Full service restaurant and adjacent coffee/snack bar.

Jackson Café
Foods from Jackson Café


Oct 29
Last Friday, wifey and I had a most enjoyable lunch at this unique new restaurant perched alongside the Ottawa Art Gallery's lobby. Here's the rundown:

* Focaccia ($6) - with melted ghee, coarse sea salt. [top right]
* Squash ($14) - with halloumi, pumpkin spice hummus, pomegranate arils. [top left]
* Trout ($18) - with leeks, ginger, sesame. [bottom left]
* Soba ($14) - with napa cabbage, candied peanuts, Thai basil.
* Churros ($9) - with chili chocolate fondue, salted caramel. [bottom right]
* Crème Brûlée ($9) - with orange blossom.

My favourite dishes were the Focaccia (so perfectly chewy-crisp and the ghee was utterly unnecessary) and the Churros.

The Churros deserve a paragraph of their own. Three stubby fritters sprinkled with cinnamon sugar would have been nice enough on their own but these were over the top with not one but two addictive sauces! I kept dipping my spoon into the spicy chocolate chili fondue because it was awesome. As for the salty caramel sauce, it was so incredible with the churros that I found myself attempting to prolong my bliss by dredging consecutively smaller and smaller pieces of churro in it. Alas, it was gone all too soon.

The Squash dish was beautiful and felt very seasonal. The pumpkin spice hummus lended an interesting Autumnal touch and the somewhat scant halloumi gave it a little substance.

I found the Soba dish to be far too plain, as the wide cabbage slices were raw and uninteresting, and the Thai basil was not in great supply. This bowl screamed out for some fresh chilis but it had not even a hint of heat. My wife quite liked it however, so you might enjoy it too.

The Trout was pretty good. Perfectly browned skin, nicely cooked fish, and a bed of leeks and pulses to make it nice.

The Crème Brûlée was perfect, although you'd better like floral flavours as the orange blossom component is quite pronounced.

I feel the need to rant about one thing: SHARING PLATES. Our server made it very clear that the entire menu is meant for sharing. But the manner in which many of these dishes are served does not lend itself to sharing at all. We managed to saw through the small bit of trout without mangling it too much, but I can't imagine attempting that manouver with anyone other than an immediate family member.

The other dishes were no easier to split. Try sharing a bowl of noodles and candied peanuts with someone when you each have only a fork and a knife.

We felt really bad for a nearby table of three engaged in what looked like a business lunch. Come on, sharing plates restaurants... if you think your food is good enough to share then at least give us serving utensils. Or chopsticks!

Once again, this was an excellent lunch. But it did awaken my sharing-plates-peeve-monster.