Monday, March 2, 2009

Brunch Worth Waiting For

On our second morning in Ottawa, we woke up and realized the cupboards were bare so we had no choice but to go out for breakfast, which, in reality, is awesome! There’s nothing like going out for brunch on Sunday. After running through our options we decided to try the Lieutenant’s Pump at 361 Elgin Street.

We braved the crisp winter morning and walked a few blocks to the pub. When we walked by, I figured we’d have no trouble finding a spot, because the place seemed extremely spacious. There are a number of rooms to dine in, but when we arrived around 11:00am all the tables were full. We were told there’d be a 15 minute wait, but we decided to stay. We passed lots of restaurants and pubs offering brunch, but none seemed to be as busy as the Lieutenant’s Pump.

It appeared that we arrived just in time; while we were waiting the line kept getting longer and longer. It seemed every few minutes another party came looking for a table. It is unbelievable how many large groups were meeting for brunch. The waiting area quickly became crowded as more and more hungry people decided to brave the wait. No matter where I stood, I was in someone’s way. The restaurant should seriously consider a more efficient way to organize their waiting list. A couple of hostesses would walk around meekly calling out for the next party and it seemed the patrons were never near by. I’m not sure where they went, but it seemed like the waitresses needed to organize a search party to fill the tables.

Eventually we were seated at a well-worn table in the corner. There was lots of natural light, a stone floor, and the energy of the people waiting created a warm atmosphere. The Lieutenant’s Pump has an extensive breakfast menu, with lots of creative dishes such as white-chocolate pancakes, a wide variety of Eggs Benedict, yogurt and other traditional breakfast fare. I decided on something a little off the radar- a roast beef sandwich served with peppercorn mayonnaise on a butter croissant. It came with fresh fruit and home fries, and despite already getting lots of starch, I ordered a side of Rye toast.

Despite the crowd, it didn’t take long for our meals to arrive. My sandwich was delicious. The shaved beef was tender and flavourful; I was expecting cold cuts, but this meat definitely was roasted in house. The croissant was soft and buttery and the mayo was chock-full of peppery goodness. Another highlight of the meal was the home fries that were golden brown and seasoned with lots of rosemary. They were the best breakfast potatoes that I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant.

The only part of the meal that didn’t work was the not-so-fresh fruit. I understand you aren’t going to find fresh fruit in Ontario in the middle of March and that’s okay- we shouldn’t expect it. You can’t ship fruit from California and expect it to be fresh. The pineapple ring was brown, the melons were flavourless and the strawberries tasted like water. Why not just wait until the summer when the fields of Ontario are producing bountiful produce? I would’ve been just as happy without the browning fruit. It really took away from the rest of the meal.

The Lieutenant’s Pump
is a bustling pub, with an energetic atmosphere that serves an excellent breakfast. If you’re hungry on Sunday and don’t mind dealing with a crowd, the Lieutenant’s Pump is a place you should seriously consider checking out.


  1. Mmmm, sounds like you had a wonderful brunch, The Lieutenant's Pump sounds nice.

  2. Hey Jeff, thanks for the great review! Brunch is one of my favorite Ottawa activities.