Have you heard about it? Have you tasted their food? Have you gone to Ballygiblin’s?
It’s a modern little restaurant with a boutique feel, casual attitude and some outstanding food. It’s in a beautiful little country village called Carleton Place just southwest of
Ottawa and if you’re inclined to take in the country, there’s a charming stone inn on the main intersection with a cozy outdoor patio that’s perfect for people watching in the sleepy little village.
It’s the quintessential country experience and Ballygiblin’s is located among the quaint shops on the main street decorated with pretty hanging flowers. Surrounded by farms and fields, Executive Chef Roger Weldon cherry picks the best producers and lines up his menu to reflect the best flavours the region has to offer.
He has an obsession for planning his menu’s from what he can find from local farmers. I met Roger at Alpenblick Farm where he introduced me to one of his food sources before dinner.
Alpenblick is a natural farm.
The animals roam freely so you have to close the gate behind you when your come or go. Roger wasn’t wearing the traditional white chefs jacket but a t-shirt that said “Eat Local”.
Thought he was a bit cheeky wearing that while he walked among the cows and sheep.Farmers Robert Oechsli and Petra Stevenson raise their animals in a safe, natural way and the resulting meat just can’t be compared says Roger.
Back at the restaurant the large black menu says Ballygiblin’s is “linking pleasure and food awareness and responsibility with agriculture and ecology”. What that means is that Chef Weldon not only knows where his food comes from, but that he selects farms that have respect for the animals and natural food production practices – it leaves a good taste in your mouth.
We started with maple planked brie with market raspberries. It was cheese from Alpenblick Farm, Robert himself makes a small amount of hand crafted cheeses and sells it to a few lucky customers. As far as I know, Ballygiblin’s is one of the few places you can get Roberts brie – it’s worth the effort – it’s not to rich and big in flavour. A refreshing change to the commercial types.
Next we all had burgers! Hand made 1 ½-inch thick beef patties, all natural, fully organic burgers made from Alpenlick farm beef. I had lots of hot peppers just picked from the field, cheddar and sour cream to help with the heat. Difficult to eat, it was piled high and sandwiched between two slices of thick artisan bread – yum! It comes with “made from scratch”, ketchup, maple mustard, sweet relish and house mayo.
Ask about the food and it’s like a guided tour to the neighboring farms. The menu includes interesting tidbits of info like, “Did you know that Roger went to Terra Madre in 2008!” and “Find locally produced foods that have traveled fewer miles from field – market – kitchen. These foods have a smaller carbon foot print or “FOOD PRINT”.” They’re just so in love with local flavours!
Make a reservation, I was there on a Sunday evening and the place was packed! It’s refreshing to find such a delicious locavore restaurant at a comfortable and reasonable price level. They don’t all have to be five-star dining establishments.
Ballygiblin’s – Eat Local, 151 Bridge Street, Carleton Place, ON, 613-253-7400, www.ballygiblins.ca