Ballygiblin’s Restaurant & Pub: Sheldon Says It’s Worth the Drive

A few days ago, Mrs. Sheldon and I were heading to the cottage for a little R & R.  Being kid free (he was already at the cottage with the grand-parents), we decided to stop for some refreshment along the way.  We’d heard good things about this little pub in Carleton Place called Ballygiblin’s, and stopped to give it a try.
I’m really glad we did.  The restaurant succeeds at presenting a pub-like atmosphere, while staying true to higher-end dining that follows the 100 mile principle.  The menu changes weekly, as Chef Roger Weldon tours local farmers markets for ingredients and inspiration (Ballygiblin’s is a member of Savour Ottawa).  While technically not “100 mile”, the wine list features only Canadian producers, and the well stocked bar taps pour predominantly Ontario craft brews.
Presentations were also interesting.  Mrs. Sheldon ordered the pulled pork, which was a generous serving of local, organic pork doused in Ballygiblin’s own Dr. Dusty’s homemade barbecue sauce.  The sauce was delicious.  Sweet, with a touch of heat at the end.  What made the presentation unique was that all the pork itself was tucked inside a phyllo pastry, and rolled into the shape of a pork tenderloin.  Served with hand cut fries and house made ketchup, it made for quite a meal.
I chose the beef ribs braised in Beau’s seasonal brew, also served with the hand-cut fries and some grilled vegetables.  The meat was fall-of-the-bone tender, with excellent flavour; while the veg was crisp yet nicely caramelized.
What topped the experience off for me was the opportunity to try some Ontario craft brews that I’ve been meaning to sample for a while.  I started off with a Beau’s Beaver River, an interesting take on IPA.  I followed that with a Hop City Barking Squirrel , an amber coloured lager with a lightly hoppy finish.  Delicious!  Other offerings included Kichesippi Blond, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and Beau’s Lugtread Ale.
The overall experience reminded me of a night at the Wellington Gastropub.  Ballygiblin’s hasn’t quite duplicated the experience yet, but they’re getting close.  If you want to go a little out of your way, this is a gem in the Valley that’s worth the drive.~SS

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