My pal Alyssa and I met up on Saturday afternoon to take a few quick outfit shots. The day was sunny and hot, the kind of perfect summer day that we had been dying for since experiencing one of the coldest and longest Ottawa winters on record. Outdoor outfit shoots in Ottawa in January = immediate hypothermia.
We wrapped up shooting and decided to walk down Daly Street to check out the new Hotel Le Germain and Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), two modern and beautiful buildings that complement each other well. Popping into the OAG quickly, we wanted to see how Jackson, Ottawa’s newest fine dining establishment was coming along. As we entered, heads turned upwards at the sky-high ceilings, we marveled at how absolutely gorgeous it was.
And then I spotted the cocktails and managed to convince Alyssa to have one with me. Well, one cocktail turned into four, and soon we were giggling while inhaling a selection of delicious appetizers. Totally my kinda day.
Jackson treated us to roasted cauliflower on a bed of puréed chick pea and black beans garnished with watermelon radishes, a bowl of vegan vichyssoise topped with mushrooms and beets, and some of the best salmon poke I’ve ever had. The only thing better than the food was the presentation! Everything looked almost too good to eat.
The service was also wonderful. The servers took their time explaining each dish and cocktail, along with the chef’s philosophy of using locally-sourced ingredients and sustainable seafood for their dishes. All dishes on the menu are inspired by art within the gallery too. If that isn’t original, I don’t know what is.
While eating this delicious bounty, I took in the gorgeous surroundings! I can safely say that Jackson is the most beautiful dining experience I’ve had in Ottawa. The space is big, bright and airy and the decor includes beautiful plants, geodes and semi-precious stones to match the marble-topped tables and po-mo furniture. I could have easily moved right in.
For me, my favourite part of the meal was the fresh and vibrant salmon poke salad mixed with avocado and topped off with crisp alfalfa. Our refreshing Spring Song cocktails were perfect for the warm afternoon with their citrusy, cucumber flavour and the Colonial Drift cocktail was nothing short of divine. Each dish is flavourful and completely unique which is no surprise as Chef John Leung is impressive.
Chef Leung’s career spans more than 20 years. He has served at premier dining establishments around the world, including the official residence of the British High Commissioner, National Gallery of Canada, Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, Daniel Restaurant in New York City, and Nobu in London, England. He has also prepared meals for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Julia Child, and for the Governor General’s Awards.
I highly recommend a visit to the OAG to take in the beautiful space along with treating yourself to a meal at Jackson. You won’t regret it. Try to get there on Fridays at noon too for free rooftop yoga. Get your savasana on before a enjoying a great meal! The gallery is free to visit, open 9am – 9pm daily and take advantage of their free gallery tours!
Jackson is located within the Ottawa Art Gallery at 10 Daly Street. The gallery itself is located at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON. Want to make a reservation? Call 613-680-5225 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.