Allium Restaurant

The best thing I ate this month – November 2015

The best thing I ate this month was yet again a creation from Allium Restaurant. This time around, it was their take on biscuits & gravy.

When I sat down and looked at the menu, I was a bit unsettled to discover this classic Southern combo north of the Mason-Dixon line. I nearly dismissed it out of hand. I mean, what do Canadians know about biscuits and gravy? It turns out, a whole heck of lot.

The rich and peppery smoked pork and mushroom gravy was perfectly paired with the biscuits, which were buttery and had an airy flakiness about them. The chicken was classically Southern-style and ideally cooked. Crispy, light and never greasy.  The apple jam and hot honey added just the right touch of sweetness. The pickled cabbage and peanuts were a nice complement, bringing freshness and crunch.

This dish was a triumph and a contemporary exploration on one of the most revered dishes of the South. And it was the best thing I ate this month.

The best thing I ate this month – August 2015

Recently, a lunch was had at Allium Restaurant to honour my birthday. It instead turned into an occasion to celebrate the birth of a most wondrous creation—a Fried Chicken Sandwich. Picture it. Crunchy and fantastically moist chicken topped with crispy bacon, a savoury cheddar spread, a slathering of hot honey, crunchy parmesan-kale salad, all held together by two warm and chewy waffles. Choruses of “Oohs,” “Aahs” and “Mmms” were heard, my birthday was almost forgotten and more napkins were requested.

After having left the restaurant and struggling to unlock the secrets to this delicious wonder, I reached out to the restaurant as well as to the Chef who produced this masterpiece. What I received in return was stone-cold silence. Rude? Annoying? Smart? It seems that Allium was hell-bent on keeping the secret to their mystical sandwich on the down-low. And, who can blame them? The sandwich is innovative, dramatic and tummy pleasing.  And, it was the best thing I ate this month.

Allium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch at Allium signals the end of "Birthday Month"

My boss and a few colleagues took me out for my birthday lunch. I chose Allium Restaurant because of its proximity to work and also because I enjoy it there.

Allium’s mix of Canadian cuisine and classic French techniques often lands it on various top 10 lists of best restaurants in the city. The menu changes on the first Thursday of every month and often includes your choice of duck, foie gras, salmon, steak, sandwiches and pastas.

I had the Mushroom Tagliatelle which was both tasty and filing. If I have one critique for Allium is that its portions are generally on the smallish side. Not this time. My plate contained a hearty portion of ragù which left me quite satisfied.

Mushroom Tagliatelle brought together slow roasted pork shoulder, tomato confit, bacon,
mushrooms, roasted garlic, chili and eggplant.

The rest of my party had the Club Sandwich. I received a chorus of approving nods when I inquired about how they liked their meal.

Club sandwich and potato salad

Allium is refined yet approachable. It carefully and quite adroitly straddles the line between casual and fine dinning. The menu offers regional and farm-to-table ingredients spun in interesting combinations like the Duck Fat Fried Eggplant with chili and garlic or the Scallop Salad that combines blueberries, nectarines, oranges, pickled red onion, spiced peanuts with a cilantro-parsley dressing.

I highly recommend Allium for anyone looking for bistro fare done right. It is located at 87 Holland Avenue in Ottawa.

I’m glad that I got to finish off my birthday month at Allium. It’s been a quite enjoyable to spend time with the cool people in my life. I’m a very lucky dude indeed. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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