Absinthe Café, Ottawa


Chef Patrick Garland’s steak frites have been dubbed as one of the city’s 101 must-try-before-you-die ‘tastes’ by Ottawa magazine. I’d say that it’s not just the steak that’s important in this busy, with-it restaurant. Garland has a menu filled with lots of other great Canadian flavours including an array of house-made charcuterie. The menu changes constantly. According to Anne DesBrisay, the author of Capital Dining, “Absinthe applies imagination, technique to market cuisine – a bistro of many delights”.

For appetizers there’s a beautiful seared quail breast, “chicken-fried” quail legs and a kimchi apple bacon salad. The Arctic Char trio has tartare, gravlax and rillette. Fabulous! The venison and wild boar terrine, pork confit rillette and porchetta are served with a devilled quail egg and celery root remoulade. When I was there, the Mariposa Farm duck duo was served with  cranberry walnut pain perdu and grilled oyster mushrooms. There is always a selection of Quebec cheeses and the wine list is full of great Ontario bottles. Every Monday night in the fall and winter months, they serve forth traditional fondues.

Now a bit about the name and the libation, Absinthe. They write: “Traditionally, absinthe is prepared by placing a sugar cube on top of a specially designed slotted spoon and then placing the spoon on the glass which has been filled with a shot of

absinthe. Ice-cold water is then poured or dripped over the sugar cube so that the water is slowly and evenly displaced into the absinthe, typically 1 part absinthe and 3 to 5 parts water. During this process, components not soluble in water (mainly those from anise, fennel, and star anise) come out of solution and cloud the drink. The resulting milky opalescence is called the louche (Fr. “opaque” or “shady”). Releasing these components allows herbal aromas and flavours to “blossom” or “bloom” and brings out subtleties originally over-powered by the anise. This is often referred to as “The French Method.”

The absinthe collection is extensive and include several from Canada … Taboo from Okanagan Distillery and one from Dillon’s Distillery in Niagara.

Absinthe Cafe is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.

Absinthe Cafe est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs. Contactez Absinthe Cafe directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.

Absinthe Café
1208 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, Ontario

T: 613 761 1138


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Author: Anita

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