Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mowing down on tasty brunch dishes

Sorry for the long hiatus - I've been tired and sick and generally OVER winter, so not very inspired, but I have a big backlog of photos and entries to get up, so look for those this week.

Anyway, my Dad was in town last month for work meetings while my mom was still here looking after my grandma. He arrived on a Saturday, and Sunday morning we all met up for brunch – my folks, my sister, her husband, his son K, and the two of us. After some discussion about places to eat, my sister came up with a short list that included the Barley Mow in old Ottawa South. Chris and I have eaten there a number of times and have always been very, very impressed with the quality of this pub’s food. It doesn’t have aspirations to “gastropub” status; what it does well is traditional pub food and brunch dishes both basic and sexy. Think breakfast special, but also six ways with eggs Benedict; plain Belgian waffles, but also banana-walnut French toast. It’s quite the lengthy and varied brunch menu, in fact, which made it tough for us to choose what to eat.

The other great, great thing about brunch at the Mow: they take reservations. Are you listening, the other zillion places in Ottawa that make brunch-goers wait in endless lines when we’re already starving and possibly hung over? We were able to reserve a sunny corner of the pub for the seven of us, and the moment Chris and I arrived they asked if we needed any kids’ menus – the place is seriously family-friendly. One of the other children in the pub spent several minutes doing baby yoga on the floor, in fact, and no one batted an eyelash. K was right at home with his covered and straw-ed cup of juice, kid-sized waffle and bacon served on a vintage melamine Hot Wheels Plate, and paper menu that included a colouring page.

After a few moments’ perusal, I realized I was definitely drawn to the breakfast burritos, especially given that they came with both baked beans AND the Mow’s spectacular home fries. (This place has a serious way with potatoes, I must say – their house-made “chippers” are the best bar snack ever.) I was not disappointed – my two flour tortillas housed a gorgeous mixture of soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, salsa and hot peppers, decorated with chopped Roma tomato and a dollop of great guacamole. Neither the beans nor the homefries disappointed. My square white plate was clean when I finished with it.

Chris also diverged from his usual suspects, choosing the omelette filled with wild mushroom ragu and goat cheese. I didn’t try it, but it was fluffy and fat and came with more of those stunning, spiced, fried potatoes. He was thrilled.

Other delicious offerings included the aforementioned French toast, which my Dad ordered. They had to sub strawberries, as they had run out of bananas, but he enjoyed it anyway.

J ordered the daily quiche – I’m not a massive quiche fan, but I tried a bite and it was lovely, with mushrooms, green onion and cheese.

D went carb-loaded and got the omelette with mashed potato in the filling, among other things. And my Mom loved her “classic” eggs Benedict, which came perched atop tea biscuits instead of the traditional English muffins.

The Mow has a wide range of juices (yay, Clamato) and specialty teas in addition to coffee and hot chocolate. The service was impeccable, and no one rushed us out the door – we were there for an hour and a half, all told, chatting and finishing each other’s potatoes. It was really a terrific way to start off Sunday – excellent food and people I love. What on earth could be better?


Jen said...

We are totally coming back to Ottawa to visit this restaurant... I mean, visit you two! ;)

Dad said...

Hey, it's almost worth the airfare from Brazil, where neither brunch isn't anywhere near as interesting and yummy. OK, they make good scrambled eggs, but....

Three cheers for the Mow!!!