Open since July 2018, and now serving lunch, dinner, and brunch, Eldon’s embraces its Glebe locale and is attracting neighbours from near and far. The restaurant is run by co-owners Cory Baird, at the helm in the kitchen, and Marhlee Gaudet, managing operations and front of house. The two have created the kind of spot that feels equally suitable for a quick coffee and sandwich or a special occasion dinner.
Taking the farm-to-table ethos to heart, Baird and Gaudet highlight their local farm partners on the menu and are explicit about their zero-food waste goals. This means saving the restaurant’s organic food waste to go back to the farms from which they buy, where it is used feed or compost. They also use ingredients left from dinner service for brunch and lunch, a butcher’s steak on the dinner menu becoming a perfect brunch dish with poached eggs and hashbrowns. This kind of smart stretching of ingredients doesn’t create any sense of repetition — in fact, at a time when many diners are concerned about the environmental impacts of their eating habits (Ottawa recently declared a climate emergency, after all), it is great to see a young restaurant embracing the eco-conscious zeitgeist.
Given that Eldon’s menu embraces seasonality, entire dishes or components will change depending on what is available at the time. On a recent dinner visit, the tender butcher’s steak from Enright Cattle Co. in Tweed was accompanied by a decadent potato pavé, and delicately seared onions in red wine jus. The grilled pork shoulder from Gaspor Farms in Saint-Jérôme, Québec, came atop creamy white beans and roasted cabbage. Vegetarians are not left wanting: the seasonal vegetarian creation that night was a riff on their fish and grits but with charred carrots and fried tofu, and a vegetarian version of their popular chicken and dumplings is typically on the menu as well (seasonal vegetables with flour dumplings in a fragrant vegetarian broth).
Both our server and the printed menu warned us that — with everything made in house and with each dish made to order — we might want to allow for a little more time than usual for our dinner. Starting with creative cocktails and the house sourdough with herbed cheese, to smart small plates such as marinated beets with light cheese and puffed rice, to generous mains and luscious dessert, the evening had a pleasant flow to it. If being decisive is difficult with everything on the menu sounding so appealing, the table can opt for the chef’s menu, which includes five courses for $55 a head.
Brunch dishes are shown the same care as dinner, but the vibe is definitely a more casual one, with the espresso machine whirring busily in the background. Wait times aren’t unusual, especially on a Sunday, as plates with freshly laid eggs from Farm Rêveuse fly quickly from the kitchen. The menu is split between breakfast and lunch, which essentially offers the same proteins (smoked trout, braised beef, pork belly, and crispy tofu) as part of a breakfast plate or a lunch sandwich. Either would be a tasty choice. My only complaint came from the vegan offering of the crispy tofu, which erred more on the rubbery side. Save some room for an East Coast Grunt, a sweet dumpling served with fruit of the moment, whipped cream and bee pollen.
The restaurant is named after Baird’s grandfather, Eldon, and his portrait is one of the only things hanging on the wall. The space is flooded with natural light courtesy of the garage door, in front of which bar seats offer a prime spot for people watching in the Glebe. A repurposed wood pallet decorated with small twinkling lights houses fresh herbs and flowers on the wall. Along with the menu of comforting seasonal dishes, Eldon’s cozy space and friendly service should leave Glebeites and visitors from further afield feeling very much at home.
775 Bank St, eldons.ca
Breakfast and lunch dishes $8-$15; dinner dishes $12-$30. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for brunch. Closed Monday.