♫ “halloumi, loves hal–louv‘-you”, a song from my heart as I had a squeaky bite of the combination of halloumi and tart preserved cranberries.
READ MORE: What else we ate, saw and loved in Ottawa
I felt absolutely spoilt by our dishes at Fairouz, this wasn’t fair. As our first evening in Ottawa, on a rainy Friday night with no expectations, we sought refuge in the stairs dining space. Great, now we’ve started the trip with the first meal being absolutely unbeatable.
Accompanied by fellow blogger, Krystal (of Dine & Fash) while visiting Ottawa with Metro for the Junos; I took her word for it that we should go by the plate — that is, if the plating on the Instagram feed of this place is right, it’s a go! By that rule, it turned out better than I imagined.
First off, service was excellent. I learnt that there were three previous failed restaurants before Fairouz, and since 2016, it’s here to stay as it takes #46 on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants list. That was a discovery half way through the evening.
I’m a newcomer to the Middle Eastern fine-dining scene. I have not dined at one location in Toronto, yet (Byblos and Tabule…). But after experiencing this meal, I have prioritized it as a must, for that next merry occasion!
As for what we ordered, Krystal was the subject matter expert, so she took the reigns in ordering what she believed would be a good array of choices:
From 12 o’clock: Monforte Halloumi, Preserved Lemon Labneh (served with 2 pieces of pita), Kushbashi Kebab & Batirik Bulgur Kofte
The Kofte was the first I’ve ever had, created by a press in the fist, and laid in a leaf of lettuce to counter the acidity. This dish was phenomenal, and I was so happy that we had six amongst ourselves. I’ve never had such a tangy, refreshing bite like this, it’s certainly one that I now have high expectations for!
Very surprisingly, I thought this dip/spread, the preserved lemon labneh would be my favourite, but it wasn’t. It was much too sour, and I do like my sours, but this was over the top. Muted with a mouthful of the other dishes, this was okay to lightly dabble on a bite.
As for the kebab, the “kushbashi”, it was absolutely ridiculous how tender it was. Just one slice of it, and I prepared it for a bite in a wrap. Everything was so right with this.
And of course, I had to have a welcome of Ottawa’s craft beer scene! It started here. With the Velocipede, an IPA by Bicycle Brewery — it was the perfect counterbalance to my already flavoursome meal as it was slightly sweet and sharp in bitterness in itself!
My standards are now set, for every future middle eastern restaurant, my only question would be — is it as fair as Fairouz?