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MATT CARMICHAEL: A New Addition To The Byward Market

Think fast: what do you wear to a pop up bar/lounge/restaurant within an old-school diner in Ottawa on a Monday night?! Oh yes, and it’s one of those weird rainy/misty nights and rubber boots aren’t allowed (obviously).

I was asking myself this 10 minutes before I had to show up to the opening of a very cool pop-up bar/lounge/restaurant on Dalhousie last night. Mellos pop up is the brainchild and fabulous initiative of Matthew Carmichael, a very well known Ottawa chef, recognized for his work at restaurants such as eighteen and Side Door.

When I walked in, it looked like Mellos—the small authentic diner that serves yummy breakfast and lunch during the day—but it definitely didn’t feel like Mellos.

The music set the perfect tone for a buzzing atmosphere lit with candles that reflected against mirrored walls, making the excited guests feel like we were having our own private dining experience.

And what an experience it was! The menu had just the right amount of items you would expect from a pop-up restaurant (because I totally know what that would be); two different types of pasta, Malpeque oysters, a delicious black tomato and mozzarella salad, and several other entrees. I’ll be sure to go back so I can eat everything on the menu before this place disappears at the end of the summer.

Unfortunately a pop-up’s life is finite, but that is exactly what makes it so special! It will be open Sunday through Wednesday from 6pm until late for the duration of the summer.

In addition to the great vibe, scrumptious food and fun service, what I was really impressed with were the details and effort that went into making this place unique. When I think of a pop-up restaurant or pop-up anything, I have a weird image in my head of what can only be described as urban camping. But Chef Carmichael and his team were so attentive to the touches that would make this (in my humble opinion) one of Ottawa’s hippest (that’s right, I said it) summer additions.

Touches like hand-made dessert bowls such as this one…

Desserts made by a local pastry chef who also happens to be extremely beautiful and super stylish.

She’s hanging out here with the mastermind behind the wicked music, who also happens to be one of the coolest people I know, and one of the owners of the Black Tomato in the market!

After staying for a few more glasses of wine, it was time to go home. The rain outside had stopped but new guests continued to come in.

In the end, it turns out what I wore was completely appropriate for the evening (pleather leggings, a knotted white t-shirt and crazy high pumps in case you are curious!), which is almost irrelevant as we were all so entranced by our enchanting environment and the deliciousness we got to experience on a rainy Monday evening in Ottawa.


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