Earlier this month, Ottawa Foodie Girlz celebrated our first anniversary. Of course we celebrated the occasion by going out for dinner! In honour of the grand occasion we chose Beckta as our anniversary dining venue. Beckta’s original location opened in 2003 on Nepean Street. But, in late 2014, after a three-year search and spending millions on renovations, Beckta opened in its new/old location at 150 Elgin Street, the famed Grant House and former location of Friday’s Roast Beef house. The building was originally built in 1875 for Dr. James Grant and his wife Maria and their 11 children. Grant was the doctor to every governor general from 1867 to 1905 and also later a Member of Parliament. According to legend, Grant (who was asthmatic) haunts the halls with the sound of chronic coughing and an eerie presence.
Owner, Stephen Beckta has two other restaurants in Ottawa, Play Food & Wine and Gellizig. When you hear the name Stephen Beckta you think fine dining. He and his restaurants have won numerous awards and accolades over the years including the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition twice, in 2007 and 2010. Beckta remains the most award-winning restaurant in the nation’s capital. From the moment you step into the 140-year-old mansion the rich history of the building, and the uniqueness of Beckta are apparent. The restaurant still has many of its originally features like high ceilings, crown molding and so much more. The current décor Is sleek and classic showcasing the historic charm and grace while infusing modern elegance. Our party of seven was lucky to be seated in one of Beckta’s four private dining rooms located on the 2nd floor. I worked with their event planner and prearranged to have some bubbly and apps ready for the ladies upon arrival -- a thank you for their hard work and contributions to the fundraising efforts of Ottawa Foodie Girlz this past year. It made for an excellent start to the evening.
Left top: Mocktail with cranberry, apple, and soda water garnished with apple. Left middle: Artisanal cheese. Left bottom: Rainbow carrots, sunchoke and sunflower hummus, black garlic, cold-pressed sunflower oil. Bottom middle: Juniper Farm breakfast radishes, espresso butter, lemon zest. Main picture: Prosecco.
We chose a three course-dining menu and with seven of us we were able to experience almost every item on the menu. Here’s a look at what we had for our first and second courses:
Middle: Rainbow trout, smoked “à la minute”, apple-bacon jam, toasted shaved almonds, arugula, sherry vinegar reduction. Top right: Juniper Farms’ greens, grilled corn vinaigrette, C'est Bon chèvre, baby radish, blistered olives. Middle: Baby Yukon gold potato & leed soup, brandade, beachpea leaf, fried sea bean. Bottom right: Smoked margret duck breast, radish, raw cruciferous flower honey, toasted oats, marinated citrus, and black currants
This is probably the best chicken I have ever had! Free-range chicken breast, whey marinated & wrapped in crépinette, fine herbs, french beans, crispy skin, sea bean, oyster plant purée, shiitake demi glace
A highlight of our evening is when Stephen Beckta stopped in to meet us. We had just finished our main courses and he explained the secret behind the to-die-for chicken we’d just had. He also talked a bit about the history of the building and that coincidently there were other celebrations going on including a special birthday party on the first floor for members of Dr. Grant’s family.
The beauty of being in a group of seven is being able to share all of the desserts. We finished off the night with the third course:
Left top: Corn grit Baumkuchen, blueberry basil compote, jalapeño corn syrup, salted brown butter, cinnamon cornflakes, sweet corn ice cream. Left middle: Gelato Left bottom: Roasted Ontario peach, citrus-poached Ontario peach, lemon Earl Grey posset, crêpe chips, pink lemonade sorbet. Bottom middle: S’mores, chocolate budino, torched lime meringue, buckwheat graham, smoked caramel, blackberry gastrique, chocolate marshmallow cake Bottom right: Selection of artisanal Cheeses. Middle: Frozen Nanaimo bar, cookie butter, coconut walnut pocky, coffee syrup
We also received a very sweet gesture from Beckta in honour of our anniversary.
Everything we had that evening was spot-on and simply delicious. The service was impeccable. Our server was never far away and was very knowledge about the wine selection and menu. He was very patient with all of us when deciding on wine pairing and our three courses. Whether you are planning a celebration, want a nice night out for dinner, or even drinks and snacks, we would definitely recommend that everyone experience Beckta. There are several options for you including their wine bar, lunch a-la-carte menu, or three ($68) or five ($95) course dinner menus. Our first anniversary dinner at Beckta is one that we will not soon forget. Thanks to Stephen Beckta and the staff at Beckta for making it a truly special occasion!