There are two pub chains in Ottawa that you seem to be able to throw a stick anywhere in the city and hit. One is the Heart and Crown, while the other is the Royal Oak. We attended the Wellington location pub, nestled in the heart of the Westboro area of Ottawa. We were having a late dinner and the place was pretty packed when we got there. We took a table by the window, which viewed what is normally their patio.
The inside decor was classy British Pub: hard wood, dark, but very clean and sophisticated feel. The majority of patrons appeared to be baby boomers and older, with a few 30 somethings in the crowd. Their own website describes the location as an "upscale Oak is panelled in rich dark mahogany with an impressive oval-shaped bar. Lighting is a highlight of the interior as two sides have floor to ceiling glass walls and two glass garage doors that open to our L-shaped patio. Very popular with civil servants and hospital staff during the day, and the local crowd at night. " Yup, seemed about right. Our server 'Wendy' was friendly, prompt and attentive without doting on us too much. We ordered our appetizer and food, and in a short while, we were eating.
We split an appetizer of deep fried pickles. This is one of my favourite accompaniments to wings and I couldn't resist this order of 6 spears.
Not only were they coated in a perfectly seasoned blanket of breading, the dip they came with was a Royal Oak house dip. Delicious I say. It was some sort of creamy garlic aioli/ranch type and I wanted more. The pickles were freakin hot (temperature) but given a few minutes to cool down, they were gone in no time.
The Royal Oak is celebrating its 28th anniversary and is having a "Best of Britain" special celebrating traditional British fare. LJ went with their "Two Bangers in a Blanket", which translates as 2 battered, deep fried sausages with fries.
There was a 'healthy' amount of battering on these sausages, and they were big enough to begin with. The sausage was juicy and tasty, but mild in flavour. LJ described these as "good" and "a nice twist on traditional British fare." The fries were equally tasty but the whole thing was so much, even I had to help and we still couldn't finish this plate. Yes I was helping because I had enough room from eating my wings.
2008 THE SCORE 3.0:
Deep fried, traditional pub style
$9.99 for 10
$17.99 for 20
Suicide (3rd Degree sauce) had some bite
Dry – not much sauce except for my side of suicide
Crisp – they were deep fried right
Ok – bottled 3rd Degree is good, Hot was strange
Sour cream again!
Napkins, and that’s it
Mon/Tues and Sens tv games, $5.99 for 10 after 5pm
Just barely passed the ok mark
Royal Oak Pubs
As I look at the picture above, the wings don't look so bad. When they came out and when I had them, they looked disappointing. In fact, my dinner companion said: "your wings look like @!#%". They were tiny, almost sauceless and well, tiny. There was next to no meat on them, but at least they were crispy.
The 'hot' flavour was not, once again. But their sauce was a strange concoction; some sort of Tabasco, tomato sauce/ketchup butter. I didn't care for it, but fortunately they didn't put much on. I had my safety suicide on the side, but that turned out to be 3rd Degree, a good, reliable spicy sauce. And once again, I was given sour cream as a side!!! What is with O-town and the sour cream?
FINAL SCORE: This is a super pub inside. Friendly service, a great atmosphere and what looks like a great patio. Most of the food is good. The wings are bad. Don't come for the wings. At regular price, they are highway robbery. On wing night, they were the appropriate price (and should be cheaper for wing night). Also, what about some wetnaps and a wing plate? Thumbs down wings for the Royal Oak. 8/20
1217 Wellington Ave, Ottawa (and other locations)