The tasting menu at Perch sets the bar high and vault even higher, from a chef who foregrounds sustainability and minimal–waste cooking.

Street Address

300 Preston St., #1

City + Province

Ottawa, ON



The Italian festival is snarling traffic and making us late for our tasting menu dinner. But once installed in this cozy dining room decorated with playful abstract art, our stress subsides as a plate of dense, housemade Danish rye arrives from the open kitchen across from us. It’s accompanied by a cup of rich, comforting “compost broth” made of upcycled ingredients. A commitment to reducing food waste is threaded throughout the Perch experience: Asparagus peels add a vegetal note to both the gin and the shrub in the Garden Party cocktail. All food scraps are turned into nutrient–dense soil through bokashi fermentation, and even the washroom soap has a sustainable story to tell (it’s made of spent espresso grounds and cooking oil).

November 1, 2022
Ingredient checklist at Perch
Picking fresh ramps at Perch
Chef Justin Champagne–Lagarde preps for dinner and pays a visit to Bower Farm on the outskirts of Ottawa for some organic ginger.

Of course, chef Justin Champagne–Lagarde’s talents (ex of Ottawa’s Bar Lupulus and Atelier, and C Restaurant and Hawksworth in Vancouver before that) shine the brightest on the plate. The showstopper of the night is a silky Japanese–style chawanmushi (savoury egg custard) adorned with shio–koji aged quail breast, mushrooms, a coffee–cherry infusion and black garlic confit. Paired with a cocktail of Los Arango reposado tequila, bitters and sweet vermouth, together they make a tone poem of earthy, sweet and umami notes. Then there is the Dijon–mustard–spiked macaron over which is piped a delicate scallop mousse, accented with smoked Vancouver Island salt and herbaceous garnishes. It’s as ethereal as the chawanmushi is earthy.

Outside, the Italian festival rages on. A riot of rainbow–coloured umbrellas passes by, and costumed acrobats manoeuvre on stilts. For all of its pageantry, it can’t touch the spectacle of ideas, textures and tastes we’re experiencing inside.

Perch interior
Champagne–Lagarde and baker and general manager Amanda MacIntosh perch outside; mussels with sea asparagus and truffles; guests in the open dining room.

Don’t miss: The opportunity to plant the biodegradable tasting menu you will be given before you leave: it’s studded with wildflower seeds.

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