@WineGuyTO and I had a wedding over the Canada Day weekend in Ottawa, so we decided to turn it into a trip. Off we went Thursday night on an epically long (ok only around 6.5 hrs but felt longer) trek to our Nation’s Capital. We stayed in the Market for ease of, sightseeing, ;). Canada Day we weren’t going to line up at dawn to catch a glimpse of the Royal Couple (though I will admit to being a Monarchist), so we went in search of brunch. Highlander Pub right on Rideau was our first stop because it wasn’t packed yet. It boasts of having the largest single malt collection in Ottawa, but I’ll let @ScotchGuyTO be the judge of that. Off to meet a friend and we did end up seeing the motorcade before sitting in The Brig for the afternoon drinking beer/cider. Dinner our first night was unspectacular, maybe because it was Canada Day, but an old haunt from University days was a disappointment.
Saturday was the wedding and it was great! Congrats Al and Nadia!
Sunday we were adventurous. We met the sorority over brunch and then we went to National Art Gallery to check out the Caravaggio exhibit. Our first choice for dinner, Play Food and Wine Bar, seemed to be more of a lunch place. Our second choice, Social, was pricey (IMHO), so we went with Must Kitchen and Wine Bar, and I am glad we did.
Must is a small space on 2 floors right in the heart of the Byward Market. Because the space is designated heritage, the kitchen was awkwardly on the first floor and dinner service on the second, but our waiter (we also think owner) was quick, attentive and knowledgable. A tapas bar, both the wine and the food menu were diverse. We both decided on flights of red, an appetizer, a cheese board and two mains.
The Wine Flights available
Mine was the ‘Big and Bold’ wine flight, $14 consisting of a Black River Malbec (Argentina 2010), a Kingston Estates Shiraz (Australia 2000) and a Benzinger Merlot (Sonoma 2006).
- Malbec- lots of flavour in the smell, spice on the palate. Smooth. Described as blackberry and chocolate with red fruits, cherries and vanilla. Definitely get the cherry. I like!
- Shiraz-cherry tomato/fresh pasta on the nose, very smooth with no after tannins. Notes: packed with plum and cracked pepper
- Merlot- fresh nose, a little spice, apples? Get the blackberry. Notes: aromas of sweet black cherry and clove with blackberry and chocolate.
WineGuy drank ‘Enomatics’: Château St. Jean Pinot Noir 08, Abadia Rutuerta – Tempranillo /Cab Sauv/ Merlot 08, Farmers Leap Shiraz 04 ($18). We both loved our flights, and I will be looking for the Malbec and Shiraz in the LCBO!
For dinner we started with the cheese board. You could choose either 2 cheese/1 meat or 2 meat/1 cheese and up. We went with 2 cheese/ 1 meat and got: unripened goat cheese with herbs, old cheddar and Niagara prosciutto ($15). Next up was the chorizo meatballs -bocconcini stuffed tomato coulis ($8). They were nice and spicy, held together well, in a tomato compote with grated cheese.
Cheese and meat board
Mussels in a tomato/bacon sauce
I then had mussels in a tomato/bacon sauce with frites, aioli and crustini, while WineGuy went for a cheese burger ($16) with doubled smoked bacon and aged cheese with fries. I wanted to slurp down the bacon tomato sauce! Nice herb, bacon and mashed tomatoes but definitely could have used 2 pieces of bread. The fries are tempura crispy and probably the only not so great thing for me.
Cheese and bacon burger
Verdict? Definitely will go again the next time we are in Ottawa. Well priced, good food and a great wine list.