Tag Archives: Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill

The Lemon Kitchen’s Top 10 for 2011

I am a food blogger. I don’t critique, I talk about food. I talk about food that I like or a great food experience I have had. If I have a bad experience, I don’t share it unless I really feel it neccessary. Why? Because your experience may be different.

I do this for fun, because I enjoy it and fortunately for me it has allowed me many memorable experiences and introduced me to many amazing people.

This year I found many things in this great city of ours that I loved, 10 in particular . I want to share them with you. I suggest if you get an opportunity to try them do so, I can almost guarantee you will love them too.

Top ten favourites this year:

1. Almond Brioche – Art-Is-In Bakery
Heaven in your mouth. That is all.

2. Latte – Raw Sugar
Nadia and her team really can brew a decent cuppa. A close second is T.A.N. Cafe is Sandy Hill.

3. Breakfast Kaiser – Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill
In fact every brunch item at this neighbourhood pub is worth a try. Wendy’s poached are the best.

4. General Blackie’s Chicken – Le Cafe
Just the right amount of sweet and spicy yumminess.

5. Pistachio Gelato – Stella Luna
Smooth and luscious. I want more always.

6. Shrimp Pad Thai – So Good
Finally found something comparable to Karma’s. It only took 4

7. Potato Latkes – Rideau Bakery
Greasy deliciousness. They need to make them at Rideau on Saturdays. Sweet potato latkes rock during holiday season. You can eat these cold or take them home and re-heat.

8. Veggie Burger – Hintonburger
Falafel patty on a bun. Genius.

9. Meatballs in Aurora Sauce – Parma Ravioli
Perfect meatballs in the best tomato sauce ever. Buy an extra sauce.

10. Bianco Pizza – Tennessy Willems
Pear and gorgonzola on a pizza. Nuff’ said.

Honourable mentions: michaelsdolce jam and Happy Goat Coffee

Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill

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
(613) 695-0875

Fisherwood Buttermilk Pie

This from the Ottawa Citizen yesterday:

Georgia Pie

It was rumoured that a large quantity of Buttermilk Pies from The Yesterday Cafe in Greensboro, Georgia were delivered to The Ritz-Carlton Lodge at the Reynolds Plantation where the wedding of Ottawa Senators Mike Fisher and singer Carrie Underwood took place.

Well Carrie and Mike should know if you want a good sample of this yummy treat here in Ottawa then head to the Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill where this is a specialty of chef Chris Marquis.

This sweet, creamy piece of heaven is really lovely, and hey if you have a big rehearsal party you can follow Carrie and Mike’s lead by ordering from this friendly neighbourhood pub. Are you ready Chris?

Lounge Lizards

After a busy day, involved in a neighbourhood garage sale and realizing the work the house needed after lugging things in and out, we decided cooking supper was not an option. We cleaned ourselves up and walked over to Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill at 321 Somerset St. East

A delightful surprise, Sandy Hill replaces the former Drumlins Irish Pub. While we did visit Drumlins several times, we sensed on one of our last visits that Drumlins days were numbered.

A fresh coat of paint, beautiful hardwood floors, and lovely black and white photos of local history, have definitely done wonders for the place. A new supper menu and a fabulous weekend brunch menu have taken the place of all-you- can-eat wings nights. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a neighbourhood gathering place, but with a different spin.

We were ravenous after drinking coffee all day outdoors. I started with a large Keith’s Red and Adrian wimped out with a diet coke. We decided on apps and chose the Sausage and Chicken Gumbo (which was recommended by another site), it was the perfect choice and while a little on the salty side, the thick, creamy base was delicious, sausage with a bit of a bite and tender pieces of chicken with rice reminded me of a similar gumbo I had in New Orleans in March. While it seemed like a simple dish, it was full of surprisingly complex flavours. This hearty meal in a bowl would definitely be enough for lunch (and possibly dinner if you weren’t starving), a generous serving.

For my main I chose the Beef Stew with Spicy Cornmeal Bread. The stew reminded me of Mom’s, real comfort food full of flavour, tender beef, carrots and potatoes, no surprises, but just what I was looking for. The cornbread turned out to be a little gastronomic masterpiece-the size of an extra large muffin (or small loaf), filled with bits of hot peppers and my fave, cilantro. It was melt in your mouth delish, but I couldn’t eat it all and handed half over to Adrian-served with butter (but not necessary). I tried to get the recipe out of the chef-but much to my dismay he refused. I was glad to know it was his recipe, and I also want him to know, I have not given up yet. Adrian chose the Meat Lovers Pizza, full of chicken, sausage, and beef on a light, crispy dough, it was good, really good-I hope they keep pizza on the menu.

We had a great wait staff who was attentive, but not overly, she was excited about working in the new space and it shone through in her service.

One really great, new thing is that you don’t have to order a large draft, they come in 10 once size as well.

So do I recommend Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill? Absolutely, I love supporting neighborhood restaurants and pubs. I want this place to be hopping every night-so drop by and if you don’t live in Sandy Hill, it wouldn’t hurt you to come downtown to try it out, what about next Sunday for brunch?