Monday, December 22, 2014

Backdrop Food & Drink (Review)

Approaching its first anniversary, I finally had the chance to lunch at Backdrop Food & Drink. Located at 160 Metcalfe Street, Backdrop replaced the Italian restaurant Chianti back in January of this year. It is run by the same owners as Grounded Kitchen and CoffeeHouse (which is one of my favourite lunch spots), so I had high hopes for this restaurant.

While I was intrigued by the outside of this new spot with its eye-catching sign and charming brick, I was less impressed with the inside décor. The tables and chairs were scattered throughout the restaurant with no apparent rhyme or reason, some on different levels and at different heights. My first thought when I walked in was that I mistakenly entered a club. Black and white walls with red curtains framed the room. While some could argue that the restaurant is hip and trendy, I would be more inclined to call it eclectic and somewhat tacky. I was not a fan of the PVC piping that was mounted around the top of the bar. Nor was I fan of the stage in the middle of the room, which was lined with four high steel-topped tables. Of course, that’s just where we happened to be seated, on display for all to see, with red spotlights shining down on us from above.

Although I was somewhat taken aback by the ambience and décor, I was impressed by the lunch menu. Not only did I like the format and design of the menu itself, I also enjoyed the numerous food options, which all sounded delicious and made it quite difficult for me to order. While the options go in many directions, even your pickiest friend would be able to find something appealing here.

After receiving some advice from the waitress, I decided to go with the Noodles for $17 and my dining companion went with the Pork Ribs for $16. The Noodles consisted of 4 large shrimp, egg, peanut satay, an array of vegetables and vermicelli. It was a very healthy serving of noodles, and the flavours were great. It had a little bit of kick to it, but not too much. I was very satisfied with my meal, but I wasn’t able to finish even half of it.
Noodles ($17)
The Pork Ribs also looked delicious, which were cooked in a smoked maple tea sauce and served with stout cornbread, fennel slaw, and a choice of fries, soup or salad. (You can tell from the below picture that we couldn’t wait to dig in before snapping a shot!).  
Pork Ribs ($16)
Overall, my experience at Backdrop did not live up to my high expectations. Even though the food was tasty, the service was mediocre and nothing special. The bizarre and misguided décor and stage in the middle of the restaurant also brought down my rating. I am willing, however, to give it another shot, either for brunch or dinner, whose menus look equally appealing.

Verdict: 6/10 – great menu with lots of choice, but unusual club ambience

Hours: Monday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm; Saturday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm; Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Price: Lunch options range from $12-$24

Backdrop Food and Drink, 160 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, ON

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