LUNCH AT FRASER CAFÉ, for Ottawa Magazine, January 2012
It’s been a little over two years now at its new location on Springfield Road and the Fraser Café, run by chef-brothers Simon and Ross, seems well and truly tucked into the neighbourhood. Judging by the packed dining room at a mid week lunch, New Edinburgh/ Rockcliffe/ Lindenlea have embraced it.
I crowded in with the happy regulars for lunch here, and waddled out stuffed and happy. Portions are generous – no need for a starter – and there was nothing restrained about the pork tacos I was encouraged to order. These daily creations have earned a loyal following, according to our server (both knowledgeable and helpful), and upon chomping down, one can understand why. On house made corn tortillas, the filling is boldly flavoured, the presentation bright and cheery for a drab January day, and further surprises are tucked into the fat packages by way of textural contrasts. Chopped green apple is a nice one. So is the base layer of puréed squash perked with cumin. Thinly sliced radish lends peppery notes, slivers of sautéed red cabbage are bright pink grins; diced mango adds some sweetness, while red onion cuts it. The jerked pork itself is highly perfumed with cloves and allspice. On the plate are two of these taco treats and just in case these aren’t enough, gaps have been filled in with a cumin scented black bean salsa – the beans perfectly al dente, clearly not from a can – and a pile of dressed greens. You’ll be reaching for your napkin over and over again.