Many people have been taking a fresh look at Oz KafĂ© recently â€" ever since the Elgin Street eateryâ€™s chef, Jamie Stunt, captured the top prize at Ottawaâ€™s Gold Medal Plates competition in November. Owner Ozlem Balpinar is delighted by her talented kitchen brigadeâ€™s success, as is the growing base of loyal customers who appreciate excellent food served up in the casual, fun environment of â€¨Oz KafĂ©.
â€śOur success at Gold Medal Plates has definitely had a positive impact,â€ť says Jamie. â€śThe restaurant is busier, for sure, and more people are interested in trying specials prepared with yak meat, because thatâ€™s what we won with at the competition.â€ť
With the assistance of the equally capable sous chef, Simon Bell, Jamie enjoys having the opportunity to constantly fashion new dishes and at least half the menu changes daily. Mainstays include the most popular items, such as Steak & Caesar (cast-iron seared, thick-cut sirloin with Caesar Salad â€" featuring Ozâ€™s famous caper popcorn â€" and smoked mashed potatoes), and Seoul Food (Korean-style barbeque Oâ€™Brien Farms beef sirloin). Another best-seller embodies the essence of comfort which is at the heart of Ozâ€™s atmosphere and ethos: Cheese Dreams, featuring Balderson old cheddar melted over homemade bacon on baguette. Salads are inventive and flavourful â€" the grilled pear and warm beet versions are particularly pleasing.