The King and I kept promising to go one day… Beckta’s reputation has long been established as one of Ottawa’s finest dining establishment. Knowing we would want to indulge in the tasting menu with wine pairing, we kept pushing the visit for another time… When the water heater wouldn’t need replacing, when the cottage wouldn’t need some extra TLC, when the kids would not need a helping hand, when the car wouldn’t need major repairs… Basically, we were always pushing it away, waiting for that sudden extra bit of play money ready to be spent on one dinner, on one evening, on one of special day. Seems that moment had finally come, all wrapped-up in a beautiful bow called a birthday. My birthday. My darling man, knowing my penchant for gastronomy, truly gave me the best gift of all: a dinner event at Beckta’s! I must brag a bit about my King here because he is quite the guy, my true soul mate and best partner in life. He indulges me with my foodie obsessions! Although he rolls his eyes every time I whip out my phone to take «that great food shot», he is truly supportive of all the time I spend completely immersed in my blog and social network activities. He never, ever, ever questions my need to buy yet another cookbook… Then again he would be in a bad position to question these purchases: he is at the receiving end of my culinary experimentations! And lucky for me, not only can he appreciate a fine table and loves to go out to dinner, he has also become quite the amateur sommelier! I cook, he buys the wines (really, really good wines)… Many ask us the secret to our successful marriage: now you know 🙂 And now you know how much of a gift to both of us this evening at Beckta’s was: great food and great wines.
I was giddy with excitement when our dinner destination was revealed to me on Tuesday night. The King had been very secretive about the entire affair, shunning the list I had submitted to him earlier last week of restaurants I’ve had on my radar for special occcasions.I am pretty sure our waiter thought I was maybe a tad over the top excited? Maybe the few awkward moments gave it up? Like bumping into my chair, dropping silverware on the floor and using weird words that make no sense at all in the context… All that happening within 5 minutes of our arrival! Amazing what excitement can do!!! Yup, I get like that: take me to a fancy place and I lose complete control!
I didn’t want the evening to start at all: starting meant it was going to end… Cocktails were ordered, which managed to stretch the moment a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed my Penny Lane, a concoction of mescal and hibiscus, amongst other things. That calmed me down enough to be able to grasp the meaning of the words written on the menu. While perusing the very minimalist tasting menu, it became clear that it would be impossible to mentally visualize each dish. Choosing the tasting menu meant giving up full control to the chef and his team. If at first I was a slightly unimpressed by the non-existent descriptive prose that normally entices the dinner to select a plate, I got to fully appreciate the mystery as each plate was served: not knowing meant not having pre-conceived expectations. The tasting menu offers 5 courses, 2 choices per course. We opted to take one of each deciding we would swap both wine and food half way through each course allowing us both to taste every single dish. And so the feast began…
In a nutshell, the entire meal was exquisite, each course thoughtfully planned and artistically executed. We had a bit of fun playing «Top Chef Judge» as we dove into each dish… We tried to find the correct words: texture, umami, balanced, well composed dish, unusual combination of flavours… We even dared a few critics although we felt maybe the palate required for such an analysis was out of our league. Then again, maybe not… The drop dead “there are no words to describe” winners of our 10 plate extravaganza (5 each) were these 3: Pork Belly & Octopus, Braised Oxtail Croquette and Caramel Sundae. At the other end of the scale, we both thought the Scallop Crudo was missing a little something like salt or acidity. And we even ventured far enough to say that maybe the radish overpowered the delicate taste of the scallop. I was slightly disappointed to see salmon on the menu, a bit of a humdrum fish when so many other options are available… Yet it was beautifully prepared and it will be difficult to eat salmon again without comparing it to this one. The King didn’t gel much (pun intended) with the rhubarb jelly served with the panna cotta yet I found it light and refreshing. The wines served with each course were off the wall in a good way; a thoughtfully curated list of beautiful wines which are sadly not available for purchase by the common mortal. I fell in love with a white wine from the Greek island of Santorini (yeah, who knew!!!) and we were both enchanted with another white from Niagara as well as a “port like” red from France.
This evening at Beckta’s was well worth the wait. To describe each dish in details here would be a disservice to you; Beckta is an experience that needs to be lived not read about. The venue is spectacular, the décor is gorgeous and the food is divine. I have never had the pleasure of dining in a Michelin Star restaurant and I wonder how much more spectacular it would be compared to Beckta’s… I bet you it is not that far a stretch…
Final note: pictures were taken of each course. As the sun slowly disappeared and the room’s lights dimmed dramatically, it became difficult to take beautiful pictures. The last few shots didn’t turn out well enough to share. I hope you enjoy this tiny peek at the first half of our dinner…
150 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K2P 1L4