Skip to content

Review: Play Food and Wine

1 York Street, Ottawa – (613) 667-9207  – Website

Play Food 1

Date of Visit:  March 11, 2013

I was tempted to visit this place on a couple of past trips to Ottawa and finally got around to it on my most recent excursion to the capital. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not, having perused their website a few times, but I actually had a very nice time and enjoyed a really pleasant meal…

Ambience and Service

Play Food 2

Play Food is a fairly small establishment, seating about 40 or so. It features a minimalist style of décor, with an eclectic collection of wall art, but, while it is sparsely furnished, it manages to avoid being austere. Being quite long and narrow, it would not be an easy space to work with but I found that the floor plan was not well used. The tables are very tiny (always a pet-peeve with me) and, given that there is so much wasted floor space, I think they could easily increase the table size without making the place cramped.

I arrived in the early afternoon and the place was about half-filled. I was seated and attended to promptly and, throughout my stay, the service was very friendly. My waiter helpfully explained the menu and was always on hand without being overly intrusive.

The Food

This restaurant is primarily a Wine bar with a small but interesting selection of ‘small plate’ savory dishes, some sweets, and customizable cheese and charcuterie plates. The wine selection is fairly extensive (there are also some nice beers to choose from) and each dish on the menu has a suggested wine pairing. My waiter explained to me that the savory dishes are listed in order of ascending ‘heaviness’.

Play Food 3

Play Food and Wine is a sister restaurant to Beckta and Gezellig. (neither of which I have visited as yet). One of these (I forget which) makes the bread for all three establishments and the complimentary slices I was served were excellent. The crumb was very dense and moist and had a lovely malty richness to it. It might be less popular with those who prefer a lighter, fluffier crumb but I really enjoyed it and the main challenge was not eating too much.

Play Food 4

Little Neck Clams with Linguine, Mushrooms, Miso, Garlic and Soffrito – This was a lovely dish. The soffrito was a bit misnamed, being quite large chunks of carrot and celery (rather than a sautéed fine ‘battuto’), but the lovely wine based buttery broth with the large slices of mild garlic was a real treat. My only criticism was that linguine was probably not the best choice here as it really needed a thicker ‘clingier’ sauce and something a little better suited to ‘mopping’ up the juices (polenta perhaps) would be an improvement.

Play Food 5

The clams used in this were a variety I have not come across before and were deliciously sweet and tender. They may actually have been a bit too delicate for this treatment (even though the sauce was very subtle), but I still enjoyed them very much. The wine suggestion was a Casale Marchese Frascati and it was indeed a good pairing being sharply crisp with nice fennel notes. I actually thought it one of the nicest white wines I have tasted. Despite any of my above noted criticisms, I felt the wine and the dish each rated a solid 5 out of 5.

Play Food 6

Pork Belly with Kimchi, Sweet Potato and Candied Pecan – I can’t say I enjoyed this dish as much as the previous one but it was still very interesting. The sweet potato was just a smear of puree as a base and was a bit bland. The Kimchi was, I believe, a ‘quick pickle’ variety and was quite nicely tart, while the candied pecan was a brief dusting as a garnish. The pork belly chunks were quite thickly cut and, by themselves, tasted no different than the rashers I typically serve with breakfast. Taken together, all the components worked quite nicely together but I really felt the pork belly should have been cut a little thinner and given a glaze or other flavor treatment independently of the other accompaniments. The dish was a novel conception and, even though I felt the execution needs tweaking, I still thought it deserved a rating of 4 out of 5.

Overall

Play Food and Wine is a delightful little place and well worth a visit. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food and I would happily return. Taking into consideration the excellent service and ambience, I gave it a 5 out of 5.

 

Play Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great review, very detailed and nicely written. This looks like the kind of place I’d enjoy! Gezellig is a very Dutch word?! Didn’t you have wine with the pork as well?

    March 18, 2013
  2. I did actually … just forgot to include it. The recommendation was a Mittnacht-Klack Gewürztraminer but the waiter said it was a bit sweet and I seemd to recall having it in the past and not being impressed. Instead, I went with a 2009 La Quercia Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, which was possibly not an ideal pairing but I rather liked it. As it turned out, when I went back and checked my wine tasting records, it was a Mittnacht-Klack Riesling I didn’t care for so the original recommendation may have been alright.

    March 18, 2013
  3. enjoyed this

    March 18, 2013
    • Thank you. I am sure I will be back. I gather the menu changes quite regularly.

      March 18, 2013
  4. Good review…the clams look like ones we get here in New England that are called mahogany clams.

    March 18, 2013
  5. As a designer, the logo strikes me as very odd for an eating establishment. It must have taken the willpower of 100 saints not to design a playful logo. Small tables are a pet peeve of mine too. Especially when you’ve got wine glasses, other drinks, water and more than 1 tasting plate each.

    March 18, 2013
  6. feochadan #

    Sooooo… who makes better Kimchi? Me or them? LOL

    March 19, 2013
  7. Interesting place! The outside does not look too attractive. Glad you found this enjoyable. Wine does matter!

    March 19, 2013
    • Actually, it is quite a handsome building. Just not a great picture.

      March 19, 2013
  8. Looks nice! Pasta and clams are one of my favorites. We get little necks down here. They are yummy.

    March 24, 2013

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Sybaritica

Celebrating all things culinary ...

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that other cooking blog

food and photography : a documented journey

REMCooks

My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with some restaurant reviews

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Living, Cooking, and Baking

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny. Eats. Design.

A blog loosely based on food, long eared critters and graphics

DENTIST CHEF

Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?

Chefsopinion

Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Home Cooking From Asian American Kitchens

HolyPrettyApple

If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes

Rabbitcancook

a recipe sharing and bento blog

benleeirene

Just another WordPress.com site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!

food for thought

home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine

FOODTRAIL

A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations

bcfoodieblogger

Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

My food blog - written in Dublin, Ireland

Gourmandistan

A fabled land of farmers, farm shares, fancy (and not so fancy) restaurants, family meals, food projects and more.

rubyzkitchen

Great Food, Good Wine, Memorable Times

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 636 other followers

%d bloggers like this: