Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Todrics was our favourite 'non-greasy-spoon' brunch venue up until just recently when we discovered the delights of the brunch menu at the Courtyard Restaurant in the Byward Market. We have breakfasted here twice in 3 weeks, the first was for my birthday and then again just this last Sunday.
Firstly, I follow the foodie scene a bit in Ottawa from the comfort of my Twitter feed so I know that the Chef, Michael Hay, is an avid tweeter who even asks for suggestions about his menu and food etc. - I really like that attitude to food - it says, "the food I cook is for you, how can I make it better".
Anyway, back to the food.....no, stop....there is something else here before we even ate a morsel that we all liked - the staff here seem to actually enjoy working here - bloody hell! That is so rare nowadays, they were all lovely, attentive without bugging us, requests were met with swift service even though they may have been serving a table of 8 at the time. Top marks for the wait staff.
My birthday brunch was the first time we'd been here so I always have to have the one dish that allows me to 'judge' for myself the standards (a bit like ordering a chicken madras at an indian restaurant), so I had the benny!
Really good! With a great rosti/hash and lovely compressed (is this dehydrated?) fruit. The coffee is endless and good and we all also got a brunch 'amuse buche' which consisted of a small scone and a compote or preserve. I'm english so I'm afraid the scone didn't do it for me, a little too dry. I liked the idea and the thought though.
We had a vegetarian with us the first time and she ordered the dish with the chorizo in it which she gave away and wow - what do they do to that chorizo? It was the BEST chorizo I've ever tasted - and I lived in Spain for 4 years!
The portions are not huge, if you want a 'truckers' don't come here - but it's enough. Brunch fine dining at it's best and at a very reasonable price.
This last Sunday we returned to sample more from the imaginative menu and 2 dishes topped even the 'benny' and the lovely 'ranchero'; the french toast is a 'step' of bread with fruit chutney and smoked bacon and was enthusiastically devoured even though it was thought it may not fit in said stomach!
I had the southern fried steak but as it doesn't come with egg I ordered a couple poached eggs with it. Someone else had this in it's sans egg form and said it would be better with an egg or two. I have to say that I'm no fan of 'steak and eggs' but this steak was cooked to perfection and had the best coating, a lovely adobe (?) hot sauce and stacked on some greens. With the 2 poached eggs this is the best breakfast I've had in a very long time.
I'm/we're a fan of the Courtyard; Mr Hay and staff - well done!