What: Small Plates
Where: 10Fourteen Restaurant, 1014 Wellington Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario
Comments: Let me start by saying that I am not really a fan of small plate restaurants (with a few exceptions), but was joining a friend for dinner, who said it was good. I have to say that the plates that I had were very good - quite delicious actually.
As I was seated, I was presented with a delicious and fragrant martini glass full of popcorn. I could taste/smell cinnamon and a touch of truffle - nice combination and excellent way to get the taste buds working. I enjoyed the popcorn with a skillfully made Olde Fashioned.
My companion arrived and we perused the printed menu (also viewable on a chalk board behind the bar). There were about a dozen or items to choose from. The selections were thoughtful and covered a broad spectrum of tastes.
I chose two to start. My selections were the Hush Puppies and the Caprese Tarts. They came presented together on a board accompanied by a salad of cucumber, mint and almonds. The Hush Puppies were reminiscent of ones that I have enjoyed previously - their texture was true to their inspiration. Crispy outside, fluffy interior studded with fresh herbs, corn, diced potato and flaked smoked trout. They were resting upon a light serving of spicy aioli. A nice compliment to the trout.
The Caprese Tarts were a nice spin on a classic combination - tomato, basil and typically fresh mozzarella. The cheese was a tangy goat cheese; the tomato was a fresh and bright tomato puree all topped with fresh basil and nestled in a crispy phyllo cup. There were enough layers of phyllo to keep it crunchy yet not greasy. Biting into this tart evoked my eye-closed-while-chewing ritual. I really enjoyed the combination of the goat cheese and naturally sweet tomato.
After enjoying the first two dishes - I opted to order a third. I chose the Lentil 'Pakora' with grilled Paneer and Raitha. While I did enjoy this one as well, as a progression, I should have chosen this dish before the Hush Puppies and Tomato Tarts as the flavours here were more subtle. There were several different kinds of lentils with a delightful touch of cumin and other aromatics. The lentils were contained inside a light and crunchy Indian style bread. The paneer was grilled nicely and added a nice textural component to the dish.
|Pakora & Paneer|
After having visited and enjoyed 10Fourteen, I have drawn a few conclusions for myself. Small plate restaurants are for enjoying a few delicious bites over a drink with a friend. My evening was about catching up with a friend and enjoying each others company. The pace was casual and relaxed (although our dishes did come out in a timely fashion). I left the restaurant feeling satisfied. If I had still felt wanting, I could have ordered another dish. My bill came to $60.32 for the three small plates, two Olde Fashions (they were delicious!), tax and tip. In my opinion, reasonable and reflects the effort the kitchen puts into the dishes.
I get it, finally.