors, The Rowan cre­ates a neigh­bour­hood space in which to see and be seen.

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