Friday, October 22, 2010
Zen Kitchen opened in Ottawa about a year ago and people have been raving about the restaurant ever since.
I'm not usually one to seek out vegan food, but when you know the people making it really care about food -- you can't help but want to jump on the gluten free, vegetarian, raw (if desired), whole food bandwagon.
I joined two friends at the restaurant on a nice day to try out Zen Kitchen's brunch menu.
One of my friends ordered the gourmet salad with organic greens, spiced pepitas, dengaku tofu skewers, with soup. The salad was fresh and flavourable.
Another friend ordered the breakfast burrito, with scrambled tofu, market vegetables, Mornay sauce, tomatillo salsa and spicy rice. I tried some and thought it tasted good.
I think my friend was still hungry after eating it though.
I had the house granola, local seasonal fruit, vanilla bean cream, served with lemon scone and berry jam. I thought my dish was really pretty. The overall flavour and texture were good. It also included a scone and banana bread, with house-made vegan butter. The banana bread was good, but dense. It benefited from the butter.
In terms of the scone, it wasn't my favourite. I think it just needed more sugar and something to moisten it up a bit. That's just me though.
The service was helpful, friendly and not intrustive. Caroline, the chef, came out to the table to say hello and see how we liked the food.
Overall, it was really a good experience. So much so that I'm going back for dinner soon.
Check out Carole and Dave's (the owners) show that aired on The W Network here.
I was also happy to also see Zen Kitchen at Field of Feasts.
They made vegetarian burgers. The bread was excellent and flavour combination was good.
The Table, a vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa, also had a interesting collection of options. The salad was not a bad idea, in theory, but the weather wasn't cooperating that day and there was lettuce flying everywhere.
Field of Feasts was quite a while ago. I had mixed feelings about the event, but would be open to going again if the venue and weather looked good. I was very impressed with the sustainable approach. But, I did find that there was minimal interaction with the chefs and farmers. I think there would be several ways to promote greater interaction between the farmers and event-goers (e.g., presentations, classes, greater online awareness about the farms, etc.), but the venue had to be different (or at least set up differently).
I'm sure if I had gone with Giz, I would have at least been witness to more interaction with the farmers. Every week she comes home with new stories and interactions from the market.