By Anne DesBrisay
This place continues to surprise me. Lunch last week was no exception.
It’s much about beer, of course — beer factors in every dish the kitchen prepares — which struck me as gimmicky when BBB first opened in 2012. Brothers and beer in the Byward Market … oh goodie. No doubt there’d be bacon ice cream. I was thoroughly prepared not to like it much.
But I was quite wrong. The food was very good, the breadth of craft beer on offer is impressive, and so is the service, which knows its food, its beer matches, and its booze.
There’s a thirteen dollar lunch at BBB, and I popped in to check it out last week. As you might expect from a beer bistro, there’s a burger on offer, and things like a ham sandwich and a steak frites.
But then there’s this little number: chestnut stuffed ravioli with currants, pine nuts, lemon zest, and cinnamon cap mushrooms. Beer’s in the butter sauce, ‘cause beer’s in everything’ — as I might have mentioned — but it’s remarkably light and elegant, and other than the unfortunate fact that the outer edges of the pasta were undercooked, this dish was brilliantly considered. The stuffing had great flavour and that meaty, nubbly texture of roasted, pureed chestnuts. The mushrooms continued the woodsy chestnut theme, the pine nuts gave crunch, the currants a bit of sticky-sweet and the lemon zest lifted the dish. I didn’t want it to end.
Thing is, I was still a bit hungry, given the uneaten pasta edges. Which meant there was room for two desserts: a lovely pumpkin creme brulée roofed with candied kumquats and smoked walnuts, served with white chocolate drizzled gingerbread biscotti (very nice dunked in tea as it turned out); and a not-too-sweet apple cake with cheddar cheese crisps, exemplary house ice cream, and Cortland apples cooked down in retro cream soda. (What? No beer?)
Cost: $13 for anything on the BBB lunch menu, served Monday to Friday
Brother’s Beer Bistro, 366 Dalhousie St. 613-695-6300