Saturday, May 2, 2015

Doughnuts - Ottawa restaurant

Sidedoor Restaurant is located in the courtyard of the ByWard market in Ottawa. Executive chef Jonathan Korecki is best known for his appearance in Season 2 on Top Chef Canada where he was a finalist. He went to the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and worked in kitchens across Canada, including celebrated chef Susur Lee in Toronto. It is no surprise that the menu at Sidedoor is predominantly contemporary Asian with few items Mexican influences. The concept revolves around sharing food, a similar fashion to tapas. 

From 4:30pm to 6:30pm except for Saturday, opt for their Happy Hours where the tacos cost a mere $7.50 for 2 ($2 cheaper than the original price). We took this opportunity to order 3 tacos. The bajan crispy fish is deep fried in tempura batter that gives a light and airy crust, it is complemented with an aji amarillo sauce garnished with red cabbage slaw, tomatillo salsa and a slice of avocado. 

Bajan Crispy Fish - Tacos Ottawa
Bajan Crispy Fish Tacos
The chicken carnitas is slowly cooked shredded chicken topped with white cabbage slaw, tomatillo salsa and a thin slice of avocado - flavourful and moist. 

Chicken Carnitas Tacos - Ottawa Restaurant
Chicken Carnitas
Finally,  this is our favorite taco of the night - korean cauliflower. The cauliflower provides a nice crunch, it is complemented with pickled sunchoke which is the acidity component. All the flavors are melded together with a sweet, messy, not-too-spicy gochujang sauce. Believe or not, cauliflower is the next superfood that will sweep the nation. As my friend Geneviève from Zomato puts it, cauliflower is the new kale.

Korean Cauliflower with Pickled Sunchokes - Byward market
Korean Cauliflower with Pickled Sunchokes
On the finale of Top Chef, Chef Jonathan Korecki presented the braised beef in Panang curry which is currently featured on his menu at Sidedoor. This popular Thai curry is made with fresh herbs and whole spices that are pulverized with a mortar and pestle to form a curry paste. It is then mixed with coconut milk and fish sauce to create a creamy sauce that is served over braised beef short ribs. The order comes with three large chunks of beef. Unfortunately, one of the pieces was dry, while the two others were moist and succulent. The curry sauce is simply perfect, it's so addictive that we just want to grab a piece of bread and whip the bowl clean. Sadly, we had to pay an extra $4 just for a small bowl of rice. If it serves roti canai on their menu, that would be a different story. 

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Jasmine Rice - Thai food Ottawa
Braised Beef Short Ribs with Panang Curry and Jasmine Rice
Finally, we opted for the dessert that he is best known for - doughnuts. It's probably the best presented donuts that I have ever seen. On episode 3 of Top Chef, he wowed the judges with his maple-bacon doughnuts topped with a sugar-coated doughnut hole. To finish our sharing dining experience, we went for the donut sharing platter. In total, 7 donuts - 2 of each flavour on their menu (white chocolate-cranberry, cinnamon-sugar, Olivia dark chocolate) all topped with a cinnamon-sugar donut hole and the 7th one is the chef's feature donut, usually a filled donut. All the doughnuts are made-to-order. They are fluffy yet not overwhelmingly sweet that you can just keep going for more. The chef's feature donut is an apple cream filling glazed with maple-caramel and sprinkles of Maldon salt. It's hard to pick our favourite as all of them are equally as delicious.

Apple Maple-Caramel, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate-Cranberry, Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts
Donut Sharing Platter - Apple Cream with Maple-Caramel Glaze, Olivia Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon-Sugar, White Chocolate-Cranberry
All in all, we were very satisfied with the food and the service was impeccable. I always have some doubts if non-Asian chefs can make great Asian food. I can tell you that they know how to provide punches of flavours that reflect well Asian cuisine.

Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen
18B York Street
Ottawa, ON
K1N 5T5
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