ONE OF OTTAWA'S EXCELLENT little bistros has just undergone a delicious facelift. Located on Holland Avenue, only a stone's throw from the new home of the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Allium's clean, contemporary new look sees the small space flooded with warmth and light.
It's all thanks to a complete overhaul which included replacing flooring, removing a wall and refreshing the washrooms. Allium is now dressed with stainless steel ceiling fans, new lighting and a poured-concrete bar, with an increased seating capacity for 68. With the wall down, the elevated area at the back of the restaurant now offers a nice sightline throughout the cozy space. "We've had a very busy five years so things were starting to look a little worn," says Chef Arup Jana. "I wanted a cleaner look so it was fun to work with our contractor on the design and to update everything. The response from customers has been great."
While the renovation is turning heads, so too are Chef Jana's exceptional efforts in the kitchen as he continues to cleverly merge Canadian cuisine and classic French techniques. His passion for the freshest local ingredients is translated into a menu which changes monthly and is always composed of unique and delicious dishes that showcase the finest seasonal elements.
The Monday evening Tapas menu, updated weekly, is particularly delightful. On your visit you might find some of my favourites: crab cakes; mini steak-frites; seared white tuna; or mushroom tagliatelle. The lunch and dinner menus for this season will highlight all the wonderful local produce that's available, including squashes, potatoes and grain-fed beef. Here's a tip for when you visit Allium: save room for dessert - the Banoffee Pie and Crème Brûlée are worth every decadent bite! — Written by Paula Roy