DesBrisay Dines

DESBRISAY DINES: Lunch at Quan Viet Fusion

Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Quan Viet Fusion's House made sausage. Photo by Anne DesBrisay
Quan Viet Fusion’s House made sausage. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

I quite liked ThaiPas, the restaurant/lounge/nightclub that used to call this address home. But I quite like its replacement, Quan Viet Fusion, too. Still with a clubby vibe about it — dark walls, dark tables, matching wooden benches and stools, a pink-lit bar, racy red bar chairs — though the ‘tapas’ formula of Thaipas has been replaced with an appetizer heavy, grazing-friendly, pan-Asian menu. More Vietnamese dishes, on balance, but the menu also delivers popular Chinese (salt and pepper squid), Japanese (sushi, sashimi, teriyaki salmon), Korean (bulgogi), and Thai (pad Thai) plates as well.

Salt and pepper shrimp from Quan Viet Fusion. Photo by Anne DesBrisay
Salt and pepper shrimp from Quan Viet Fusion. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Lunch was a filling pleasure and something of a bargain (at $12) given the shareable quantity of food. We ordered the Quan Viet Special — pho and rice rolls — and though the rare beef wasn’t rare, it was very tender and heavily scented with ginger. The pale broth tasted clean and meaty, perfumed with cinnamon and star anise. Rice noodles were firm. A plate of the usual stuff — bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, bird’s eye chilis — added bulk and options. All lunch specials at Quan Viet Fusion are packaged with a choice of fryer spring rolls or fresh rice rolls, both impressive. (more…)

DesBrisay Dines

Beau’s Patio For Beer Cuisine

As we bask in the final weeks of summer, it seems a bit mean to be telling you about a fabulous patio, this one in Vankleek Hill. But I believe Beau’s weekend-only front terrace, shaded and rustic, will stay open through the fall, when the hops that grow up the support pillars will be full and lush and bushy, the cones ready to harvest. That’s worth seeing. Smelling too. Though it might give you a bit of a thirst. Fortunately, there’s beer, all of it Beau’s, and all of it five bucks a glass.

Brewery Chef Bruce Wood has devised a menu of grazing friendly food, to pair with the certified organic Beau’s beers. Or with his Beau’s brewed iced tea. Always a sandwich on Nat’s Bread; always a plate of charcuterie and cheeses with house pickles, olives, and mustards; always a salad of some description. And then, well, there could be fish cakes, or grilled sausages on pickled cabbage, smoked tofu, a plate of dips and pita.

I was particularly taken with the terrine and housemade beer mustard, the caponata and feta tzatziki, the fattouche salad with sumac-pickled onion, the wee oatmeal crackers fashioned with Beau’s spent grains.

And for dessert, a berry square on beer shortcrust, or gingerbread made with Tom Beer. Check out Beau’s Brewery’s Facebook page for weekly menu. And later in the season (what a good thing I’m late with this post!), on October 2nd and 3rd, Beau’s annual Oktoberfest on the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds.

Patio Hours:
Friday, noon to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 5pm. Holiday Mondays.
10 Terry Fox Drive, Vankleek Hill, ON
1-866-585-2337 beaus.ca

Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.