I had a opportunity to visit OCCO while working at the Ottawa Travel and Vacation Show. During the show we heard that a Newfoundland and Labrador chef who now resides in the Capital City will be doing a demo at the show. Mark Steele from St. John’s is the owner of two trendy restaurants in Ottawa called OCCO Kitchen and Bar. When we clued up for the day our provincial team decided to pay the restaurant a visit on Bay Street.
The venue had plenty of space , plenty of room for movement and I liked the decor. I was especially impressed with the firewall, it gave the illusion of a fireplace but was lighting and some kind of mist, it made the room feel all cozy.
There was a large group of us, about 22 in total but no problem for the server. The menu was diverse , filled with the obvious personality and passion of Chef Steele. I was having difficulty trying to decide what to have, not because there was not a selection , but because I wanted to order about 5 or 6 different offerings off the menu. For an appetizer I decided to try the Duck Confit Spring Rolls. They were cooked to perfection, the flavour was balanced, nice and crispy, the mango jalapeño chutney heightened the richness of the spring roll. You certainly did not need much of it with the richness of the duck. I did not waste the rest of it as I dipped the greens in it, it was tasty for sure.
I kind of chuckled to myself before ordering my main, I said to my self, ” I am here in Ottawa, ordering a Halifax donair from a Newfoundland chef. BUT!,I have to say, it was a good choice . The pita was not dry, the donair meat was firm and flavourful, not too herby , the sweet tangy sauce was balanced by the acidic red onions. The fries were a nice accompaniment but could of did without the herbs.
OCCO is a nice addition to the food scene in Ottawa, and worth the trip. It is always nice to support local, and in this case a fellow Newfoundlander.
-Welcoming and knowledgeable server
-Trendy and spacious
-Accommodating to larger groups
-Loved the open concept kitchen
-Washrooms were very clean
-Nice beer selection on tap
-Duck Spring Rolls were the high point
- No real low point other than I did not need herbs on my fries
Price $$$ out of $$$$$ 55.00 approx. plus tax .
Points for a evening experience 4.0 out of 5