One of the latest additions to Ottawa’s restaurant scene, is the stony walled, microbrewery, The Mill Street Brew Pub. Excited about its proximity to my humble abode, it took about 15 minutes to stroll over to the old Mill to find it newly restored and decorated with a Mill Street sign hanging above its black steel doorway. The exterior is romantically lit and, I must say, presents an illusion that is short-lived. Upon entrance, the illusion fades away and you will realize that you are in fact walking into a micro-brewery, with upholstered booths and traditional pub fare. You will also be greeted with the spectacle of enormous copper vats, the vessels in which Mill St. beer finds place to ferment.
To get a close up view of these tanks, Mill Street offers free brewery tours everyday at 5 and 5:30 pm.
As suspected the menu reflected traditional pub fare, but I was happy to see a few spins on old favourites. The pork carnitas, served as trio, are flour tortilla wraps with pulled pork, salsa, and guacamole. Another highlight was the piggy flatbread, topped with pulled pork, smoked pork belly and chorizo. Of the appetizers I tried, I have to sing praise to the calamari which – at this point- claims the throne for best calamari in the city.
There are 14 beers on tap, serving a few of my favourite brews: Belgian Whit, Organic Lager and the Vanilla Porter (though delicious, this porter can be saved as a sweet ending as its vanilla flavour is prominent). The flights of beer allows you try a selection of your favourites and keeps your taste-buds guessing.
The service, unfortunately, has consistently let me down. Each time I’ve visited the server greets us promptly, takes our order with a friendly smile and the food flies out of the kitchen. After the plates hit our table, that is the last we will see of our server.The plates, after being almost licked clean, remain on our table for an extended period of time. And waving our waiter down for the bill leaves a sour taste in my mouth. This is one thing that Mill Street needs to work on.
Aside from the service, the food is good, the beer is cold and, hey, it’s a stone’s throw from my pad. In a nutshell, I wouldn’t rule the old mill out for a night out.