Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Reading about Toqué! made me think it's probably in the 'La Gavroche' category of restaurants, somewhere that's widely regarded as one of THE food destination in the city, with a loooong history of happy diners and a busy reservations book.  Those things all being true of Le Gav, but my meal there was a bit of a disappointment food wise in 2013.  Could Norman Laprise and his team at Toqué! prove me wrong?  (Not sure what the exclamation mark's all about).
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the meal, me of little faith.  It began with a tasting of champagne, 2 glasses, not just one, as an aperitif.
I would say that the service was a tad lacking, we waited a full hour before we got something to eat, and I had to ask for bread, or it would have been longer.  I was starving!  We opted for the seven course tasting menu which is a complete surprise, there is no list to read from so you need to wait until the dish arrives to know what's coming, this annoys me.  It's $117 which is good value, you can opt to have it with or without foie gras for the same price.  I went with.
The bread was decent, nothing special, 2 options, sliced seeded bread and then ciabatta buns.  Unsalted butter.
First up was an amuse, marinated scallops in sour cherry water and lavender mousse.
Next dish was Bluefin tuna.  So so pretty.  I instagrammed this pic and Lizzie asked me if it's now deemed acceptable to eat Bluefin.  It did surprise me when it arrived and the components of the dish were described by the waiter.  I'm pleading ignorance (no menu), but I believe they are still at risk from overfishing, so not cool.  Served raw with corn, almonds, mushrooms and a wasabi vinaigrette. 

Continuing the unethical eating, the foie gras dish arrived next.  I not going to launch into a defense about eating this, there's no argument really, it tastes good, I like food.  A slice of foie gras terrine was served on toasted brioche with peach and pistachio.  Very good. 
Onto main dishes, another tuna offering came next, not named as Bluefin in this instance, seared and served pink in the centre.  Accompaniments were beetroot sauce, several types of mushroom and lovage.  Nice but I was crying out for a meat course.
Which came in the form of lamb.  2 ways, rib and merguez.  This was my favourite dish of the meal.  Radishes, button onions, mushrooms and a random strawberry which I didn't eat. 
The cheese course was good (no Le Gav style cheese trolley unfortunately), 2 kinds of goatscheese, 1 hard, 1 soft, there were more bloody strawberries on the plate though.  Don't get me wrong, I like strawberries, but I don't want them with lamb, or cheese. 
The dessert was fine, I'm always least excited about this course, Toque's was flourless chocolate cake with sea buckthorn ganache, hay caramel and ice cream, also hay.  Pretty good actually, a solid end to the meal.  Pretty again (photo credit - Sarah, thanks!)
Now I wouldn't say this is the best food available in Montreal, my preference would be something more fun, modern and casual (though the dining room wasn't as formal as I'd expected it to be).  We drank red wine and the champagne to begin with and the bill came to over $200 each.  I was prepared for it to be expensive but for that money, it really ought to be head and shoulders above all else available in Montreal surely, you get what you pay for?  Well, they do offer valet parking....

 900 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle 
Old Montreal 
Toqué! on Urbanspoon

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