Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Foods from Play Food and Wine

2009 Dec 22
Visited Play with some girls a couple of weekends ago. To say the least, I was less than impressed with the meal and evening itself.

One of the girls I was with got burnt crostini, and uncooked fish. Simple mistakes that can be avoided, but probably came out an overly busy kitchen. Not an excuse though.

I had the gnocchi and cheese plates which were so-so. The gnocchi was flavourful, but I have made something similar at home which IMO was tastier than the 6 pieces they gave me.

I know it is small plates, but it is hard to share when there are so many people at one table. So it seems everyone just orders one or two items which leaves one wanting more.

The wine pairing seems to be the best thing about this restaurant.

I would not choose to go back on my own, but may be swayed to go back as many of my friends really enjoy this place. Perhaps next time a smaller more intimate group of two or three friends.

2009 Dec 7
I got the braised rabbit pasta with raisins, mushrooms and almonds; the raisins caught me off-guard at first but after another mouthful, I decided it made the dish even more delicious. The sauce was so tasty I had to sop the remainder of it with some bread; my plate was completely spotless by the end of our meal :D

2009 Dec 7
Dropping by Play after work is a habit that I've realized I should definitely develop. A friend and I stopped in for drinks and a little snack last week before diving into our Christmas shopping and we agreed it was probably the best part of the night. We arrived a tad bit early since the kitchens didn't open until 5:30 but with tasty drinks and good company (and watching sugar carmelize on top of an apple slice with a mini torch!), time flew. We both weren't too hungry so we only order one plate each. My friend got the salmon gravlax and thought it was really good ... until she tried my plate (below) and had to say, mine was even better :)

2009 Nov 26
Went to Play for dinner tonight, again. My husband and I actually average one dinner a month to Play, and the visits usually coincide with their menu changes. We had:

*Mixed charcuterie plate - this is excellent. I actually prefer it over murray street's, and the pork rillette is to die for.
*Crispy chicken "wings" - These were EXCELLENT. Like run there and order these immediately, only if you can handle the heat. Boneless drumsticks, in an anise breading, with a sweet chili sauce and homemade kimchi on the side. I am not doing it any justice here, just go try it!
*Braised rabbit pasta - my husband had this, it was excellent with a raisin sauce, he certainly enjoyed it.
*Hanger steak - my husband always order this. Always. He says it is the best steak he's ever ordered in a restaurant, and he knows his beef.
*2 Sundaes

This is where this restaurant really stands out. My husband ordered a sundae for dessert, since he normally just has a steak for "dessert." The sous chef for the night, Darren, jokingly said that he could put some meat in the sundae. I said he should put bacon in it! His face became very serious, and he said he could caramelize some bacon in 30 seconds if my husband wanted. And he did, and it was delicious.

As always, the staff and service are excellent, and going to Play is always a lot of fun.

2009 Oct 7
Love the concept. Based on one lunch and one dinner - Service is excellent, food was generally very good (all prepared and cooked to perfection, but some dishes left more of an impression than others). Wine offerings were great. I love the way they've priced the wines to allow you to experiment without breaking the budget (or getting too trashed!). Definitely lives up to its name as a place to play and have fun with different flavours.

2009 Aug 19
I tried Play for lunch. I only went once, on a Friday night, and thought the service was less than stellar. Fortunately for me, that was not the case this time.

I had lunch by myself, and was fussed over. Someone took away my umbrella, a server was with me within minutes, bread was given more freely.

I tried the following :

- Yes tea : bridgehead iced green tea - Lemon syrup - Vanilla vodka. This was actually my only deception. It was very, very light. Almost tasteless. And I'm thinking they might have forgotten the vodka. It was like drinking flavored water. Kudos for the serving, though. It was huge. I'm thinking the tea wasn't steeped enough.

- Corn chowder - Cheddar Fritter - Cilantro Oil. This chowder was delicious. Nice flavor, good consistency, and the fritter...Two fritters were in the bowl. One was an empty cheddar shell. Very tasty. But the other one was filled with cheddar. Mixed with the chowder, it made for one VERY tasty bite. I could have easily eaten 3 or 4 of these.

- shrimp salad - buttermilk ginger dressing - sesame - soy. This was a nice serving, but a little steep for $12. Three nice sized shrimps, served on green beans and red peppers, sprinkled with sesame. The dressing was very fresh, and coated all the veggies. I think it would have been nice if the shrimps had been coated as well, they felt a little flavorless in contrast with the veggies. Still very solid food though.

I had a pavlova for dessert, which had marinated berries, and cardamom cream. The cardamon cream was an interesting take, and was a little strong by itself, but mixed in with the meringue, it was delicous.

Overall, this is not a value restaurant. With tip, the bill came to 40$ But food was top-notch.

Will be back to splurge once in awhile!

2009 Jul 19
So just to saturate the coverage of Play here on Ottawa Foodies, my wife and I came for dinner on Saturday evening. We were very pleased with the experience!

We shared the following:

* BC smoked buffalo charcuterie
* Scallops with cauliflower puree and chorizo
* Wild pickerel (yes, with samphire!)
* Hanger steak with frites
* Malted milkshake with brownie bites

Service was perfect for the atmosphere of the place -- polite and attentive but without any formal pretense. We were subject to an unusually long delay of over half an hour between finishing the scallops and pickerel and receiving our steak dish, which our server recognized and apologized for. My only real complaint is that bread was not in plentiful supply -- one slice per person at the start of the meal followed by a second offered as a special favour towards the end of our extended wait for the steak. A petty complaint, but one that came to mind during the meal.

The smoked buffalo was exceptional! Very salty and quite smokey, it tasted like a hybrid between Bündnderfleisch (Bindenfleisch) and Rookvlees (Horse Meat).

The scallops were perfectly done with no hint of astringency. The chorizo was also excellent, although one risks overwhelming the delicate scallop if eating them together. Best to enjoy the scallops with the buttery cauliflower puree and then the chorizo in a separate bite!

The pickerel was succulent and moist with a delightfully crisp skin. Its mild flavour married well with the pesto and zucchini that graced the plate. The samphire was awesome and brought a smile to my face. (Thanks, Mike, for the tip on your supplier!)

The hanger steak was small but truly wonderful. It was beautifully red in the center yet somehow as tender as a slow-cooked pot roast. I have no idea how to replicate that at home -- the secret must be in the marinade because hanger steaks tend towards toughness. The frites were nice and crispy but many would find them to be over-seasoned (this was likely something that varies with each batch). I'm not a big aïoli person, but you sort of needed it to buffer the saltiness of the frites.

For dessert, we shared the malted milkshake with brownie bites. Wifey found the brownie bites to be dryish (I thought they were fine), but we both agreed that this milkshake wasn't up to the level of everything else we'd enjoyed. It was full of ice crystals and the flavour was unremarkable. It wasn't *bad* in any way, but it was good in the way a Wendy's "frosted dairy dessert" is good. To be fair, the excellent and special savoury dishes preceding dessert set the bar very high. We did see a lot of pavlovas making their way out of the kitchen. Next time! (I really wanted the Honey Pot de Creme but it was not on the menu.)

Wifey said her decaf cappuccino was excellent and I very much enjoyed my glass of Bon Courage 2006 Shiraz, which I found to have a fantastic blueberryish flavour.

Worthy of note: all four savoury dishes and my wine were ordered based on the recommendations of people here on OttawaFoodies. They were all hits! This is exactly how I'd hoped the site would work... "I'm going to Restaurant X, what should I order there?" Thanks for your advice everyone, and nice work Mr Beckta and Mr Moffatt! :-)

2009 Jul 15
Hi everyone. We actually get our Samphire(or sea asparagus) from Christophe Marineau at Le Coprin. Many of you will recognize the name as he supplies the city's best mushrooms. I'm sure he would be more than willing to answer any questions and take requests.



2009 Jul 12
Yeah, it's pretty salty if you have it on its own (but deliciously salty, not nauseatingly salty).

Shame you weren't downstairs with the cool kids! We got to see all manner of cars get inspected before being permitted entry into the US Embassy. Dinner and a show: how about that?

2009 Jul 12
We were at Play too last night Momo, and we were sitting at the chef's bar upstairs. My husband inquired as to the "sea asparagus" as well, and we were given some to try... wooeee, it was certainly salty. It apparently grows along the banks of the St. Lawrence, and that is where they source it from. If you go ask one of the chefs, I'm sure they would tell you their source.

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2009 Nov 26
Play's sommelier, Grayson, is the nicest guy. He always goes the extra mile to make us feel welcome, and is extremely adept at providing excellent wine suggestions. He's also quite the comedian, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Wine 3



Dessert 1



2014 May 9
I had the mini baked alaska a few weeks back, which apparently was on the menu quite some time ago. Glad they brought it back. It was the best dessert I've had at a restaurant in recent memory. Chocolate base with After 8 gelato and covered in a soft and sticky peppermint meringue.

2011 Oct 18
Their creme brulee is basically their signature dish, though it changes with the seasons. The first two times that I went to Play, it was an earl grey creme brulee, and I scraped the ramekin down each time. I've since tried the lavender one...another one...and a cinnamon creme brulee with poached pears. Each was magnificent.

2011 Oct 15
I had the lavender crème brûlée here a few months ago, and honestly... I still dream about it. I'm not even a huge crème brûlée fan, nor even a lover of lavender, but it was FANTASTIC! The flavours were perfectly paired, the dessert itself was creamy and light. GET IT!!!

2009 Jul 13
My friend's pavlova. I tried some and thought it was excellent!

2009 Jul 13
The cookies I ordered for dessert. They were good, but I prefer crispy-chewy cookies. These were very shortbread-y. As Fresh Foodie always says "my problem, not theirs" :)

From left to right - lemon poppyseed, chocolate chunk, lemon sugar.

I'm a big chocoholic as well so wouldn't have complained if there were more chocolate chunks in the chocolate chunk one ;)