Ottawa Magazine - - WELLINGTON WEST -

Chef Ja­son Saw­i­sion opened Stofa — a Norse word mean­ing “hearth” or “gath­er­ing spot” — just over a year ago, and the restau­rant al­ready looks to have be­come a favourite in the neigh­bour­hood.

Vis­i­ble from the din­ing room is a kitchen busily putting forth such glob­ally in­spired cre­ations as (com­pli­men­tary) gar­lic-and-sage fo­cac­cia with pur­ple ube spread, ad­dic­tive shishito pep­pers with ponzu and se­same, and fried mush­rooms with miso may­on­naise. Mains get a sim­i­lar treat­ment: wild boar is art­fully plated on vivid splat­ters of pe­qui­llo and poblano pep­per sauces, with touches of acid from pick­led vegeta­bles and earth­i­ness from roasted car­rots and Thai eg­g­plant. The buck­wheat-and­mush­room tart, a veg­e­tar­ian main, is pre­sented on a more min­i­mal­is­tic plate but with the same fi­nesse of bal­anced flavours.

In terms of hav­ing a sig­na­ture dish, Stofa’s seafood tower is mak­ing waves. Like a high-tea plat­ter, the tower ar­rives at the ta­ble crack­ling over dry ice and fea­tures two tiers of imag­i­na­tive seafood treats ac­com­pa­nied by a myr­iad of ac­cou­trements that of­fer a plethora of tastes and tex­tures.

Stofa’s other sig­na­ture dish is a made-to-or­der sea­sonal souf­flé: ours is a sour-cherry cre­ation served with a scoop of dark choco­late ice cream on cookie crumbs — truly the cherry on top of a mem­o­rable meal.

With a menu that em­ploys un­fa­mil­iar in­gre­di­ents, it’s a must to have friendly servers who can guide you through the dishes, some­thing Stofa has in spades.

While el­e­ments of molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy hint at Saw­i­sion’s time as chef de cui­sine at Ate­lier, he has opted here to present a fine-din­ing menu that is slightly more ca­sual though no less creative.

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