This past Family Day Long Weekend I coordinated a visit to our Nationals Capital with Ottawa Tourism. I arrived with my father just in time to showcase The Winterlude Festival. We had a jam packed culinary itinerary which had us visiting five of the cities top restaurants. When we weren’t oooing and ahhhing at fantastical ice sculptures or strolling through the National Gallery we were either snapping pictures of our food, napping with bloated stomachs or talking about our next meal. Food was the focus, as it should be.
We would be spending three nights stay at The Arc Hotel, and since our arrival was late on the Friday night I coordinated our first review at the hotels very own Arc Lounge. We quickly checked into our room, refreshed and scooted down to the restaurant for a five course tasting menu courtesy of Chef Jason Duffy. The Arc Lounge has a funky little interior. I couldn’t help but laugh as my father’s shirt matched the upholstery (which happened coincidentally at three of the restaurants we ate at during the weekend, uncanny really). The modern interior was inviting and service was attentive and informative as each dish was placed under our noses. My father, an amateur food enthusiast described each dish as a masterpiece with much enthusiasm. Chef Duffy’s dishes take top prize for creative plating. I think the pictures speak for themselves. A little wow was whispered as each plate arrived at the table. The menu consistently showcases true Canadian flavours (Elk ribs and Lake Erie Pickerel for example) with a focus on local ingredients which is verified by their Savour Ottawa membership.
I started with a stiff Manhattan, my new go to drink after a long work week. We were both enthused by the freshly warmed baguette at the table paired with a red wine butter and sherry vinegar violette mustard. Highlights of our meal included potato ravioli with rich jus, pickled jalapenos, delicate baby dill pickle chips and our first ever encounter with an Elk Rib. Our meal was finished off with a peanut butter and banana ice cream sandwich and a shot of vodka created in house with an infusion of chipotle, cilantro and lime. Pow!
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites):
Estrada Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Appleby Lane Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand *
Warm Baguettte *
red wine butter, sherry vinegar violette mustard
Veal Shank and Potato Ravioli *
lemon and truffle jus
Grilled Octopus with Orange Tamarind BBQ
ricotta, minted israeli couscous, preserved orange, house pickled jalapeno
O’Brien Farms beef tartare *
quail egg gribiche, manchego crisp, pickled beets, baby dill pickle chips
BBQ Chip Crusted Lake Erie Pickerel
fingerling-pancetta-arugula croquette, kale-walnut pesto, creme fraiche
Elk Ribs with Date Orange BBQ *
roasted cauliflower puree, marinated le coprin mushrooms, pea shoot coulis
Ice Cream Sandwich *
peanut butter cookies, banana-earl grey ice cream with date chocolate ganache
Chef Duffy’s Arc Vodka
chipotle, cilantro and lime infused vodka
Over the course of the weekend we also ate two breakfasts here. The Arc Hotel French Toast is an inspiring take on a classic which had us asking “how did they do that?” Cranberry focaccia is encrusted with oats and cinnamon and served with maple syrup and orange butter. Please ensure someone at your table orders this, it may change your life.
Arc French Toast
oat and cinnamon crusted cranberry focaccia, maple syrup, orange butter
poached bekings farm eggs wrapped in smoked salmon, fennel pollen, grapefruit hollandaise, fresh dill, grilled focaccia
House Made Waffle
bourbon vanilla spiked blackberry-honey compote, pistachio creme anglaise
The Trio Sante
house made granola, fresh fruit, raspberry yogurt