I am participating in National Blog Posting Month: 30 posts in 30 days. Good God.
The first time we went to the Back Lane Cafe was about a month and a half ago. We had been out for the evening with another couple seeing a play at the Great Canadian Theatre Company and wanted to go out for a relaxed post-theatre drink and chat. We were on the hunt for an au courant resto-bar where we could get a good drink and nibblies. Usually we just head over to the Wood after we see a play, but we wanted to try something different, and had heard about the Back Lane Cafe.
By the time we arrived that night, we were told that the kitchen was closed but that we were welcome to come in for a drink. It was well past nine o’clock at this point (and maybe even well past ten o’clock), so the guys got a beer and the women had wine. And the restaurant graciously let us pick a couple of things from the dessert menu to try – even though their kitchen was closed.
You might have recently heard that the Jock and I recently celebrated our (lucky) 13th wedding anniversary. Although we couldn’t get some time out together on our actual anniversary, we planned for a return to the Back Lane Cafe to try their food menu. So this past Tuesday night was the date!
I had almost deluded myself into thinking that we could just saunter in for dinner on a Tuesday night, but with Back Lane Cafe being in the ‘restaurant spotlight’ in the November/December issue of Ottawa Magazine, I decided to call ahead and book a table. It was a good thing we did. The restaurant was full and buzzing. Taking our seats at a ‘high table’ the Jock and I were struck by the homey, kitchen-type atmosphere of the restaurant. Although not a large restaurant, there are neat little places to sit, including a welcoming bar. We liked sitting at the ‘high table’ because we had a nice view of the whole scene and what was going on.
Unfortunately for this cocktail blogger, the Back Lane does not have a cocktail list. Our server asked if there was something specific I’d like them to mix up (and a quick look over her shoulder revealed to me a well stocked bar that could handle whatever I threw their way), but I decided to have a glass of wine since this is what they clearly their focus. I sipped on a glass of Cava Rose. The Jock had a pint of Granville Pale Ale, which we have yet to find on draught in Ottawa. He was very happy.
One of the most very special things about this restaurant is the wood-fired ovens. A good part of the menu is cooked using the wood fired oven (allegedly, there are two – one for pizza, one for everything else), so the Jock and I each decided to eat something straight out of the oven. I had the Melanzana pizza (with eggplant, ricotta cheese and walnuts) while the Jock went full out for the steak. Both were delicious, and the pizza crust was practically perfect in every way. The menu was diverse (steak, lamb shank, fisherman’s stew) with decent options for both carnivores and vegetarians.
There’s not many more details I can give you about dinner as I was kind of – er, trying to get to dessert. As I mentioned above, the first time I was at the Back Lane Cafe I did get to sample the dessert menu, and had a honey glazed fresh yeast doughnut with ice cream. This dessert had me totally distracted for my entire meal – especially as (being at the ‘high table’) I could see plate after plate of these babies coming out of the kitchen!
If you eat at the Back Lane Cafe and don’t eat one of these doughnuts, just lie to me and tell me that you did.
The verdict: a comfy place to get a good dinner! Have you been yet?
You can read a Back Lane Cafe review here by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about and qualified to do restaurant reviews!
The Back Lane Cafe is located at 1087 Wellington St.
You can phone them at 613.695.2999.
On the Twitter: @BackLaneCafe
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