Tucked away in a small building on busy Kent Street, Mazarine has taken over the spot formerly occupied by Coriander Thai Cuisine. While there’s little walk-by traffic, there are plenty of houses and condos nearby.
Open since September 2019, Mazarine bills itself as a place for brunch, lunch, and cocktails. Those cocktails must be for early drinkers, as its opening hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. on weekends. With charming little vases of fresh flowers on every table, wooden bistro chairs, and walls painted a fresh blue and white, there’s a Greek bistro look to the place. Mazarine offers a short menu of Mediterranean-inspired food, which changes with the seasons and features ingredients sourced from local suppliers such as Sloane Tea, Happy Goat coffee, Bread By Us, Dominion City Brewing, Buchipop, Top Shelf Preserves, and Ottawa Edible Flowers.
There are, of course, the brunch stalwarts: eggs Florentine with spinach and gravlax, a Mediterranean omelette with everything but the kitchen sink, and a full traditional breakfast. There’s also a shakshuka, a classic dish of flavourful homemade tomato sauce and two poached eggs, served with excellent toasted sourdough bread from Bread by Us.
Avocado and mushroom toasts are both served on this sourdough, with labneh (thick yogurt), pine nuts, and za’atar on the avocado; the mushroom toast comes with Parmesan cheese and balsamic drizzle. Another dish, yogurt fatteh, comes with fried pita pieces, earthy chickpeas, yogurt, and refreshing fresh mint.
A sweet potato soup is more purée than soup, but it’s well seasoned, comes with floating croutons, and is a good, warm dish. The two main dishes I ate — lemon chicken skewers and lamb sandwich — come with beet hummus, roasted potatoes, and other Mediterranean vegetables such as olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It’s simple food, but it’s good.
Mazarine belongs to Selina Qaqish and Yesmine El-Ayoubi, friends who met at Algonquin College when studying for a hospitality and tourism management degree. Both have worked elsewhere in the industry, including at the Delta Hotel, the Westin, and the food and beverage department of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. El-Ayoubi’s father works in the industry; the pair knew what they were getting into.
Mazarine is a good bet for reasonably priced, uncomplicated Mediterranean-inspired food and is a nice place to enjoy a cocktail with brunch.
Mazarine, 282 Kent St.
Open Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday.