Bonomo Ristorante in Burnham on Sea – Molto Buono!

Bonomo Ristorante

On a recent trip to the UK, we found ourselves in the unassuming little seaside town of Burnham on Sea in Somerset. One of its biggest claims to fame is that it has the smallest pier! It was the same day that we had stopped at a motorway services en route from Gatwick airport for a traditional English breakfast. Although we had put lunch off as long as was reasonably possible in order to regain at least a little appetite, neither Dorothy nor myself was really ready for another meal. Anne, Dorothy’s aunt was our gracious hostess and had selected Bonomo Ristorante as the spot to grab a bite. I must admit that it seemed a little strange to be going into a place so obviously Italian in a place quite so typically British!

Daily SpecialsAlthough it was towards the end of lunch hour, we did not expect the restaurant to be quite as empty as it was. As far as we could ascertain, there was only one couple other than ourselves. We were greeted amiably and our hostess recognised Anne from a recent previous visit. To get an idea of the type of fare offered, as well as price points, we have included the specials board which you can enlarge by clicking on it. As it subsequently turned out, none of us opted for anything from this list.

Zucchini SaladAs previously mentioned, neither Dorothy nor I was ready for a complete meal, so Dorothy ordered a zucchini salad and I ordered shrimp and pasta. Anne surprised us by ordering a pizza. It did not seem likely to me that she would be able to do justice to it either.

As we might well have expected, the food was not too long in coming and we were happy to see that the North American portion size has not yet permeated to this relatively remote area of  Somerset. Dorothy’s salad was attractively arranged and very much to her liking.

Shrimp Pasta

For my part, although the portion was still larger than I might have hoped for, I did manage to finish it since it was simply too good to waste. One of the more pleasant aspects of the meal was chatting with the owners, our hostess and her husband, the chef, who sallied forth from the kitchen to ensure that we were satisfied with our meals. Anne was good-naturedly chided for only eating about one sixth of her pizza but was entreated to take the balance home with her.

Although our sampling was not a big one, based on our visit, I would have no qualms recommending Bonomo Ristorante to anyone who happens to be in the area.

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Motorway Madness or British Breakfast Bonanza? You decide!

Motorway Madness or Breakfast Bonanza?

Motorway Madness or Breakfast Bonanza?

Since we just recently posted a review of breakfast at John’s Quick Lunch in Westboro and we are just now getting around to finishing off an account of our recent trip to the U.K., this seemed like as good a time as any to add to our Gastronomic Guide to the South of England (albeit a very abridged version!). We had just dropped Christa, our daughter and Mik, our son-in-law off at Gatwick to take their flights back to the continent and had set off once again on the dreaded M25 London ring road. We were heading for Somerset where one of Dorothy’s aunts lives. We were both relatively hungry and so once we had left the M25 behind us we looked for somewhere to eat breakfast.

I am not sure that I fully understand exactly how it functions, but it has become apparent to me that there is a worldwide conspiracy that makes motorway food 50% more expensive than the same fare served in more civilised surroundings. Is it because they have a captive customer base? Perhaps, but I tend to believe that some evil force derives immense pleasure from seeing the lemmings line up to pay top dollar for lower than bottom quality food.

This particular day, it looked like the malevolent entity had slipped up! While making a necessary bathroom stop, we happened upon the signage that you see at the top of this post. The first thing to note is that the prices in £’s are just about what one might expect them to be in $’s in North America! Our recent breakfast at John’s had been around $6 as I recall! We were both in the mood for a good old-fashioned British Brekky! Not wishing to be greedy, we opted for the £5.99 deal.

English Breakfast, French Coffee!

English Breakfast, French Coffee!

The first thing that you may notice here is that the breakfast that we actually received only marginally resembles the one shown in the picture above. It contains all the same ingredients but the presentation is definitely lacking the same visual appeal. If you check out the picture of John’s breakfast in our previous post, you will see that there is a huge difference. That one major gripe aside, ths was, in fact, a pretty good meal. The bread under the egg is actually fried bread, something typically British and largely eschewed in North America. The bacon hidden underneath is called back bacon and is NOT cooked to a crisp as it would be here in Canada. Personally, I much prefer it that way, possibly because I AM a Brit and was brought up on it. The baked beans reminded me how different things can be between continents even when they are visually so similar. British beans, even though they may be Heinz are much lighter in colour and their sauce is thinner and less sweet. Over the years, I must admit that I have come to prefer the North American varieties. Still it is good to reminisce every now and again.

You may also notice that the coffee looks remarkably like a latte or café au lait. Indeed, this is another area where Britain has changed noticeably over the years. Not that it was impossible in the ’60s and ’70s just that it was not normal.  It is even served in a large French-style bowl/mug. The only slight downer was the cost at £3.75 per cup

All in all, in spite of the exorbitant price tag this breakfast was a pleasant experience.

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John’s Quick Lunch is best for Breakfast

John’s May not be slick but it’s usually Quick!

It’s Saturday in the AM, and we’re looking for a treat…
So we head to our friend Garey’s where John’s is just up the street

We want a full-blown breakfast – not one that’s sissy and lite!
And know that John and his son Tony will always treat us right!

With hot coffee fowing freely it’s the nicest place to meet..

If you happen to keep track of the locations of the majority of Ottawa eating establishments that we have reviewed here in the last few months, you will have surely noticed that the greatest preponderance of them are in the East End of the city! Not that this should be particularly surprising, since that also happens to be where we live!

[ad name=”URBNSPN_iFrame”]If you check out the Googlemap on the right and place your cursor over the tags, you can actually see the places we have visited. At any rate, this particular Saturday morning, we were taking our French visitors, Michel & Joëlle to eat a true Canadian breakfast along with our friend Garey.

Joëlle, in particular was feeling some trepidation since she was not wholely in favour of a breakfast that included eggs and meat. As many of you may well know, a typical French breakfast consists of bread or pastries with jam and a cereal bowl full of coffee to dunk them in. Our son in law, Mikaël had been introduced to John’s a few years ago now and had given his mother strict instructions that she was to try it out or face the consequences on her return to France. And thus we headed off for the far West….

John's Quick Lunch

Where we went: It seems that John’s is somewhat of an Ottawa institution. When we first started frequenting the restaurant, probably close to 10 years ago now, it was already well established, popular breakfast spot on Wellington between Holland and Island Park Drive. Like the entire area, John’s has had a significant face-lift in recent years and is now bright and airy where once it was cramped and somewhat dingy. Don’t get me wrong, it can still seem pretty packed many a morning as people wait in line for a spare table. In any event, on this particular day, we had no problem finding a nice sunny table out of the main throng.

Breakfast at John's

"I can't dunk my toast in that tiny cup!"

What we ordered: Of course, once installed, Michel & Joëlle could easily have opted for pancakes or French toast and thus kept within their norms, however, as you can see, to their credit, they took the plunge and ordered the breakfast special as did Garey, Dorothy and myself. When we go to John’s, we don’t usually bother even looking at the menu, since we already know what we are going to be ordering. 

John's breakfast specialWhat we got: They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I won’t bore you by trying to describe what you can clearly see. I will only say that although it’s obviously not haute cuisine, it IS one of the best breakfasts you will find for the price….


  • Positives: Decor much improved since renovations, owners and staff always friendly and attentive.
  • Negatives: Sometimes wait times for breakfast can be substantial!
  • Recommendation: If you are really hungry and looking for a reasonably-priced, full breakfast, give John’s a whirl!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Good
Price $$ Reasonable
Decor *** Café-Style
Service **** Above average
Overall Rating **** Recommended


John's Quick Lunch and Pizza on Urbanspoon

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Ok, it IS organic but at $3 per cup is it really fair trade?

We are regular visitors to the Mongolian Village Grill in the Gloucester Centre in Ottawa’s East End. You can see our previous review here. It remains one of our favourite Ottawa dining spots. However, a small but noticeable change caused me to wonder about how some restaurateurs choose to set their prices and whether this seriously affects their patrons’ overall dining experiences. The change was that there were smart new displays listing the various beverages available and their respective costs.

When I was in the cookware business many years ago, we had a saying: “The price is the price is the price!” Generally, it is the salesperson’s job to build the value in the customer’s perception until it exceeds the actual price. At this point, you would likely have a sale. Generally, I apply this maxim to my restaurant bills, which I tend not to examine too closely. I look at the total cost and relate that to our overall dining experience to determine how I feel about the value received for money laid out. On this basis, let me say that generally, the Mongolian Village Grill offers good value, provided you are careful with your food selection. After this recent visit, however, I must add a codicil regarding coffee and dessert.

The new tabletop display informed me that a simple cup of coffee was $3.00. Some may think this not unreasonable and our son Ian quipped that if it was organic, free-trade coffee, then the price was justified. As a matter of fact, the sign did indicate that it was indeed organic free-trade. Personally, this carries little weight with me. It is a choice of the restaurateur and should not affect the end price since the cost of the ground coffee is a small percentage of the end price. Generally, I do not drink coffee after a meal and therefore do not really pay attention to prices except at breakfast where I would normally expect to pay around $2.00 for a bottomless cup if it is not included in a special.

A discussion started at our table and some found the price not unreasonable others decided they would forgo it at that price. To put this in more perspective and relate it back to the Mongolian Village, the costs of the main course ranged from $8.50 to $21.00. I should mention that $8.50 was for Fayth who is only 4 years old. My own meal was $12.50. When you consider that this includes choice of soup, unlimited steamed rice and wraps, this is very reasonable. But a simple cup of coffee adds 20% extra to an average $15.00 entrée.

Now let’s talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: dessert! I often have dessert here because there are two that I particularly like: 1. Fruit-filled crêpes, 2. White chocolate truffle cake. The girls, Lara and Amber will usually share a serving of the chocolate lava cake. Also on offer are carrot cake and lemon meringue pie. My criticism here is that all are offered at a premium price of $6.00 each. This could perhaps be justified in the case of the crêpes, which require labour to put together, but the lemon meringue pie or carrot cake? Assuming that a large pie or cake wholesales for $12.00 and yields 10 – 12 portions, this represents a mark-up of 500 -600% . I have nothing against profit per se but this definitely falls into the excessive column in my book.

If you are the kind of patron who likes coffee and dessert with your meal, at The Mongolian Village Grill, it is going to inflate your bill to the tune of $9.00 per person and add 30 – 50% to the total cost of the evening. Personally, I do not find this the sweetest way to end a meal!

Mongolian Village on Urbanspoon


Cauliflower Cheese, a great replacement for mac’n’cheese!

Cauliflower Cheese

Many meals claim to be ready in 5 minutes, this one delivers!

Last Sunday, Dorothy came home with a delicious-looking head of cauliflower. From the second that I laid eyes on it, I knew what its fate was to be. Now I will be the first to admit that I do not find the thought of being a vegetarian particularly appealing. I like meat! However, this is a meal that goes a long way to persuading me that I could make the switch if I had to. Apart from being extremely fast and simple to prepare, it is also filling, nutritious and delicious!

This is one of those recipes that I have retained from my early childhood and is included in our upcoming Un-Cookbook. The only real modifications that have occurred over time are twofold: 1. I no longer cook my cauliflower on the stove-top, since the microwave is faster, creates less heat and uses less electricity. As an additional benefit, there is little or no loss of nutrients. 2. In my childhood, regular cheddar cheese was just about the only type of cheese that was ever on hand in the kitchen. Today, we typically have 3 or 4 different cheeses in the fridge.

Below is our Un-recipe. If you followed our link above, you will already know that I do not use recipes and therefore cannot give exact amounts, since I usually improvise. That being said, I recognise that not everybody is comfortable with winging it, so I have attempted to add quantity guidelines. Please recognise that they are only that!

The Ingredients: All you need is cauliflower, cheese, milk, flour or cornstarch and seasonings.

Method: Break or cut the cauliflower into flowerettes (see picture above). Mix the flour or cornstarch (approx 1tbsp per 6oz of milk) with a little of the milk to make a paste. Then add the remainder of the milk and stir till well mixed. Place over a low-to-medium heat and stir in one cup of grated cheese(s). Add your desired seasonings. Personally, I added some Trinidad Green Seasoning  and Barbadian Hotsauce as well as a little fresh-ground pepper. Bring this mixture slowly to the boil stirring frequently. While the sauce is cooking, place the cauliflower in the microwave. I prefer not to give fixed cooking guidelines here since all microwaves are different. For me, 3 minutes on high leaves 2 servings of vegetable still slightly crisp as we like it.

Arrange the cooked cauliflower on a plate and pour the sauce over the top. Served with fresh, crusty bread, no-one should feel the need for meat!

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Rideau Carleton Raceway Buffet is usually a good bet!

Rideau Carleton Raceway

The dining lounge at the Rideau Carleton Raceway is one of Ottawa's best kept secrets!

You can always be a winner if you just go here for dinner!

When you visit Rideau Carleton, the bank won’t be beat!

So save a few pennies then at least you can eat

The buffet is quite good and won’t break the bank!
Way above average, if not quite Top Rank…

And as a sweet ending, the dessert table’s a treat..

Unfortunately, when we are our usual Supper Seven, the buffet at the Rideau Carleton Raceway dining lounge is off-limits due to the fact that you must be 18 years or older to enter the casino. Although the Racetrack off Albion road in Gloucester is a popular destination, many people appear to be ignorant of its restaurant facilities. We were surprised to discover, for instance that until we corrected the omission, one of  the most popular restaurant review sites, Urbanspoon, did not even list the facility. Personally, I am not much of a gambler and thus my main interest in visiting this particular venue is to partake of the buffet. If you do like to gamble, especially on the horses, I would recommend visiting on a race night where you can dine and gamble right from your table since the restaurant overlooks the racetrack and you can place bets with cashiers who come right to the table. 

Where we went: Our 3 young friends, Amber, Lara and Fayth were not going to be joining us this particular Friday since Amber and Lara had been away at summer camp. We decided to take advantage of the situation to make a rare visit to Rideau Carleton. One of the disadvantages, for us at least, is that it takes the better part of half an hour to make the journey so far South off Bank Street.

Rideau Carleton Raceway buffetWhat we ordered: Although I believe it is possible to order à la carte, we have never done so. We come here specifically for the buffet. Most of the usual dishes are on offer plus a few that are usually reserved for more exotic and pricier venues. Roast beef, sauteed shrimp and barbecued ribs seem to be mainstays. 

Sample plate from the buffetWhat we got: One of the reasons that I am not a huge fan of buffets is that I am not a voracious eater. I can usually only manage a single plate of food at one sitting. What you see pictured here was the sum total of my intake other than a few sauteed shrimp that were not available on my first round. On the whole, the food is well prepared, not overcooked and not laced with sugar as with most Chinese buffets. It is hard to obtain a piece of rare beef though and some of the other hot dishes were somewhat over-sauced.

Dessert table at the Rideau Carleton BuffetMy personal favourite part of this particular buffet though, is the dessert table. It seems that most, if not all the offerings are baked on the premises and the trifle in particular is delicious. A large part of the reason that I only take one plate of main course is to leave a substantial amount of space for dessert. I recommend checking it out in advance so you will know just how much space to leave 😉

Worthy of note: If you have a casino players card and you obtain a coupon from a cashier, you can eat breakfast here for just $1.99. Early in the week on non-race nights, you can eat the same buffet that costs $19.99 on week-ends and race nights for just $9.99.


  • Positives: Good food for a fair price. You can make an entire evening by combining racing or slots with supper. Our server had a good sense of humour.
  • Negatives: No children allowed. I must admit that for some this would go in the positive column… 
  • Recommendation: For all but the most fastidious of diners, this is worth the longish trek from downtown Ottawa .
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Good
Price $$ Good value
Decor *** Racetrack
Service *** Above average
Overall Rating **** Recommended


Rideau Carleton Raceway Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Rideau Carleton Raceway on Restaurantica


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Fraser Café lives up to expectations

Fraser Café, New Edinburgh, Ottawa

If you’ve got the time, Fraser’s a great place to Dine!

Fraser’s Café is the Un-Chef’s kind of place,
Fairly relaxed, definitely not in-your-face

We urge you to try the chef’s daily surprise,
A feast for your taste buds AND your eyes….

If cafés were cards, then Fraser’s an ace!

Sometimes, the best dining experiences come when they are not planned! So it was that on a recent Thursday evening, we had just dropped our son off at Pub Italia on Preston Street and had an appointment for coffee and dessert with friends in Beacon Hill. The problem was that we had not yet eaten supper and had no time to go back home and cook. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I had recently added Fraser Café to my wish-list of places to eat and being located on Springfield Road in New Edinburgh in Ottawa’s East End, it was en route to our final destination. Many years ago (too many put actually put in print), we used to rent an apartment just off Beechwood but now that we live in Beacon Hill, we do not often find ourselves in this recently revitalized, now trendy area of the city. 

Where we went: Fraser Café has been on my radar for some time now since it has been favourably reviewed on many of the local blog and foodie sites that I frequent. This evening, being just my wife and I, we decided that some slightly more sophisticated dining was appropriate. I wondered whether we would have a problem with not having made a reservation, but hoped that with it not being the week-end that we would be lucky. Although there was no line as we entered the restaurant, it was immediately apparent that the place was full. It turned out that the only two tables in the restaurant available were with ‘high stools’ . The first one offered was a little to close to the hot kitchen for my liking, so we opted for the one closer to the entrance.

Indeed the first thing that was apparent was that although the open kitchen made for a great atmosphere, it also meant that the kitchen heat wafted out into the dining area and the A/C unit was obviously incapable of  handling the extra load. Although it was a little warmer than one might have liked, it was not a deal breaker for us (but IS the main reason we could not award 5 stars below).Open kitchen as viewed from the main dining area

What we ordered: Our waiter came promptly and welcomed us like he meant it, handing us a simple one-page menu with a handful of starters and main courses. Having already done some research, I already knew that I was going to try the ‘Chef’s Surprise’. Since we were relatively tight for time, we opted to forgo the starter which could also include a daily special. In the end, we both opted for the special after it had been explained that it would remain unknown until it arrived at our table, since it could change several times during an evening and that often couples like ourselves would be served to entirely different dishes. Although this might be slightly risky for some (with allergies for example), we liked the idea. While we were waiting, we were served some delicious, warm and crusty, home-made bread. It certainly made the wait less painful.

Pan-seared duck breastWhat we got: In case ours is the only review that you read, we should point out here that since each plate is individually crafted, waiting times may well be a little longer than you may be used to. Fortunately, we were pre-warned and therefore it came as no surprise. Just as the waiter had predicted, Dorothy and I were served two entirely different dishes and fortunately for us each one of us had a preference for one over the other. Personally, duck is a personal favourite and the pan-seared duck breast pictured was perfectly cooked and accompanied with sauteed potatoes and a medley of vegetables and mango compote. It tasted as good as it looked and smelled. 😉

Halibut Steak on Orzo noodlesFor her part, Dorothy was just as happy with her halibut steak served over Orzo noodles again with a medley of fresh vegetable and a sauce that I can no longer recall, except to say that from the small sample that I tasted I would have been almost as happy with her dish as my own.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the fact that we were invited elsewhere, we had to forgo dessert and coffee, but I am sure that there will be another chance soon…..

Worthy of note: Parking can be a bit of a challenge since there is little or no street parking on Springfield Road and Fraser Café does not have its own lot. We parked a couple of blocks away and were happy to walk but for some this could be a negative. Both of the owners (brothers) are actively engaged in the business and usually are in full view which adds some character to the overall experience. The whole atmosphere can be summed up in the German word ‘gemütlich’ for which the best translation I can offer is ‘cozy’ but it does not fully convey the true nuance. 


  • Positives: Small restaurant with intimate atmosphere. Food prepared in open kitchen before your very eyes. Daily specials were outstanding.
  • Negatives: Rather warm and crowded! Prices were high but not outrageous and, in our view, worth the extra
  • Recommendation: We will definitely be going back sooner rather than later!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality ***** Exquisite
Price $$$ Worth every penny!
Decor **** Hot but cool!
Service **** Above average
Overall Rating **** Actually 4.5* 😉


Fraser Cafe on Urbanspoon

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The Marine Pub, where else but on Seaside!

Marine Pub, Seaside, Eastbourne, England

In England, no-one walks to the pub anymore!

On our recent trip to the UK (June 2010), we once more found ourselves in our old stomping grounds in Eastbourne. I mean, what’s a trip back home if you can’t visit a few pubs? After a driving tour of Southern England, from Essex, through Kent to Sussex after picking up Christa our daughter and Mik our son in law at Gatwick we had worked up both hunger and thirst! Even though my sister’s house, where we were staying is probably less than a mile away we took two cars to add to the parking nightmare that is Eastbourne.

The Marine seems to be quite popular with the family, since I believe that I have been there on each of my last three visits. It has also given me a reasonable perspective on the food quality and the overall ambience of the place. Although it is by both appearance and function it is primarily a pub, the back section is appointed more like a restaurant than many other pubs which also serve food. As you can see from the picture at left, everyone seems to be having a good time!

Click on menu to download as a pdf file

Since the Marine saw fit to post their complete menu outside, we took a picture of it so you can download it and peruse it at your leisure. I only recently examined the menu myself after having taken the photo. The truth is that I have always ordered from the specials posted above the bar and did not realize that the menu even existed. Nevertheless, they carry a wide range of food at reasonable prices on their regular menu and the daily specials are just the icing on the cake!

English Pub-style fish and chips!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The food is good and I will go back again but it IS still a pub. So don’t go expecting gourmet French cuisine or you will probably be sorely disappointed. However if you want good, hot, fresh and tasty pub-style food, then we can heartily recommend the Marine.

Lunch was the high point at High Rocks!

High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells, UK.

Not too many pubs looking like this in Canada, eh?

You often hear about people coming across charming country pubs whilst following meandering lanes in the English countryside. Well, on a recent trip to Old Blighty, we did just that! You can read full details about how we happened across this hidden gem on W3Junkie – Our sister blog.

Of course, since we were in a pub, the first thing to do was to order a drink. I have to admit here that even though I grew up in the UK, I was never a great fan of many of the standard British brews. As a teenager, bitter and mild were the normal fare for the average pub patron. To me, the first tasted, well, bitter! The latter,  although it mA well-earned drink!ay indeed have been mild, reminded me of dishwater, not that I can actually remember drinking any (dishwater that is!). As a youngster, the only way to make them palatable was by converting them into shandy by mixing 50-50% with fizzy lemonade (like Sprite or Seven-Up). However, even back then, I was partial to a glass of draught cider! I may even have converted Dorothy, since that is the libation that she is holding at left. Strongbow, was then and remains to this day one of my favourites, but we discovered several others on this trip just as good and even became better acquainted with pear cider which can also be very good. I also noticed, that perhaps as a result of thawing relations with Ireland, that many of the ciders now come from there! Whether they like it or not, England’s historic insularity is rapidly eroding….

Back Bacon & Brie on Ciabatta BreadIt turns out that pub lunches, like most everything else in my former homeland, have changed a great deal in the intervening years. Mostly gone are the Steak & Kidney pies, Cornish Pasties and Sausage Rolls that were standard fare in my formative years. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is a matter of much disscussion and varying opinions. What Dorothy and I settled for, on this particular occasion, was back-bacon and brie on Ciabatta bread (pictured at left). The only thing that might have been on this plate 40 years ago would have been the bacon. It would have been unceremoniously plonked between two slices of sandwich bread and have been called a bacon butty! Today, we add French Brie, use Italian bread and put a dainty little salad on the side! Truth is, we loved it! Traitors though we might be, we say Vive La Communauté Européenne!

Clock Tower Brew Pub, a stone’s throw from Rideau Hall

The Governor General's Residence

Rideau Hall open for public tours!

Beer, Nachos & Wings – Clocktower Things

We were visiting the GG, did the tour first,
Helped us work up one heck of a thirst!
They didn’t have Stella like it said on the sign!
But their micro brew special still went down just fine!

So, Clock Tower Brew Pub won’t go down as the worst..

Sometimes, the best discoveries are made when you are not even looking. Recently, we took our bikes to Rideau Hall with our daughter’s parent’s-in-law. It was not until recently that I was even aware that the Governor General’s residence and grounds were routinely open to the public. After over 35 years in Ottawa, only last year did I first set foot (or wheel, since I was on my bike at the time) on the grounds. It is a sad truth that the locals in almost any town or city are often ignorant of or simply do not avail themselves of the vast proportion of  the many attractions surrounding them. It is only when we are required to play host to out-of-towners that we take notice of local amenities. I am guilty as charged. However, since taking our bikes out of mothballs a couple of years ago now, we have made up for lost time…  


Clocktower Brew Pub , New EdinburghWhere we went: It was a hot day and though the tour of Rideau Hall was moderately interesting even to myself who is not typically a museum kinda guy, when we had toured the building and grounds, we all had a mighty thirst going. Dorothy suggested making our way to Byward Market and grabbing a cool one. Thinking ahead and realizing that this would take us in the wrong direction, I suggested that we strike closer to home and visit our old neighbourhood of New Edinburgh where we lived shortly after getting married long, long ago. Our only recent visit was to The New Edinburgh Pub on the occasion of their Lobster Fest a couple of years ago. So, we set out with no particular destination in mind. As we travelled along Mackay St., we came across the Clock Tower Brew Pub whose sidewalk table umbrellas entice us with visions of cold Stella Artois and Keith’s brews. Without further ado, we dismounted and snagged a table.

What we ordered: When our server brought the menu, it was with some surprise that we discovered that only local micro-brewed beers were on offer. There were, in fact, four varieties offered: A raspberry wheat ale, a blond lager, a red/brown beer and finally a dark ale. Since we were all thirsty, we agreed to take the risk. Dorothy and I opted for the lager and Michel chose the red/brown ale. In a masterstroke of marketing, our server pointed out that since it was past 3PM, all starters were being offered for half price. Aside from thirst, our exertions had also emptied our stomachs, so we chose a serving of nachos and another of wings to tide us over until supper. 

What we got: I suspect that even if the beer had proven to be sub-par, our level of thirst would have made it nonetheless palatable. However, this was not the case and although I would not add it to my list of personal favourites, it was certainly quite palatable. In any case, I do not profess to be a connoisseur of beer in general. The wings and nachos were both above average, if not outstanding.

Worthy of note: Typically, I do not pay cash very often. The main reason for this is that I rarely have more than $20-$30 on my person. As a result, I got a quizzical look from Dorothy when I offered to settle the bill with 2 crisp $20 bills asking for $5 change. I bring this up for two reasons. Firstly, having paid cash, I received no receipt (my fault, I didn’t ask for one). Secondly, after the fact, I realized that a $25 bill seemed, after tax and tip to become $35! . Had it not been for the discount, two starters and 3 beers would have been $50! Even though we sat outside, when nature eventually called, I was required to go inside and was amazed how spacious the interior appeared and was even more surprised by the number of patrons sitting inside supping beer on what was a glorious summer day.


  • Positives: I am grateful for this blog, since it has forced me to broaden my gastronomic horizons and venture into more and different dining establishments than might otherwise have been the case. In any event, this was, on balance, a pleasurable trip and I would not hesitate to stop by again. 
  • Negatives: I was not impressed by the interior which seemed dark and dingy (like many pubs). On another occasion, I might have been disappointed by the relative lack of choice of brews!
  • Recommendation: If you are looking for somewhere new to sip a cold one, this one could be worth a visit!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Okay
Price $$$ Reasonable
Decor ** Dingy inside
Service *** Good
Overall Rating *** Worth a try

Clock Tower Brew Pub on Urbanspoon