I can’t believe it’s the second week of January 2013 and I’ve already visited two of the restaurants on my list! I feel fabulous! Last week, I made a conscious effort to drag my hubby to Bowness just so we could enjoy the delicious food NOtaBLE had to offer. This weekend, we took the children to the opening of Andy Warhol: The Athlete Series at MOCA and, since we were ‘close’ to 17th Ave, they begged for a visit to the Freak Lunchbox. It was surely divine intervention that led us to a parking spot smack in front of Ox and Angela. While hubby was plugging the meter, I had time to run in and peruse the menu. It didn’t take me long to figure out a visit here would be preferable to a lunch poutine! We walked the couple of blocks to the candy store and the kids bought enough to rot their teeth and expand their gut while hubby and I chatted about lunch options. Okay, I admit it, I basically told him we were having lunch at Ox and Angela. I’m really glad our kids are older now (12 and 14) and that they’ve been enough places and have had a lot of food experiences. They had their first ‘truffle experience’ at the Mundaring truffle festival near Perth, Western Australia. I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t munching on truffled sausages and arancini when I was ten years old! I can count on them not to make a fuss about trying something new and to be able to appreciate quality, texture and flavour and also to have an intelligent discussion about what they are eating.
Bearing that in mind, it was difficult to decide which dishes we would try. I though it best to start out in the ‘safe zone’ and decided our first dish would be bread. Simple, carby deliciousness and no one complained. It was lovely and light, chewy and crusty at the same time and, as if that wasn’t enough we had a small dish of olive oil and another of sel gris in which to dip it. While I’ve had the standard oil and balsamic dip and also olive oil with dukka, this was yummy on a whole other level. After the first bite of bread I was extremely tempted to tell the waitperson to bring us one of everything on the menu! It was mid afternoon, and time enough to order a glass of vino for both hubby and I. Being a fan of Malbec, I opted for the Tiera Secreta from Argentina and hubby went for the white. Kid one ordered water, kid two…ordered the iced chai and then kid one decided he needed a chai as well. Now, we are all ready for some tapas! Eventually we settled on: Cod and Potato Fritters, Mushrooms on Toast, Lamb Meat Balls, Scallops, and Asparagus. First up, the Cod Fritters. Since there were four of us and most of the tapas come in threes we had to order an extra in each dish. It was a little bit $$$, but better than seeing the kids duke it out over one measly little morsel. Four golden orbs, perched on top of a fluffy lemon aioli bed and spring onions (wait, there were onions?) So crispy on the outside but not greasy at all. The inside was delicious fish heaven, hardly a potato bit in site and I did have to stop the kids from eating the rest of the aioli all on it’s own. They thought it was divine! In fact, this was the one dish we ordered twice.
Next up Mushrooms on Toast. Really not very ‘edgy’ in the world of tapas. This is actually one of my favourite things to make for breakfast. Of course having someone make it for me, on delicious fresh bread, sauteed mushrooms, arugula and with a free form poached egg… wouldn’t make me hesitate to order it again. The egg may have been a bit overdone but that may be a personal preference as I like to watch the yolk ooze down around to make a sauce. At home, I sautee spinach instead of arugula and poach my eggs in pods.
The priciest tapas on our table was the Scallop dish. Those scallops were probably the most perfectly cooked scallops I have ever had. Pure bliss. On mushy peas? hmmm. Yes, it works! I loved how they went with the sweetness of the scallops and within the peas, a hint of spice, citrus and mint. The Serrano ham lent a salt, hammy element while the cherry tomatoes added a further acidic hit. Lovely. I could eat them all day!
I loved the presentation of these four gorgeous meatballs. So colourful and lucious looking. Sadly, this was our least favourite dish of the visit. And really, that is saying something because they were quite delicious. They had an amazing light meaty texture and a faint hint of harissa. I think more could be done with the sauce or maybe just more sauce. I don’t know but I probably wouldn’t order them again. The kids vowed that a second visit was in order so that we could try the other tapas on the menu, except for re-ordering the Fritters…and the Asparagus…and the Scallops.
I have saved the best for last! The Asparagus dish, with grated Manchengo, citrus and poached egg was absolutely phenomenal. Kid one picked up on the truffles right away. I was really glad to see that the chef had grilled the asparagus (not steamed) and that the egg was perfectly poached so that the dish arrived with its’ own private saucier. I would have ordered another in a heartbeat but instead, we were content to order more bread so that we could mop up the ‘egg sauce’ and prolong the truffly goodness. While we were waiting for the bread, I almost forgot my manners and picked up the plate to lick it clean. It was THAT good.
This photo is from the Ox and Angela website as I was too lost by this point to photograph the dish of the day.
OX & ANGELA RESTAURANT | TAPAS
528 17th Avenue S.W.
PHONE: 403.457.1432 | FAX: 403.457.1433
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open 7 days a week for Lunch, Dinner & Late Night
Sun – Thurs | 11:30AM – MIDNIGHT
Fri & Sat | 11:30AM – 2AM