I've been hearing and reading a lot of good things about The Albion Rooms. This is a restaurant tucked inside the lobby of the Novotel Hotel downtown. The Albion Rooms has Chef Stephen La Salle at the helm. He is from Ottawa and studied at Algonquin college and has been chef here since 2013. He focuses on using locally grown, and sourced ingredients in his dishes. My day job brought me to the Novotel for a day-long meeting; we ended early so a bunch of us decided to have a drink. The Albion Rooms is divided up into two parts bar/lounge and dining area. The bar/lounge area has a mix of comfy leather couches, big arm-chairs in the middle with a few small tables bordering. The atmosphere was very cozy and rustic with lots of wood and dark accents. It didn’t feel much like a hotel lobby at all. One of the main features was the walk-in glass cooler housing the charcuterie meats and cheeses. The drink menu had great variety of things to choose from. I did notice that they even had two "driving cocktails”. One was a fruity drink with fresh berry mixed with Harvey & Verns ginger beer and the other was a cold coffee brew with spice maple. As a person who doesn't drink, this was very refreshing to see on the menu; it's a nice change from pop or juice.
We decided to stay for dinner, so we moved to the main dining room (a small, intimate space) behind the bar. Our server (Michael) was AMAZING! He was full of energy, very knowledgeable about the menu and kept us laughing all night. (Side note: Michael is one of the reasons I wanted to check out The Albion Rooms. Michael came to our Dine for a Cause event last November and told us to all about it. I’m glad that he was there when we went! After a full-day of hotel conference food, we decided to share a few appetizers. We were a group of five (which included fellow Foodie Girlz Jenny and Tanya). We decided on the following: Our charcuterie board came on a classic wooden board. Aside from the meats it included a variety of yummy house pickled things (carrots, cauliflower, and turnip), and grainy mustard. The salmon was resting on a generous helping of crème fresh and covered with tasty capers and pickled onions.
Next, we got a double-order for both the scotch egg and the trice cooked chips. I had heard a lot of great things about their scotch egg.
What is a scotch egg? It’s a hard-boiled egg wrapped in meat mixture, then coated in bread crumbs and either baked or fried.
This one was made of fresh chorizo, a six-minute egg, served with a fresh coriander chimichurri. All five of us agreed that this was REALLY good. They were cut in half so that we could see the different layers of it. The meat and breadcrumb surrounded the brilliant yellow yolk, still a little runny in the centre (this is how it’s supposed to be). This scotch egg was delightful. We would definitely recommend this and come back for it.
The trice cooked chips were recommended by Michael and what a great choice. In my mind, I thought they were going to be like traditional chips but I was pleasantly surprised that they were more like potato wedges. They were tossed in parmesan and the perfect amount of smoked salt. After trying one, I didn’t really want to share.
As always, we could not resist the urge for dessert when asked! After sampling all the choices, my personal favourite was the Pot de Crème. Served in a small glass jar, the crème was smooth and silky white chocolate with a hint of maple. So good, I couldn’t stop eating it. The jar was surrounded and topped with curious white chocolate balls that has had crispy crunch to them. Each of the desserts was very different so it really depends on personal preference, I think. We ordered
Overall, we had a great first experience here. Our out-of-town guests were very pleased with everything it had to offer. As the night went on, it got very busy in both the bar and dinner area. With the hustle and bustle, I should note that it got a bit loud so if you are planning for a romantic, quiet dinner then maybe this isn’t that suitable for you. I didn’t mind the noise and I would DEFINITELY recommend either stopping here for a drink and light snacks or plan for a longer visit and have dinner. I’ll certainly be back!
MORE ABOUT THE RESTAURANT
Name: The Albion Rooms
Address: 33 Nicholas Street (Inside Novotel Hotel)
Reservations: Yes (Email or Call)
Parking: Street parking or parking lot