Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Supply and Demand

One of Ottawa's top restaurants, Supply and Demand, celebrated their 1st birthday this week.

I can imagine it was a joyous day with much reflection on what many would consider a banner year with unprecedented successes, including being recognized on the national stage. Supply and Demand was chosen by Enroute magazine as #4 in Canada's Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2013.

Chef-owner Steve Wall has worked tirelessly with his partner and wife, Jennifer Wall, to make this the kind of restaurant that would have customers returning time and time again.

Their regularly changing menu has continued to wow me with bold flavours, new fresh ingredients and interesting combinations of tastes and textures.

I would be one of those clients that over the past year has returned time and time again. My first visit being days after they opened, the most recent being last week, and with many, many visits in-between.

What I share with you today could in no way be considered a review.  At best, it is my food diary for Supply and Demand.  You see, for their 5 major sections on the menu - RAW AND MARINATED; SMALL PLATES; FROM THE GARDEN; PASTA; MEAT AND FISH - I have really only spent time in Small Plates and From The Garden. Once have I strayed and ordered a fish dish for a main.

I, like many, anticipated their opening last January with much curiosity. I distinctly remember how much I was looking forward to having a decent seafood restaurant in the neighbourhood.  Seafood is, after all, my most popular main whenever we dine out.

But, in fact, Supply and Demand has been really more of a vegetarian destination for me.  I just can't get out From The Garden, often ordering all dishes in that section for my dining pleasure.

Justin and Jessie have been my most frequent servers.  Jessie has now moved on to Wilf and Ada's on Bank Street to provide leadership there in the front of the house.  They, along with Jennifer Wall, made me feel welcome as I often dined solo when the mister was out of town and the sign on my own kitchen said 'closed'. Jessie knew that a request for a 'quenchy', meant I really wanted San Pellegrino's Pompelmo.  If Justin forgot my coffee, his tip was still intact and gentle ribbing would ensue. Jennifer constantly asked about the dishes, keen to receive feedback.

The best seat in the house is at The Chef's Table, where Chef Wall happily shares his secrets as plates are constructed before your eyes.  Adam Vettorel works along side him and expresses a similar calm, cool and collected demeanor.  The Chef's Table is tricky business though.  You are likely at risk of ordering more than you planned as the smells wrap round you relentlessly.

Every meal starts with their signature Parkerhouse rolls.  The spread has varied over the year but is always high calorie - duck fat, chilled brown butter, butter and duck fat combined. You name it. As a nod to their good service, they knew that when I dined alone, it was only one roll for me.

They came out of the gates guns a blazing.  Everybody was talking about their Lobster and Bacon Tart. At $19 on the Small Plates menu it might have seemed dear but it was worth every bite. Says me and everyone else who ever ordered it. This was my very first bite of Supply and Demand that chilly night last January 24, 2013.

Lobster and Bacon Tart with Crème Fraîche, Pickled Onions and Fennel $19

I promptly went home and emailed a foodie friend that I knew would want such good news hot off the press. This is what I told her as I unfurled the pile of flavours I had just consumed.

"Lobster and bacon tart - loved it. Crème fraîche on bottom, then pâte brisée tart medallion, then béchamel sauce, then maple glazed sous vide slab of bacon, then lobster, then pickled fennel and pickled onion, then topped with pea shoot sprouts. Not too sweet on the maple. Dish was a bit rich but not too, too much. Tart nicely done. Overall, just loved it. So many flavours. Well balanced. Clever. Original."

I liked this dish so much I had it again months later.

Kale Salad is a signature dish.  I am not sure it has ever left the menu and if it did it would have been a brief vacation, as I know I have had it a half dozen times at least.

Kale Salad with Caper Vinaigrette, Manchego Cheese and Bacon $7

The salad is dressed with a caper and anchovy vinaigrette. If that's not a enough salty flavour, it is generously adorned with bacon. Many times it came snow-capped with Manchego cheese. Though my kale salad last week had a Pecorino Crotonese, an artisanal sheep's milk cheese aged in wicker baskets. The leaves are soft and tender, a texture owed to a regiment in the preparation of a supple massage for each and every leaf.  This is part of the prep earlier in the day but also just before putting the salad together. A kale spa of sorts.

A reasonable strategy is to save some of your Parkerhouse roll to wipe out the bowl. Do ask for one if you forget. Not a drop of this dressing should reach the dish pit.

Even in a darkly lit room, the kale salad beckons your fork with haste.

Kale Salad with Caper Vinaigrette, Crotonese Cheese and Bacon $8

I've already declared my love for From The Garden.  My most favourite dish over the year was the New Crop Potatoes with Soft Boiled Egg, Dijon, Lemon and Herring Caviar.

New Crop Potatoes with Soft Boiled Egg, Dijon, Lemon and Herring Caviar $7

I loved it enough to order it two more times before it left the menu.

New Crop Potatoes with Soft Boiled Egg, Dijon, Lemon and Herring Caviar $7

New Crop Potatoes with Soft Boiled Egg and Herring Caviar $8

Okay, I may have lied. Perhaps the cauliflower dishes From The Garden were my favourite.  There were a number of versions over their run. Pickled Cauliflower Fritto with Smoked Paprika Mayo and Padano Cheese stood out as one of my repeats. Then they switched it up for a Scallion Mayo.

Pickled Cauliflower Fritto with Smoked Paprika Mayo and Padano Cheese $6

There was also Cauliflower with Buttermilk Purée, Olive Pistou and Toasted Almonds.

During their short season I tried the grilled asparagus.

Grilled Asparagus with Berkshire Lonza and Pickled Ramp Gribiche $8

Other great From The Garden dishes included roasted beets, pickled beets, mushrooms, more potatoes, fiddleheads, sunchokes and Brussels sprouts. They have ranged from $4 to $8.

Desserts were constantly changing, so one couldn't get too attached. Here are a few I tried.

Arnold Palmer Trifle with Lemon Pound Cake, Earl Grey Custard and Sponge Toffee $8 [top left]; Chocolate Crema with Whipped Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel $8 [top right]; Lemon Pot de Creme with Toasted Meringue and White Chocolate Rocher $7 [bottom left]; Cherry Cheesecake Trifle with Cream Cheese Parfait, Graham Crumbles and Sundried Cherry $8 [bottom right].

I will warn you, I didn't find one that wasn't super sweet.  Once at The Chef's Table, I asked for a half serving of the Cream Puffs with Raspberry Curd, Liquid Cheesecake and Fudge Glaze. It was still more sugar than I could handle. Have a strong coffee on the ready before you dig in.

They do know me at Supply and Demand, so if you need more proof that they are one of our finest picks in town, read what others have to say:
Well, this is all a very long-winded way to say Happy Birthday Supply and Demand! May there be many more.

Supply and Demand
1335 Wellington Street West

Sun to Mon: 5 - 9:30 pm
Tues to Sat: 5 - 10 pm

Facebook: Supply and Demand
Twitter: SupplyOttawa

Supply and Demand on Urbanspoon


  1. Beautiful photos, a great review.

    1. :-) Thanks Laurent. I hope you have had a chance to enjoy Supply and Demand too.

  2. We share a love affair with S & D!! Such a great tribute. Your photos are literally making me drool.. oh, I can almost taste that kale salad!

    1. Perhaps it is a bit shameful that we were there twice in the past week. Happy to see them hitting their second birthday with still much interest from the Ottawa dining community.


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