- Capital Eats
- Yemen Gate: a portal to satisfying cuisine
Yemen Gate: a portal to satisfying cuisine
Yemeni cuisine leaves its mark on the Ottawa landscape
Name + address: Yemen Gate
Type of food: Middle Eastern
Diet: Meat, vegetarian
Wheelchair accessibility: Yes, one step up
If there’s one overarching take away from my experiences of Middle Eastern cuisine in Ottawa, it’s one of warm welcome, and generosity of both spirit and food.
It’s just a basic fact that these are folks who always appear genuinely pleased to see you. In that regard, Yemen Gate was no exception.
Sam, the gentleman who may have been the manager, took a break from some minor renovations he was overseeing to serve me.
Yemen Gate has a few small tables and a few stools for in-shop dining but the trade is largely takeout. I had a few questions about the menu and Sam was pleased to oblige and downright enthusiastic about my interest. This was starting off well.
Oat soup. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
I ordered a green salad, a lamb broth ($4), an oat soup ($5) and a dish called lamb haneeth ($20). I got the bounty home and tucked right in. It was well past a usual lunch hour and “peckish” doesn’t begin to describe it. Lucky for me it was really very good.
The lamb broth was just that. Nothing else in it but nothing else was required. This was a beautiful broth, deeply satisfying and comforting. I will add that this would also serve well as something to add to a risotto or even reduce it to create a glistening sauce for a wild mushroom pappardelle. Yes, that would work.
The oat soup made with steel-cut oats was ostensibly a savoury porridge. It had been made with a tomato and lamb stock and was laced with black pepper and plenty of cardamom. I know something about cooking but this combination would never have occurred to me. Now, I can’t get it out of my head.
If you’re an oatmeal fan and love its stomach-soothing effects, you need to try this. It was in no way strange to eat a salty oatmeal but felt like it had been waiting for me to discover it.
Green salad. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
Apart from the colour, the green salad was very fresh and nicely diced, all pieces cut with care.
It came with a simple, but pleasing, dressing and I did wish that they’d used olive oil instead of the plain vegetable oil in this vinaigrette.
Lamb haneeth. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout
When Sam told me that the lamb haneeth had “more herbs and spices than the lamb mandi,” I agreed to try it.
Rather than shank, this was a bone-in shoulder piece whose meat came away easily. I tried it and was surprised by how mild it was. Still very good but I was expecting something along the lines of a more robustly flavoured lamb mandi.
The rice too was perfect, but lacked character. Apart from a lack of seasoning, there was nothing wrong with it but it had nothing on the rice made by the next Yemeni restaurant.
I look forward to visiting Yemen Gate at their new Orléans location where the menu is more expansive.