Address: 625 Somerset St W, Ottawa
Hours: 11am – 11pm (Tue – Thu, Sun); 11am – 12am (Fri – Sat); closed Monday
There’s a lot of reasons to try out a restaurant you’ve never been to before – curiosity, convenience, wanting to get in on the hype, etc. Less common, however, was my motivation for wanting to go to Jadeland: a painting.
I bought this print of a watercolour of businesses in Ottawa’s Chinatown for my wife’s birthday last year. After noticing that we had only been to a couple of the restaurants depicted in it, we made it a goal to try them all. When trying to come up with a place to go for dinner on Chinese New Year, it was the perfect opportunity to check another one off the list!
I was a little slack in making a reservation, so we had to dine early on this busy day. Saturday + Chinese holiday = plan ahead.
Once we were all in attendance, the tough process of choosing what to eat began. With over 300 numbered items on their menu, choice is one thing Jadeland is not short on.
My niece and nephew, being young and not having the most adventurous palettes, got their usual spring rolls and sweet and sour pork.
The adults went for more traditional fare – pan fried dumplings, mapo tofu, black pepper beef Shanghai noodles, Chinese mushrooms and snow peas, and chicken with sweet ginger and pineapple. Unsurprisingly, this was too much food for four adults, but I came prepared for this with storage containers from home to give the environment a break.
One of the servers heard us mention the dumplings and took that order right away, as they take longer to prepare than other dishes, which was quite thoughtful. Ten pork and cabbage dumplings ($12.50) come in an order, and they are big bois. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate style, but the wrappers were much thicker than a typical potsticker. My wife liked the thicker, pleasantly chewy wrapper, although my sister preferred the traditional method. Wrapper thickness aside, all enjoyed the flavourful, and plentiful filling.
Both the vegetarian and pork spring rolls ($2 each) were well done, with shatteringly-crisp wrappers.
Up next was the black pepper beef Shanghai noodles ($11.95). I had high hopes for the dish as soon as it arrived, with the smell of wok hei teasing my nostrils and appetite, and it didn’t disappoint. The tender strips of beef and thick Shanghai-style noodles had a great flavour from their time in the wok. This was most people’s favourite dish of the night.
The mapo tofu ($11.95), was another pleasing dish on a snowy winter’s night. A lingering heat and slight touch of numbing spice added depth to this rich dish, and the silken tofu and minced beef was a perfect topper for steamed rice.
While not a dish to write home about, the Chinese mushrooms and snow peas ($13.95), were a welcome addition of vegetables to our table, and well executed in their simplicity.
We were less enthusiastic about the sliced chicken with sweet ginger and pineapple ($14.50), which was heavy on sweetness and steps away from matching the mysterious red sauce of the kids’ sweet and sour pork ($13.50).
Service was friendly and helpful, although a bit harried once the dining filled up part way through our meal.
After we packed up the leftovers in my aforementioned containers, we made our way back out into Ottawa’s winter and the new year, with full, happy bellies. It may have been a painting that brought us to Jadeland, but the return visit will happen because of this delicious meal.