Boxty at the Sir John A. Pub in Ottawa
The Sir John A. Pub in Ottawa is named after Sir John A. MacDonald, who was Canada’s first Prime Minister. It is somewhat apt that the Pub be named after him as the old gentleman was something of a renowned, and the building sits not ten minutes walk from Parliament Hill. In any event, I stopped in to sample a few Beers one afternoon and ended up staying for supper. I was glad that I did as the Boxty I was served was new to me and I ended up enjoying it very much.
The Pub, by the way, is a very pleasant, cozy sort of place with lots of dark wood-panelling. The bar serves quite a good number of local beers, many of which I had not tried before, and there also a good selection Single Malts available. The food menu runs mainly to burgers, sandwiches and pizza, but there is also a selection of entrees running an eclectic gamut from Fish and Chips to Guinness Peppercorn Steak. There are also 16 entries under the title ‘Starters and Snacks’ and these include Deep Fried Pickles and the interesting sounding Philly Beef Poutine. I almost chose the latter but then decided on the Boxty.
For those unfamiliar, Boxty is an Irish dish that is essentially a potato pancake. I have read about it before, and seen many recipes, but up until my visit to Sir John’s I had never tried it. Sometimes it is served with just butter and sugar, like the more common breakfast pancake, but it is also served folded over savory fillings as well.
At the Sir John A., their version is filled with Grilled Sirloin, Onions, Mushrooms and Peppers, and topped with Guinness Peppercorn Gravy. The Boxty itself was much lighter in texture than I expected and it would probably have been almost spongy if a bit thicker. I liked the texture and the rather delicate taste.
The Beef inside was just a little tough, unfortunately, but it was still very tasty and the Onions, while sweet from grilling, still retained a little crunch, which I very much liked. The gravy had a bit of a powdered mix taste to it but the peppercorns added a nice lively sparkle and I really enjoyed the meal as a whole. The Boxty at the Sir John A. was not only tasty, but very filling and the fries that came with it went largely untouched.