CLOSING: Castlegarth closes up shop as owners pursue new ventures
City Bites

CLOSING: Castlegarth closes up shop as owners pursue new ventures

Get there while you can! It will come as a shock to many that Castlegarth’s Matthew and Jenn Brearley plan to close the doors on their restaurant at the end of September after 11 years operating the top-notch rural eatery at White Lake. While Matthew is headed to a new food project at St. Paul University, Jenn is launching a lunch catering company with friend Julie Harrison.

A photograph of Matthew Brearley at a sold-out 2012 CityBites event at the urban element to celebrate the release of the best-selling cookbook by the owners of Montreal's Joe Beef.

Matthew’s Plans
First it was U of O, which in October 2012 scored the first Première Moisson bakery outside Quebec. Now St. Paul University has jumped on the tasty brainfood bandwagon, signing a three-year deal with the urban element to supply its café and catering needs.

No more trucking food in from off-site, Café Urban boasts an on-site kitchen, headed up by three key chefs, including Matthew Brearley. Brearley teams up with Sean Shannon, who cooked at Castlegarth for the past six years, and Geneviève Corriveau, who has been mentored by John Taylor at Domus.

The move marks a new beginning for all three chefs — and a departure for the urban element, currently best known for cooking classes and private catered events at its Parkdale Avenue headquarters. Owner Carley Schelck has said she’s excited to branch out, introducing a model that, she hopes, will change the whole mindset about food quality in the campus setting.

Passing by St. Paul U.? You’re in luck. The gourmet café is open to the public for breakfast, lunch ($7-$9), and dinner ($8-$12). Takeout available. 223 Main St., 613-236-1393 ext. 2555. Matthew is also collaborating with Lanark County on developing a food hub — a marketing entity that would work with farmers to plan crop plantation, advertise their produce, and deliver to buyers (including, one assumes, St. Paul University).

This portrait of Matthew and Jenn was taken in 2010, when Castlegarth took top spot in Ottawa Magazine's annual "where to eat right now" edition. Photography by Christian Lalonde / Photolux

Jenn’s Plans
The company name is Spread, the tagline “coveted lunches delivered to you.” Jenn Brearely and Julie Harrison launch their catering company on October 1, delivering high-quality (and imaginative) lunches for offices and meetings.

Run from offices in Chinatown, the company charges a $20 delivery fee in central Ottawa and $30 outside the core. A quick sampling of the 8-item sandwich menu gives a sense of the thought that has gone into creating a fine luncheon: pastrami, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing; grilled steak, mozzarella, and chimichurri; roast paprika chicken with creamy dill, lemon, and honey coleslaw; and queso fresco, pickled jalapeños, poblano peppers, salsa rona, and cilantro. All sandwiches are made on Nat’s Bread.

The salad lineup includes the likes of cashew, lemon, and ginger coleslaw with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro; and German-style potato salad with bacon, dijon, white wine, and parsley. Homemade cookies, tarts, and crumbles round out the meal.

The couple say they’re looking forward to embracing new challenges — and working more regular hours, which will allow for more time with their kids.

Book Your Spot at Castlegarth
The restaurant, which will close for good on Friday, Sept. 27, is open for dinners from Wednesday to Sunday. The Brearleys are currently organizing a celebratory five-course dinner that will be served on each of the last three nights the restaurant is open (Sept. 25, 26, and 27). It will be based on the couple’s favourite dishes over the last 11 years.

Menu ($65 per person):

— Fois Gras Torchon with Summer Preserved Peaches
— Kudla Farms Egg Yolk Ravioli with Housemade Tesa & Fresh Herbs
— Grilled Mackerel with Squash Galette with Bloomfield Farms Arugula & Romesco
— Duck Breast with Cumin Spiced Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
— Gagan’s Apple Fritter, Chocolate Doughnut with Nectarine Glaze