Sunday, May 14, 2017

Eating up the Hill: Flavours of Canada (Atlantic) buffet

I've missed the last few fancy buffets at the Parliamentary Restaurant, including the buffet meant to welcome the arrival of spring -- probably appropriate, as spring has yet to actually arrive in Ottawa. Still, when an Atlantic Canada theme was offered up last Friday as part of the restaurant's Flavours of Canada series a visit was definitely in order.

As an Atlantic buffet there was definitely a heavy seafood component, so with unanimous consent I waived my usual no seafood unless I can smell saltwater rule and dug in.

Beginning with the salad table, I wearily eyed the Ice Shrimp Salad but decided to pile some on, along with some macaroni salad -- passed on the marinated mussels. The macaroni salad was standard reliable fare but the Ice Shrimp Salad was a pleasant surprise -- better quality shrimp them I've had in some time.

Next up were some cheese and crackers -- standard Hill fare but I was glad to see my favourite rye cranberry crips were back -- they don't make an appearance at every buffet. In fact, sometimes they don't put out any crackers at all to accompany the cheese. While they're always happy to bring crackers on request, which I appreciate, the crackers are more of a must than a nice to have.

I passed on the Scotch Eggs because I don't like eggs. This was a very eggy buffet -- Atlantic Canadians must love their eggs -- as I had to puck egg chunks out of the macaroni salad too. I passed on the Cheddar Cheese Quiche for the same reason. Often, I can do the quiche if it's a crispy quiche, but this was a particularly eggy quiche.

Which was OK, because it meant more space for the Glasgow Glen Peppercorn Gouda Mac and Cheese. It was delicious, and I had several helpings which left me wishing an afternoon nap was possible. Now, the waiter teased us by saying it was lobster mac and cheese which, along with being culturally appropriate, would have been freaking awesome. The cook quickly corrected him though. Maybe next time.

And capping off the entree round was Baked Nova Scotia Salmon with egg sauce. After inquires were made, this was confirmed to be farmed Atlantic salmon. While I am, of course, fiercely loyal to wild BC salmon, in the interests of diplomacy I still partook -- after all, fish is brain food and these are challenging times. It was good, but salmon should still be grilled -- after bring caught in the wild in British Columbia.

For desert, already fighting the urge to nap after a mac and cheese overdose, I limited myself to a slie of Haskap Berry Pie. It was good; an appropriate palate cleanser.

An enjoyable lunch, and it was food to see the dining room packed more than usual. But next time, less eggs, more meat please.

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