Sunday, 31 August 2014

August Round Up


Sarah and I brunched here on the Osheaga Saturday morning.  I zipped down from Outremont on a Bixi bike which was a brilliant idea.  I love the Bixi bike scheme (Boris equivalent).  Note to self to get an annual pass for next year (they're decommissioned Oct-Mar ish due to the snow).

I had the salmon tartare brunch, which consists of tartare, bagel, poached eggs, hollandaise, these weird pink pickled onion slices and a hash brown.  It was very very good.  I've been vocal about my annoyance at the constant appearance on menus of the 4 things Montrealers are crazy about (tartare, lobster, foie gras and oysters) but on this occasion I relented and ordered a tartare as the waitress recommended it. 

Have to say the bloody Caesar was virtually undrinkable, very heavy on the tabasco and I literally had a coughing fit after each sip.  I struggled, got most of it down, I'm not a wimp where these things are concerned either.

Anyway, I loved Suwu.  Had a hunch that I would.  Pretty much everyone in there was proudly sporting their Osheaga 3 jour wristband.  I must return post brunch time to try their mac and cheese grilled cheese.  
Em and I popped in for a light lunch one afternoon.  This place is owned by the Joe Beef/Liverpool House team, it's no reservations, you can just show up.  They're really sweet, wine is their thing, it's more wine bar than restaurant, but the menu is no afterthought. We started with some sparkling wine and the vegetable platter with garlic dip.

Doesn't look like much but we loved this.  Topped with fried courgette flowers, the dip really made it, so intensely garlicky.  Really really good.  Then we went for the baked oysters.

Topped with cheesy herby breadcrumbs, we enjoyed another glass of wine and lingered to enjoy to sunny terrasse.  It was a really pleasant low key meal.  I'll definitely be back.  Post on Joe Beef to come soon, I've been twice in as many weeks and it deserves a full write up.  Cheaper and more relaxed, Vin Papillon is definitely going to become a regular haunt.
On a Monday night, one can often get caught out in Montreal, not many restaurants are open.  Hotel Herman is one of them, I booked on the afternoon and opted to sit at the busy bar.  Wines are natural, we went for the interestingly names Pow Blop Wizz sparkling rose.  Loved it.  Oysters were the highlight of the meal, I've went back for more just last night.  2 kinds, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, they come with lemon wedges, buttermilk and miso accompaniments.

My main on the first visit was this lamb with cauliflower.  I thought it could do with a good dousing of sauce.  The foie gras with brioche was brilliant though.  Never tried their desserts, should probably. I prefer the wines and the oysters though over the main dishes.  Nice jovial environment and servers who really know their menu.  Reasonably priced too, starters for around $12 and mains up to $22.

Popped here for a really late lunch, I had the steak tartare.  Look at me turning into a walking Montreal food cliche, there's more to me than oysters, foie gras and tartare, y'know.  Pretty plating, I had a couple of glasses of Sancerre with this then ordered some cheese.  This little stretch of Bernard is good for people watching, exactly what I did before a big night out.  

Could have done with more egg, always, the tartare itself was nice, a good kick from the red sauce.  I'll be back to try brunch, it's literally at the end of my block.  Nice little local.

Uh oh, I did it.  And I wasn't even drunk.  I was severely hungover though, and this was on Em's to do list.  So we had to.  My first poutine in Canada.........and I liked it.

Granted, it looks absolutely foul, but it was exactly what I needed, followed by a lie down in the park.  Poutine is chips, gravy and cheese curds.  Banquise take it to the next level by chucking all manner of hideous sounding toppings into the mix.  I went for the la taquise with sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes.  I liked the fries, and the curds, the gravy I could do without, it's pretty tasteless, but I was pleasantly surprised.  This is a huge thing here, even McDonalds do poutine, I might just be a convert.  About $10 for a 'small'.

One of the biggest disappointments so far was this meal at Van Horne.  I originally booked for a Saturday night, they called me and the place was booked out for a private event, fine, we switched to the Wednesday with the promise of free wine for the inconvenience, which never materialized.  

I had high hopes, after reading this, the owner says all the right things, albeit in a slightly self indulgent tone.  We wanted the tasting menu, it's only available on weekends, shame.  The menu is very small, 4 options for starter and main and only 2 desserts to choose from.  Neither of which appealed.  I just felt the flavours weren't very sophisticated.

This lamb main was pretty dry and I didn't like the dry charred greens.  A little amuse of mustard seed and foie gras (I think...) on a delicate crumbly biscuit was exquisite but my chilled green tomato gazpacho with prawns was nice but a little too tart for my tastes.  The bread was lovely, but the whole thing was underwhelming.  I probably won't return.

Some revisits this month include Lawrence, I've been back for brunch (baked eggs, hello!) and for a dinner collaboration with London's very own Giorgio Ravelli from Upstairs at the Ten Bells.  When I found out this was happening, I was BEYOND excited, one of my London favourites and one of my Montreal favourites cooking together!!  Too much.  The food was exceptional, the starter of hen broth, egg and liver toast is one of the best dishes I've eaten all year.  There was a lot of food, I left very happy.

Brunch pizza!  Asparagus, egg, bacon, cheese and tomato.  Why didn't I know brunch pizza is a thing?!  This was brilliant.  Also had a normal bloody caesar, everything was as it should be.  Very good Magpie.  Still need to try Gema. 

3581 Saint Laurent
SuWu on Urbanspoon
 2519 Notre Dame
Little Burgundy

Le Vin Papillon on Urbanspoon

5171 Saint Laurent

Hôtel Herman on Urbanspoon

1257 Bernard Avenue

Les Enfants Terribles on Urbanspoon

994 Rue Rachel

La Banquise on Urbanspoon

1268 Van Horne

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