Everyone knows my favourite neighbourhood pub is just around the corner. Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill or SHL&G is a busy happening place in the heart of this downtown community.
We often pop in for dinner or a drink, but I love the weekend brunch and chef/owner Chris Marquis and his crew make awesome coffee and some of the best poached eggs in the city.
I have been trying to get together for a sit down with Chris for sometime now and this past weekend I was finally able to do that. A cheerful character, well know among regulars as super friendly this Ottawa boy has brought some good cooking to the old Drumlins. This is what Chris had to say:
lk What Is Your Food Philosophy?
cm People need to have fun with food. They need to experiment, learn to cook, be creative and of course healthfully.
When I was young my Father cooked, every night we sat down as a family and ate together. Even when he was preparing the food we sat around did our homework and talked.
Even with my own family, we have conversations at meal times. I cook when I am at home, we have meals together.
lk If There Was One Thing You Could Tell People About SHL&G What Would That Be?
cm That we are still creating our identity. There are still surprises in store.
lk What Is Your Favourite Meal?
cm That is a tough one. I love curries, lamb, Basque Region cuisine
lk Are You Pleased With The Growth Of SHL&G?
cm Yes. We are so busy, that often (Friday nights in particular) folks have a wait. We do have the bar area that we can use for seating, it is really nice to be able to sit up at a bar and eat.
lk What Made You Choose Your Location In This Neighbourhood?
cm I grew up in Ottawa. This is where I got my start right after school, first at the Barley Mow on Bank and then the Barley Mow in Kanata. I have worked at a few places. I love the idea of the neighbourhood pub, I have always liked this location.
lk What Do You Do On Your Time Off?
cm I do cook at home, but I am never really off. I have to be available, my cell phone is always on. I manage to do other things yes, and even when I am doing things for the business on my day off, I still consider it my day off.
lk When You Order In When Your At Home What Do You Order?
cm Chinese food
lk On The Evolution Of Pub Food…
cm I think what has happened is that young chefs just out of school who are able to open a business, who can’t necessarily go the fine dining route are looking for something smaller, manageable where they can be really creative.
A few things SHL&G are known for are, their addictive pot stickers, awesome brunch, butter chicken poutine, buttermilk pie, Monday night steak dinners and their fabulous burgers, including a brilliant lamb burger.
On a side note Egg Poacher Extraordinaire is Wendy, Chris’s partner.
I did mean to tell Chris that he is not alone, Anthony Bourdain’s guilty pleasure is take-out Chinese.
Sandy Hill Lounge & Grill
321 Somerset St E, Ottawa, ON