Whoever says Ottawa is a sleepy place hasn’t gone to some of the city’s newer restaurants. Fraser Café is leading the charge of eateries led by confident, young chefs.
Two brothers, Simon and Ross Fraser, run the restaurant and the kitchen. Their first venture was so successful they had to close their first location to find a bigger one.
The current place in New Edinburgh is intimate and constantly busy. The focus here is on local and seasonal ingredients. Nothing flashy but everything tasty.
Half a dozen apps and mains line the menu, but most diners let the chefs do their best to impress with the kitchen’s choice.
On a wintry night, the brothers delight with appetizers of a delicate tomato risotto ($13) with marscapone, artichoke hearts and leeks, and beef short rib ($13) balanced with soba, kimchee and bits of Asian pear.
Kitchen makes the vegetarian happy with a heaping plate of tempura veg ($21) and soba, kimchee and bok choy. The soba, tossed with butter, is a standout.
I swoon over my B.C. black cod ($27) in a delicious tomato broth jammed with bok choy, cauliflower, olives, and chorizo slices. Pushing flavours over the edge are a smoky chunk of salmon, and a dollop of horseradish cream. Love, love the cream which gives the sweet broth such a edgy kick.
Homemade doughnuts ($7) are much too warm, toasty and fresh to share. A little cup of dipping chocolate topped with vanilla ice cream comes on the side. Shawna and I each get our own. Well, you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good friendship over doughnuts, do you?
Fraser Café, 7 Springfield Rd., Ottawa, (613) 749-1444. Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner 5:30-10 p.m., brunch on weekends 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Mondays.