I like going to The Exchange. Have ever since the old Elephant and Castle, located in the Rideau Centre, was renovated and transformed into a more elegant place, targetting urban professionals to meet for lunch, dinner & drinks.
While no longer being a pub, The Exchange offers a selection of British classics (Halibut or Haddock and Chips, Guiness Meatloaf, Steak and Stout Pie) and contemporary dishes (Pancetta Stilton Burger, Jameson’s Chicken, Fish Tacos) and offers a wide variety of international and local beer, wine and scotch.
I often find myself there, because it is a little less likely you will bump into Hillites than other places near the Hill – despite the fact that its across the corner from the Metropolitain.
I had another work lunch meeting, as I tend to have, and was happy to go back to The Exchange for a frank exchange of points of view. As we do most of the time, we made our way to a quiet corner in the basement.
And as we’ve done a few times, we decided to share a platter of Buffalo Tenders ($10.50) to start our meal.
At this price, one should admit that the portion is a tad small. So yeah, I admit it. The chicken filets, breaded and deep fried, are served with a side of buffalo sauce and a blue cheese dip.
The breading is quite crispy, salty and spicy. The chicken is not dry – but it is not particularly moist either. It is the breading that makes it, as the ridges are perfect to soak up the hot sauce and/or the blue cheese dip. The blue cheese dip, which seems to be home made, could be sharper and chunkier, but it still alright.
For my main dish, I orderd the Chicken Pesto Sandwich on Focaccia ($11.50). Grilled chicken with pesto mayo and onion marmelade. On the side, I chose the garden salad instead of the french fries.
As far as chicken sandwiches go, this one was pretty good. The focaccia was fresh, and was not too much of a dry mouthful. The meat was moist, tender. The onion marmelade was delicious, not too sweet. The pesto mayo was good, nice texture, good burst of basil. There was a surprise, as a slice of cheddar cheese was there, mild enough to complement the dish. I would have added some tomato slices to complete the sandwich myself. On the side, the salad was fresh enough, the cherry tomatoes were good and the cucumbers in good shape.
Overall, a good sandwich – I felt no need to exchange it.