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Fauna Food + Bar
Hintonburg/ Preston/ Chinatown
Foods from Bar Laurel
Rickie Lee Jonesin
First post for this user
2016 Nov 25
My partner and I dined here recently and sampled a number of their offerings, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the experience.
We had reservations on a Thursday evening and arrived a few minutes early. The place was packed so we had to wait next to the bar. We waited for 20-25 minutes before they were able to seat us. We were given some sparkling wine to keep us appeased as we waited for our table. We were pretty excited to try this place, so the wait didn't really bother us, but the wine was a nice touch nonetheless.
The wine list is fairly extensive and is populated largely by Spanish wines that we were not particularly familiar with. Our server helped us choose a bottle of red that would work with the breadth of dishes we were planning to order, and we were quite pleased with the selection. (I wish I could remember what we ordered but I cannot recall.)
We ordered the Bellota di Iberico and were served this before the other plates. Served with fresh baguette, this thinly sliced ham is intensely flavourful. Salty and a bit smoky with amazing texture. It's pricy but worth trying (at least) once.
Next we received the lamb pinchos, carrot salad, and eggplant. The carrots were a mix of roasted and pickled, and were served with goat cheese, golden raisins, and (I believe) crunchy Manchego cheese. This was my favourite veggie dish by far. The lamb skewers were cooked perfectly - rare in the center but not bloody - and had really nice herb flavours. The eggplant was fried and crispy and served over a honey yogurt sauce. I really liked the way the eggplant and lamb plates went with each other.
Our last plating included the patatas bravas, grilled octopus, and piquilloa rellenas (stuffed peppers). The peppers were our favourite of this trio. Stuffed with chorizo and manchego, these things are amazing and I'd gladly eat of few plates of these as a meal. The patatas bravas were crispy and saucy and paired nicely with the other dishes. The octopus was tender and nicely seasoned, and served on some sort of blood sausage. Not quite as tender as the octopus at the Whalesbone on Elgin, this is tasty dish nonetheless.
All in all, we had a great experience at Bar Laurel. Looking forward to going back to try more dishes.
2016 Oct 2
Countless wonderful visits to Portugal and two trips to Spain (Galicia and Catalonia) made us rather excited to try Ottawa's newest Iberian restaurant. Bar Laurel specializes in the cuisine of Northern Spain, especially that of the lovely Basque region.
The wine list is large, with many offered by the glass. Even though Spanish reds (Tempranillo and Garnacha) have become my go-to wines for purchase, I opted to check out the extensive regionally influenced cocktail list instead. Also worthy of note: a huge selection of Sherries and a healthy list of draught and bottled beers.
Here's what we ordered...
Cocktails (top right in pic):
Cobbled on the Grapevine
($12) - My wife enjoyed this white Sherry (Tio Pepe Fino) based cocktail, with bitter almond and sparkling wine.
($12) - Bourbon, Solera 1847, stone fruit, citrus, and baby basil. This had brilliant depth and would thrill any lover of whisky cocktails.
Snacks (top left in pic):
($4) - Beautiful baguette, thin sliced and served with a dunk of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.
($12) - Huge portion of delicious olives, garnished with jamón serrano, thin Manchego, and served with delicate crostini dusted with powdered olive oil.
($6) - Perfectly fried potato cubes with lovely aioli and mild "brava" sauce. Pretty sure these were tastier and of better quality than the ones we had everywhere in Barcelona!
($6, bottom left) - Wikipedia says Shishito peppers are pretty much the same as Galicia's regionally famous pimientos de Padrón. As served at Bar Laurel, these lovelies are perfectly blistered and addictively seasoned. While roughly 10% are supposed to be spicy, I've yet to encounter one with noticeable heat. Granted, my meal at Bar Laurel was only the 3rd time I've had these peppers. Must research more! ;-)
($18, not pictured) - Beautiful and tasty charred octopus tentacle, served on a bed of fennel and other stuff, this was the only bomb of the evening. My wife is a huge fan of octopus and we always make a point of ordering it. Like at so many other places, this octopus tasted good but was chewy. Tender octopus isn't an easy objective but it should be a given when a small portion costs 18 bucks.
Secreto de Iberico
($18, right center) - Another pricy dish containing 4 small cubes of the famously tender and flavourful Iberian black pork. Now, if you've never tasted this incredible pork you're in for a huge treat. We're used to paying Portuguese prices for this stuff and $18 seems high, but we wouldn't know where to buy the raw meat in Ottawa and it's a lot cheaper than a plane ticket. Highly recommended if you want to see just how great pork can taste!
($12, bottom center) - Unlike the savoury dishes, which are presented quite simply, the desserts are complex constructions containing complementary components. My cheesecake was astounding. Rich and tender, mounted on a graham base and topped with a thin layer of hazelnut, garnished with pressed melon and the world's most addictive salty-sweet toasted coconut crumb.
($12, bottom right) - My wife's mousse made her very happy. Decadent but not heavy, garnished with grilled peach, candied almonds, marinated pear, and a bunch of other stuff. Definitely get dessert here!
All in all a lovely dinner. Go check it out!
2016 Aug 31
Exotic mushroom tapas on left (meh), Chirozo stuffed piquillo peppers center (excellent) and croquettes right (decent bit not spectacular). The peppers were my favourite of the 3...
2016 Aug 31
Abondigas - Beef meatballs
2016 Aug 30
2016 Aug 30
Thanks again to the organizers for setting this up. This was my first visit to Bar Laurel. I'm looking forward to going back and trying more dishes.
I only took a few pictures. Top left is the wood ear mushroom dish from Carben. Top right is the patatas bravas from Bar Laurel, and bottom is the burrata with tomatoes from Bar Laurel.
Fans of Bar Laurel
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