every meal should begin with a bowl of warm olives. and this is definitely how you should begin yours when you go to town., in ottawa, the second stop on our faculty of celebrity studies tour across canada as we defended gossip culture as a legitimate academic discipline and tested the culinary offerings of three cities (halifax, ottawa, calgary) against our big city food bias. to read about our experience in halifax, please click here (insert halifax link).
town. (with a hipster period punctuating its name and lower case only) is benches and blackboards and tightly packed tables, almost as though it’s announcing that it’s too cool to be large-sized, not unlike a brooklyn, new york dining experience, only without the attitude. fitting then that in our country’s capital, town.’s atmosphere is completely canadian - effortlessly friendly and comfortable. this is a place for regulars and familiar faces, where they return because it feels like home around the corner even if they had to drive half an hour to get there. which brings me back to the olives — what could be more welcoming than a warm bowl of olives?
we followed the olives with burrata, and tried not to be too greedy with our portions, placed on crostini and decorated with fig, so good that eventually we helped ourselves to bigger and bigger clumps of it, hoping no one would notice. how about that really, really awkward moment during a meal when there’s only one bite left and you sit on your hands and don’t go for it because that’s what your mother would want you to do while silently cursing the importance of etiquette and manners — after all, what’s the point of living if you can’t savour that final, gorgeous bite of soft, fresh, creamy cheese?
beef carpaccio. it almost made up for missing the burrata but it may have been too heavily adorned. raw beef is perfect by itself. they serve it at town. with a lot of fancy extras like pesto and mushrooms and, to be honest, the accessories are entirely unnecessary.
i should mention now before we get into the main courses that there’s a “sous-vide” on the property. the foodies among us swooned over the device and they explained to me in simple terms that the sous-vide method of meat preparation means it comes out extra, extra juicy. not sure if a sous-vide was used in the preparation of my wild boar bolognese but it was certainly tender and full of flavour without an overpowering sauce. i ordered the full-size portion but the half size, as requested by the less gluttonous person to my right, appeared to be rather adequate too.
two others had the linguini and mushrooms, attracted by the prospect of egg yolk mashed into their food. it was delicious. and super, super filling. as were the scallops. so many of them! so many that the person who ordered them offered them around the table. i have not known this to happen very often when it comes to scallops.
first halifax, then ottawa - it was becoming a recurring theme. great food at reasonable prices and…so generously portioned. are we getting ripped off in vancouver and toronto?