We finally had the chance to visit THRU, a “concept restaurant” within Atelier. I had such a fun time at Atelier that I’ve been meaning to come back to check out this new addition. I had heard that it was almost impossible to get tickets. Apparently it is usually sold out the moment the tickets go on sale. That’s understandable as it is an intimate 6-people dining room with only one seating per night. I just happened to be browsing the website one day and noticed there was a table that was available the next month so I booked it immediately. The price of the experience is $450 for a table of 2, including service and fees. That’s a hefty sum but it’s reasonable if you consider the amount and quality of food served. It also includes a significant number of cocktails and alcohol. There are no food substitutions, so be cautious if you have any food restrictions.
We were a little late arriving but the servers were all very friendly. I felt bad as it seems they waited for all guests to arrive before explaining how the evening would unfold. Before any official courses, we were offered a welcome cocktail which was very lovely and not too sweet. In front of us was a black table full of QR codes.
Soon after, our food started arriving. They were all presented in such an artistic way and were placed beside the corresponding QR codes. I don’t want to give away too many of the dishes as the surprise element is part of the experience. There were many dishes that evening but my favourite had to have been the Waygu beef served on a coal burner, as well as the ostrich tartare. My least favourite was probably the mushroom tea and the fried beef tendon. I would much prefer a less salty tea and a soft and tender tendon instead. If you thought that the Atelier experience was unique, this truly blew me out of the water. It can get overwhelming as I wanted to take pictures, scan the QR codes to learn about the dishes as well as actually taste the dishes of course. The food kept coming out and we were enthusiastically trying to get the other person to try what we just tried. It was a little hectic but fun. The QR codes not only had short descriptions of the food. Some were very interactive including a video to watch or the need to call a number for an audio description. There was also a special course in which you had to text an answer to a question about the restaurant in order to receive the course. So fun!
Just when we thought it was all over with a void of sweets in our stomach, the table mat was turned over and there was a whole other side of QR codes. This time, for dessert items. We were so excited. Again these courses included both drinks and solid food items but many were not what you would expect. For example, if you see the words “campfire marshmallow”, you may think you know what you would get but Chef Marc Lepine surprises you with something completely unexpected. I also really enjoyed how the “pumpkin pie” was presented with a video to explain how this was uniquely prepared.
If you have a very special occasion you would like to celebrate, $450 to spare, a phone with a fully charged battery and a whole evening to enjoy this 3-hour dinner, do check out THRU. It will be a dining experience like no other.
THRU (@ Atelier)
540 Rochester St, Ottawa, ON K1S 4M1