Atmosphere: Fine Lounge dining
Food You Must Try: Cheese Plate and Duck Wings
Drinks You Must Try: All the wine!!
Deep in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market lies Must, a kitchen and wine bar that has been revamped and taken over by new management in the past few months. This quirky, cozy restaurant has incorporated a local vibe with its decor, bringing in local artist’s work to be displayed and sold within the establishment. As well, they have fused local Ottawa foods and flavours into their menu to make this place a treat every time you go.
Setting up a reservation in advance, my party of 3 arrived and were seated in the private dining room for a more intimate and snug space. Although there were a table of ladies who were quite loud when we arrived, we slowly were able to drown them out with our own table talk while viewing the menu. The waiter was very kind and knowledgable about not just the menu, but also the many changes in which the restaurant had undertaken. He informed us about all the local art upon the walls, who the artist was, and many new up coming events in which the business was about to launch. After having the menu explained, (what was popular and recommendations), we decided we would get several small appetizers to split, rather than an entree each, that way we were able to try more things in one sitting. Putting our order in with our server, we also ordered a bottle of Konzelmann Pinot Noir, because what is a great meal without some wine…am I right?
The very first item on the menu that the waiter had suggested was the duck wings, which is a duck that comes locally from Brome lake in Quebec. When the plate came out, the presentation was simple yet absolutely mouth-watering and we all just wanted to get our hands on a piece. Taking that first bite, the texture of the outside skin was crispy with an inside that was so moist and tender, it just fell off the bone. Now, what really gave this dish a gold star was the sauce that it was served with. With a fruity sweet taste blended with a tangy zip, this house bider bbq sauce was out of this world. Combining the salty, crispiness of the duck with the sweet, tangy sauce, this plate was definitely one we would come back for and is highly recommended.
This next dish was both a delight and a disappointment. The reason I would not personally not order this dish again was because of the richness in which it held. With a heaping pile of tortellini, this dish entangled smoked gouda, cheddar cream, and truffle oil to create a somewhat excessive plate. Topped with garlic croutons, this dish seemed to be integrating too many rich flavours to decipher one from another. With a few bites our tastebuds floated to heaven, but because it was such a lavish and heavy dish, more than a few bites was just too much. The creaminess and flavours within the dish seemed to meld together very well. However, personally I feel there needs to be either a little less richness to it, or perhaps something to help cut the copiousness of the dish. I don’t think I would order this again.
Another slight disappointment to the appetizers we ordered was the prosciutto flatbread, only because it seemed a little lack-luster and a smidge too salty. The flatbread was not as crispy as it could have been, however topped with a nice sliced prosciutto and smoked gouda, this plate was pleasing to the eyes. Where it began to run into problems was in each bite. Now, because I am a hands on type of person I like to barbarically pick up my food like it is pizza and eat it with my hands, (obviously if it is pick-upable). When I picked up a slice of the flatbread, everything seemed to fall off and it was more like a build-a-bread workshop than it was something that could easily be enjoyed. Moreover, the arugula pesto sauce seemed to have been strewn along the board it came on rather than on the actual bread itself, thus we had to scoop it onto the flatbread with knives. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t complain often and I would have liked to give this dish the benefit of the doubt, but it was just too blah and unsatisfying that I would not be excited to order it again.
The final appetizer of the night was the cheese board, and personally if you get the right cheese, you can most definitely never go wrong with a good cheese board! With both cheese from local shops in Ottawa and cheeses from Quebec, we were able to choose from different types of cheese. From soft semi-soft, to hard, aged, blue, and swiss, this app was a great choice. Once served, the board came with warm, crispy baguettes and a series of small intricate components that made the plate a lot more fun. It included two different seasonal fruit compotes and three different types of spices/salts that were used to top the baguette and cheese. Although this may be a less complicated dish, the sophistication and small, finer details made it all the better! Plus, if you don’t know a lot about cheese, this is an awesome way to explore and develop your palate!
Overall, this is a great place to come with friends or business associates if you’re looking to have a ‘fancy’ time and drink some marvellous wine. The food, I feel personally is a hit or miss, but one thing is for sure…you can’t go wrong with a cheese board; especially if it’s paired with a fabulous bottle of wine!