Goatsy came to stay and we went to Joe Beef. I don't need to say anything more about Joe Beef, it's amazing, it's difficult to get a table, I've said it's brilliant enough. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, they smashed dessert, just look at this thing, mille-crepe lemon meringue. No further words required.
Gibeau Orange Julep
Somewhat of a local institution is Gibeau Orange Julep, think fast food served in a big orange. Literally. It's cheap and cheerful, the julep in the name refers to a drink which is not entirely a pleasant thing, orange juice combined with milk and a hell of a lot of sugar which typically accompanies some kind of burger, hotdog or poutine. I got this little tray of delights, 2 hotdogs with all the toppings and I was tasting raw onion for the rest of the day. Can't say I'll rush back but it's a novelty destination really, situated on an industrial estate, apparently bikers hang in the car park during the summer, so if that's your thing, you know what to do.
Appetite For Books
This is a wonderful book store in Westmount, they have an incredible selection of cookbooks and they offer evening cooking demos, Sarah and I went along to a class to celebrate the recent launch of Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More. We saw made (and then ate) some sample dishes whilst drinking wine. The onion cake, yes, onion cake, is just incredible. I'll definitely be making this myself. Buy the book, go to the store (if you live in Montreal), the classes are just a really fun night out even if you have little interest in cooking. I now won't have any problems coming up with veggie dishes to cook thanks to Yotam.
Grace, Margaret and I hit Laurea one Saturday night for dinner. This is a new opening on one of my favourite streets in Montreal, Laurier. I wasn't sure what to expect from the food, hadn't read too much about it. It felt very New York in the cocktail bar downstairs, we sipped martinis while some dude played the piano. Then we moved upstairs for dinner, and I ate this wonderful dish of cod with prawn dumplings in a dashi broth ($22). Really delicious. I'll be back for sure, cocktails were good and the food more than lined our stomachs for the night out ahead. We went down the road to Bar Kabinet but actually ended up coming back and hanging out in the adjoining Bar Lorbeer until it closed at 3am. Loved both places and the food really impressed.
Another newish opening here in Montreal that I made it to this month, Balsam Inn is located very centrally right next door to Dominion Square Tavern. The decor is really cool, quite clinical and minimal but they have some amazing bits, nice light fittings which are a little different to the generic trendy vibe you see so much of these days. Long story short, the food wasn't all great, the appetisers were a lot better than the mains, fried chicken was not my cup of tea at all, smothered in a sickly sweet sauce. But there is a lot of promise, the cheese and flatbread was excellent, the bacon meatloaf was just odd. Will probably head back after Christmas to try more of the menu, this was just a quick hungover stop off.
Had a shocker of a meal here with Art. I had really high hopes due to their appearance in a Munchies Chef's Night Out in Montreal earlier this year. I think it's the most disappointed I've been in a meal in this city so far, especially sad because Art was visiting, and I was attempting to show her the best that's available here. They had run out of both the wine we chose and the main course I ordered, we weren't offered the dessert trolley (didn't want any of them, but would have been nice to have a look) and it was cold in there as we were sitting close to the door and it was a snowy day. The food was pretty rank to be honest, bahn-mi tacos and fried chicken with johnny cakes. Just no.
Another disappointment sadly, the newly opened oyster bar run by Daniel Notkin, the guy behind Montreal's oysterfest which I very much enjoyed earlier in the year. Nice venue for drinks but the food was decidedly average, the highlight being the chowder pictured below. We skipped oysters but in hindsight you probably can't go wrong ordering them here. The lobster burger was the biggest letdown, we asked the waiter to recommend what to eat and nothing he suggested stood out. Shame.
Gibeau Orange Julep
7700 Boulevard Decarie
381 Laurier Ouest
1237 Rue Metcalfe
Golden Square Mile
630 Rue De Courcelle
Notkins Oyster Bar
1101 Rue De Bleury