3721 Notre Dame O. /Bourget
Montréal, QC H4C 1P8
Phone: (514) 933-3507
Cost: $ 62.35 (for two with tax & tip included)
Chef Hats: 3.5
Ever since I tasted the steamed pork buns at The Satay Bros stall at Atwater market three years ago, during my usual Sunday morning visits to the markets; I fell in love with Singapourian/Malaysian food. More specifically, I fell in love with the flavors that the Satay Bros. inspired and were creating in their small open stall located at the end of the market.
I knew it had to be good when I saw the amount of people that had congregated in front of the food stand. The surrounding picnic tables in front of the kiosk were full of patrons slurping delicious coconut milk laced Laksa Soups, and devouring small pocket of pork steamed buns infused with cucumber and coriander.
I stopped and sampled the Pork buns and since then I have been craving and dreaming of delicious Steamed Pork Buns and counting them in my sleep. Three years has been a long wait and I have been meaning to return with Brains who I knew would appreciate the food but fate only allowed me the chance now.
Meanwhile the Satay Bros. had become so popular that Alex and Mat Winnicki decided to open a second location in January 2015 at 3721 Notre-Dame St. W., a few blocks from Atwater Ave. in St-Henri.
It is not often these days that I am in the area, so I took the opportunity this year after our weekend getaway in the Eastern Townships to stop for dinner, after being stuck in traffic for hours and having to navigate another route home. I ended up passing through St Henri and suggested we stop for dinner.
Brains and I were not surprised to see that the place was very busy and bustling. We however managed to get a seat at the counter right in front of the cooks who were preparing the steamed pork buns. I was pleased as I love to watch and being in the crux of the action. Our little spot was the coolest place to sit as we were able to people watch and got special attention and fantastic service.
We started with Steamed Pork Buns for $9.99, two steamed buns with crispy sautéed pork belly, copious amounts of coriander and cucumber in light vinaigrette of rice vinegar.
Brains ordered the Gado Gado for $8.99 a plate of assorted vegetables like green beans, bean sprouts tofu and ramen noodles in Satay sauce. She loved the flavors and especially the sauce.
Only, it was not enough so we ordered another round of Steamed Pork Buns to satisfy our cravings and get our fill till the next time we were around here.
What Brains and I enjoyed the most about this location of The Satay Bros was the festive atmosphere. The place is not pretentious and appeals to the millennial crowd which makes it hip and cool. Decorated in red with red and white walls and Chinese paper lanterns, it may seem kitschy to some but it is vibrant and fun.
Hoogan & Beaufort
4095 Molson St. (Angus Yards)
Cost: $ 135.67 for two
Chef Hats: 4
Summer has come and gone; the warm weather is waning and the hot summer days and terrace weather days are numbered. If weather not permitting, the warmth of a pub is so comforting and Hoogan and Beaufort with it fire pit kitchen is the perfect place. Falling into the category of Gastro pub, it is always optimal inside and out when comfort food is in check. Garnishing great reviews of late, I would classify it a notch or more above just a regular pub.
Set in Rosemont in the trendy area surrounding Angus yards it gets its name from the original owners who used to own the farmland before Canadian Pacific Railway purchased the property. Enter Marc-André Jetté (a class act) and Sommelier William Saulnier of Restaurant Les 400 Coups fame, who in December 2015 opened Hoogan and Beaufort on the same spot all while paying homage to its agricultural past and the buildings history. Furthermore, the space was revamped by none other Alexander Baldwin of Dominion Square Tavern, all while incorporating recycled products from the old shipyards.
Well thought out in process, this is evident in the decor as soon as you enter. The place has a trendy buzz with its industrial look. One can’t help but notice the high ceiling with wood beams, the large windows and open kitchen concept and central bar. The decor is modest yet modern in a way. Seating is comfortable, lines clean and unfussy. What is awesome for the patrons of Hoogan and Beaufort is definitely its kitchen and its fire pit. Strategically placed at the center of the room you can watch the staff creating their lovely gastronomic dishes that incorporate local products and ingenious creations of dishes with the most original of ingredients. The show itself can keep you inspired for hours.
Service here is excellent, impeccably professional, solicitous and accommodating. The restaurant caters to people with allergies; as well their dishes are free of nitrates and nuts, a big plus for those who have severe food allergies. The staff is very knowledgeable when it comes to the menu and wine list.
Saulnier has compiled an extensive and original wine list, with a great selection of local and European imported beers as well. They serve great wines by the glass at reasonable prices and the classic refined digestifs to please any palate. All are a must try.
The menu is something else; it reads more like a fancy French bistro than a pub. If you are a table of 8 or more, they suggest a menu degustation at $ 65.00 all around. Otherwise you can choose a la carte. Be warned they do not serve complimentary baskets of bread, if bread is desired with the meal you will have to purchase their Focaccia Brulée et Beurre for $ 3.00; but it is well worth it.
Hoogan & Beaufort is for those traditional foodies who appreciate good food in a cool hip environment. It is not a typical hungry man pub, or for those with very big appetites. The portions are small, but the quality and reasonable prices are fair and balances things out.
The food is fantastic. All items sampled were very tasty, flavourful and outright delicious. For entrée we had the Tataki de Cerf de Boileau, with Oignon Vert Grille, armillaire de Miel, raifort cresson tournesol for $ 17 00. Five generous slices topped with tiny mushrooms and watercress. Beautifully presented, it was very tender and not at all gamy.
For seconds we had two pasta dishes the Agnoletti au fromage frais, carotte, Yuzu Kosho, & coppa for $14.00. The Agnoletti were filled with fresh cheese, the carrot sauce was deliciously creamy The prescribed coppa looked more like strips of regular bacon than salt cured ham , but then it is hard to tell sometimes, the texture was interesting and a winning combination with the pine nuts and Yuzu broth.
The second pasta dish sampled, was the Garganelli au Canard Confit et Chevre Noir for $15.00. These were just as good yet different in taste & texture. Mixed with pieces of duck confit, crispy chicken skin and Chinese artichokes and chevre noir cheese all mixed in to create an even deeper flavor.
My partner had the bouillabaisse. This was fine but not the typical dish as it lacked the broth that he is so typically accustomed too when eating this fishy stew. We are used to seeing a red tomato sauce, but these came with a green sauce, obviously made out of sort of greens. The origins unknown in this case.
Our friends shared the Magret de Canard de la Ferme La Canardiere for two at $60.00.They loved the dish and thought it excellent; the duck was really tender and not fatty at all. They could have had second portions and felt it just was not enough.
Dessert taken was a Chocolate au lait with Poire meringue an l’érable and a crumble of cacao for $ 9.00, totally decadent and shared by two with good coffee and a digestif of chartreuse for the ladies and whisky and scotch for the guys. It was a great end to a great meal and lots of great conversation, laughs and showmanship experienced by all. We had such a good time we wanted to stay till the wee hours of the morning.
Saisons Mtl Event-May 09, 2016
Held at: Le Tulipier Fleuriste
438 St-Pierre, Old Montreal, Québec
Chef: Marc Alexander Mercier Chef-Hotel Herman
Cost: $ 105.00 plus tax
At the beginning of this year as I was reading the Life section the Montreal Gazette on a Saturday morning and came across an article written by Susan Semenak about a new dinner series that had begun last fall, organized by food blogger Mayssam Samaha –Will Travel for Food. She started planning local seasonal food events in Montreal, showcasing some of this city’s young and upcoming local chefs; who were cooking their speciality dishes in a private setting in different venues throughout the city.
For those who know of the blog, you are familiar with Mayssam and her writings, for those who are not familiar, let me just mention that her body of work is exceptional. Having won many awards, she is a seasoned professional and perfectionist and so are her events. Never an easy task to organize any type of event, hers are a breath of fresh air every time and totally educational. All die hard foodies must apply and experience one of these events at least once or over and over again in their foodie lifetime.
I had the privilege this May to experience the spring dinner after coming out of my winter hibernation. Having signed up immediately after seeing the article I grabbed the last ticket. The fall season event is next Monday Sept 26, but has been sold out months in advance, so you must sign up for her newsletter at http://www.saisonsmtl.com and get first digs within 24 hrs of posting.
What we know about the event firsthand is the name of the chef who will be cooking privately for you that evening. The venue is a surprise and is usually announced in the coming weeks before the event. Don’t fret the venues are well thought out and traditional of the season.
On this particular evening I headed out to Old Montreal to discover the venue was being held in a florist shop appropriately called Le Tulipier. How best to honour the spring season with none other than tulips. In the center of the shop sat a long table seating about a dozen people. The table setting was gorgeous with white tablecloths, white tulips and hydrangeas all the appropriate table accouterments.
Beforehand we were asked to purchase and bring wine to the event, we were given hints to what was required, and the rest was at our discretion. The menu was a secret to the guests and we had to explain why and what we had chosen in terms of wine. It’s all very casual and a real learning curve.
Upon entering you are greeted by the hostesses, Janice & Mayssam. You are urged to find your place setting at the table. A brief introduction and conversations ensued with my dining partners, and I discovered that we were all likeminded foodies who had a real passion for food. To my surprise I met some old neighbourhood friends there by chance and felt content in my discovery that over the years they had developed a taste for fine cuisine like me and appreciated gourmet food events.
It truly is a small world as I also had the pleasure of meeting Susan Semenak.
Her knowledge on food is extensive, offering insight on foraging garlic in Quebec and Vermont. I felt like I was getting a lesson from Mother Nature herself. The evening was so uplifting and refreshing and when the food started to arrive I was totally flabbergasted at the masterpieces presented to us. Local food products so melded in different textures that I could never have imagined and I cannot ever replicate. Cooking from two burners Marc Alexander Mercier blew us totally out of the water by spinning magic. Voted Young gun by Eater in 2015 he is a total perfectionist but yet ever so humble and now I understand why.
Our first serving and introduction to this marvellous meal was an amuse bouche of Crème fraîche, smoked pickerel eggs -bottarga-style and paired with Veuve Clicquot & Prosecco.
2nd course: Lobster, lobster coral, lobster consommé, raw and cooked Jerusalem artichokes .Pairing: Viognier 2014.
4th course: Lamb confit, sheep yogurt, chamomile, crispy buttermilk, herbs
Pairing: Côte du Rhône Les Cranilles 2014.
Dessert: Gelified goat milk yogurt, goat milk skin crackers, lavender emulsion, and pistachios .Pairing: Muscat de Rivesaltes.
I will not go into elaborate details about every dish. I just want to mention that each dish out did the other. Each awed and inspired, each perfectly executed and paired. Everything was to everyone’s liking; ambiance, décor, food and venue choices. Amazement and questions ensued after every dish and when it all ended Marc Alexander came to talk to us to get our feedback and we got a little insight at what makes him so dedicated.
Kudos! To a great evening and to Marc Alexander Mercier, Mayssam, Janice and the guests for your successful event and a good interesting evening shared by all.
This is one to add to your agendas and not to be missed.
Bishop & Bagg
52 Rue Saint Viateur O. / Clarke
Phone: (514) 277-4400
Cost-$ 68.15 (excluding tip)
Chef Hats: 3.5
There are three things this foodie likes. One is going to a place that has an interesting story/history. Places that are different in concept or design with a specific idea in mind and places that have created such a media buzz that people flock to it. Bishop and Bagg fall into all three categories.
A few times a year I crave the comfort and hominess of a pub. As a student I always found I could walk into a pub, strike up a decent conversation with the barman, eat some good grub and hang out for a few hours. It was definitely my comfort zone and Bishop & Bagg is definitely one of these places. Since its opening in 2014, it’s been on my bucket list for my annual pub crawl. I like going around early spring or fall, when the weather is just about right to sit outdoors or the weather is starting to get cold and the warmth inside is soothing,
What I like about Bishop and Bagg is that it is full of soul and comes very close to a traditional British pub right here at home in the heart of Mile End district. It is a fun and cool place to hang out and is not just for the locals. You can spot people from all over and some media personalities too, as we did on this day. The service, hospitality and warmth of the staff is great and they make you feel right at home. No pretentiousness here.
Bishop & Bagg is the latest venture by the guys behind Burgundy Lion Pub in St Henri, (Toby Lyle, Jean Michel Creusot, Paul Desbaillets, Will Allen & Steven Owen). It has all the winning formulas and more. The pub’s name is coined after the first Bishop of Montreal circa 1840 and Bagg a famous landowner in the Mile End district about the same era. More can be read about Bishop & Bagg on their website which a brief synopsis describing the mark they left on our city.
Bishop & Bagg Chef Pelo Tsavoussis has created food that fits the warmth and comfort of a rural English Pub. The menu changes constantly but you can find on their menu such items as Ploughman’s Lunch, Cornish Hens, Lamb Kebabs, BSB Rarebit, Bagg Burger, and Pork Belly & Bangers & Mash. Typical English fare with their special twist. Call it “Gastro pub” if you like, but they do not like appreciate the connotation; “it’s more likely really good home comfort food”.
They also have as a good repertoire of spirits, cocktails and beer, a must try is their Burgundy Lion Ale for $10.00 or Okanogan Spring for $ 6.96 which was sampled on this visit.
We started with the Lamb Kebabs for $13.00, which came folded into two thick pita pockets, these were really good, the lamb meat had the right blend of flavors and spices, it came with an iceberg salad that was a little too bland for this dish, a little more greens would have been suffice .
The Jerk Chicken for $ 16.00 had the right amount of fire and heat but our dinner guest was not impressed. I think it was more a matter of taste and expectations than the real food as it tasted authentic, The Bishop & Bagg burger with cheese for $ 12.00 was delicious and very good, a large quarter pound of beef with fixings and a creamy potato salad with slivers of red onion and pickle ,perfect with the beer.
Everything sampled was up to par and above standard typical pub food. We could not ask for anything more except maybe more free beer, as we would and could have sat in the sun all day on the terrace people watching and talking.
Bishop & Bagg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info – Zomato
Dimensions (px): Height 146 x Width 200
Restaurant Estiatorio Skara
Quartier Dix 30
9190 Boul Leduc Suite 210
Opened: April 2013
Cost: $78.12- tax, tip included for two with cocktails
Quartier Dix 30 is not exactly a prime location for foodies to find their optimal restaurants. Usually these types of locations only have to offer the typical chain restaurants where tireless shoppers can find a place to rest in between their shopping expeditions or at the end of an exhausting day of walking around. But sometimes you may find the occasional independent place that has a little more to offer.
I had gone all the way to Dix 30 in Brossard to visit a food emporium called Valmont. Upon my arrival I discovered it had closed within a short span of under a year. Already there I decided make the best of it and visit a few other stores instead of heading back home. It must have been the hottest day of the century, as after two hours of walking around we were parched. My friend and I needed a place to rest our feet and soothe are parched soul. We looked up at the buildings in the center of the plaza and spotted a few rooftop restaurants and thought it would be splendid to sit up in the sky overlooking the plaza, having a drink and people watch on this beautiful day.
It is then we discovered Estiatorio Skara located in the center of the plaza on Leduc Street in the Quartier Dix30. Opened in spring 2013, it is a relatively new restaurant specializing in Greek and Mediterrean food. It offers a delicious variety mezzes, great cocktails and the fresh fish and grilled meats. Estatiorio Skara offers authentic Greek cuisine, in an absolutely beautiful stunning decor.The terrace transports you to Greece with its hues of blue umbrellas and white chairs and endless blue sky. For a moment you forget you are in a mall, until you look down or across and see the swarms of people and adjacent buildings.
Service and hospitality at Skara goes one step beyond normal. They are super accommodating. We requested a table on the terrace under an umbrella and although very busy they found a place for us.We started with a Long Island Ice Tea and Mojitos for $8.00 and did not have to wait too long.
They really quenched our thirst and were packed with alcohol. It was only four o’clock and we were feeling tipsy yet not too hungry, so we started with a small Greek Salad for at $14.00. A large salad will cost you $ 20.00, but is beyond generous and can be shared by two. It consisted of fresh hardy tomatoes, cucumber and kalamata olives and feta cheese. The salad was perfect; the tomatoes were ripe but not mushy. The cucumber was so refreshing and the feta and kalamata olives were a perfect blend.
The second mezze ordered was grilled Octopus for$ 20.00, which was also shared between two. It came with grilled red peppers, red onions & capers. My partner had never had grilled octopus and thought it was like calamari, to their surprise they really enjoyed the texture of the octopus, as it was perfectly grilled and tender, infused with lemon ,very tasty, served with bread, this was filling enough for two and too much for just one person.
Third mezze ordered was the Taramosalata- a puree of red fish roe for $ 11.00 served with baquette crisps. This was a creamy mix of puree that was not overly fishy and perfect served with baguette crisps infused with garlic and a touch of olive oil.
We loved this place. The crowd and the ambiance inside and out, we loved people watching especially the group of perfectly dressed twenty something’s who had amassed on the terrace for cocktails to celebrate a pre dinner before heading out to an event. Their semblance of Greek island tans and gorgeous swaying dresses reminded me of things we see only in the movies. Just watching them enjoy themselves was a pleasure in itself. Inside the decor is stunning, it has a romantic wispy feel with white sheer drapes covering the large windows, subdued lighting at the bar and wall to ceiling glass wine cellar. Beige and dark tones permeate the decor with large white columns that are tastefully done and not like those out of a scene of my Big Fat Greek wedding. No cheesiness here, everything is done with taste and class and the food is definitely a big plus. The flavours are delicate and lightly infused with mediterrean flavours of lemon and herbs but nothing over powering. I would definitely recommend Skara especially if you are in the area. It has got to be one of the better places in Quartier Dix 30 to celebrate or have a good meal and a cocktail or two on a hot day.
871 Boulevard Saint-Charles,
Phone: (514) 694-5555
Cost: $ 247.48 for 10 people (not including tip)
Chef Hats: 3
Opened July 19, 2011
It was time again for our annual family get-together. This year we were a big group with 25 people in attendance and we chose a restaurant that was synonymous to family. We wanted a place that could accommodate a large group, serve Italian food & that we could bring our own wine. So we chose La Famiglia on St Charles Boulevard in Kirkland after a unanimous decision. We only had a handful of places to choose from in the West Island that would accommodate all our needs. La Famiglia was one of the restaurants that came up and seemed appropriate for many reasons.
La Famiglia is a cozy, casual family-oriented restaurant serving mainly Italian food. Not much has been written about it, it does not have a known chef manning the kitchen. It is basically just a local eatery where most West Islanders go for classical Italian food. This was not important to the family as we care more about spending an evening with family then with the logistics behind a place. One thing the family does demand is good food.
La Famiglia is a busy restaurant especially on a weekend night. You can feel the buzz of the crowd at the door starting with the line ups. The ambiance is loud, not quite the place for a romantic date, but more for loud family or group functions. Reservations are highly recommended to guarantee a table.
We had reserved seating upon walking in; set in the middle of the restaurant a long table that felt very Roman Trattoria like. A long table set for a big group.
I must say that the service was very fast and courteous; they opened our wine bottles and brought us the menus immediately. They came back shortly thereafter to take our orders, and we were all served our meal as the same time. An accomplishment in itself.
We sampled for starters, a Insalata mista, a Insalata Cesare and calamari fritti, Polpette della Nonna, Cozze, and a Portobello alla Griglia, ranging from $7.00 to $15.00.
The salad was generous portions and well seasoned to taste. The meatballs were good but not the freshest, they had been sitting in the sauce for a while, the mussels were decent but also not the freshest and the sauce that accompanied them had no outstanding flavors. The fried calamari was a mix of tender and crisp morsels, accompanied by a tomato sauce for dipping. The Portabella alla Griglia was not presentable. It looked like mashed mushrooms with Arborio rice. Instead of chunks of sliced mushrooms it looked like mushrooms had disintegrated into mush, the taste was bland, presentation was not appetizing. I would definitely would not order this, very disappointing. Something definitely went wrong in the kitchen.
On the next round of dishes, were not better. We ordered three pizzas, the Speck and Arugula, for $18.00, which was good but lacked the oomph in the dough. The Caprina with goat cheese and red peppers for $19.00 fell flat. The Margherita pizza for $15.00 ordered for the kids was cold, tough and flavorless.
The pastas dishes ordered were Gnocchi al la Gigi for $18.00 and Gnocchi Rose sauce for $ 17.00. I liked my Gnocchi al la Gigi. The gnocchi were not homemade and ultimately fresh, but it was edible. The gnocchi with the rose sauce tasted frozen and were served cold. The Penne with Sausage and Rapini for $ 18.00 only warranted a “I had better comment” and Penne Bolognese for $ 15.00 and a Spaghetti al Pescatore for $ 25.00 also were deemed decent but not outstanding.
Also ordered were the Chicken Parmesan at $ 22.00 and the Veal Limone for $ 25.00 and Entrecote for $ 30.00 which was of medium quality. Although edible, the dishes were truly not authentic. The sauces were generic tasting and the quality somewhat inferior. The Entrecote priced very high was not grilled accordingly and left much to be desired.
All in all, a good time was had by all. Most of us were full and opted out for dessert only one person ordered Tiramisu for $7.00. Just some cappuccinos, tea and espresso to cap off the night with more chit chat and stories amongst the family.
3237 Boulevard des Sources (Galeries des Sources)
Phone: (514) 685-8808
Chef Hats: 2.5
Cost: $ 21.39 (tax & tip per person/lunch)
With time things do change, the last time I ate Kanda Sushi on Boulevard St Jean in the West island many years ago upon its initial opening ,I was not too impressed. The sushi was not fresh, and other dishes were not comparable and I never returned. Meanwhile all you can eat Sushi restaurants began popping up all over town. A few years back it had become all the rage among the young millenniums and the trend seems to be going strong with no imminent end. I have been to some very good ones that are mostly situated in the new Chinatown, a stretch on St Catherine between Guy and St Marc in the downtown core. For the perpetual foodie, these types of restaurants are considered a casual eats. Unless you are eating at Park or Jun-I, where Sushi is more of an art and you are being served by the masters and every morsel has been carefully thought out.
Last October 2015, I heard that Kanda was moving from St Jean Boul. and opening up shop in Galeries des Sources. I was still not too impressed and I kind of stayed away. West Island has a handful of good all you can eat sushi restaurants; some are good and some are really bad, basically they have replaced the Italian eateries and Greek brochetteries that once lined the boulevards of this suburb. Therefore Kanda in my books was just another generic all you can eat franchise specializing in Sushi and Pan Asian food, making six branches throughout Montreal and outskirts.
Recently Kanda Sushi was suggested for lunch, not really having a choice in the matter as majority won, I decided to tag along and join in or eat alone. For $ 15.99 all you can eat lunch, I couldn’t go wrong. A Tim Horton sandwich would have cost me $ 10.00 plus tax anyways. So I decided to splurge.
You can find Kanda on the outside of the mall, a door away from Maison Corbeil. Not ideal in terms of locale, but once inside, it is totally modern and hi tech, something that will appeal to many millenniums. They also have tablets for menus instead of the old paper ones where you can order your food from. You have a choice of as many dishes as you want and its served tableside. No need to get up and go serve yourself like yester years. The décor is very lively and upbeat. The seating is a hue of red and blue leather banquettes and tables. The service is speedy and efficient. You will find all your favorites dishes, starting with any type of sushi and sashimi, soups, appetizers, teriyaki and tempuras. As well as some basic Thai and szchecuan dishes.
You can choose the portions based on the number of people you are. The portions are small and enough for one person, so make sure you order two portions if more than one person wants the same item on the menu, cause one is not enough to share. You can order as many times as you want. Kanda is also BYOB so don’t forget to bring your favorite sake.
In the evening the price increases to $ 25.50 per person, but it is still worth your while. Soft drinks are additional and some desserts like Fried Banana will cost you extra on your tab. Also anything that is not completed will cost you $1.50 on top of your original cost. Do not over order and no doggie bagging allowed or this is considered take out and it will cost you additional as well.
After that fateful day, I have visited a few Kanda Sushi around town and not all work in the same manner and not all are of the same quality. In June we visited the one on Decarie and were a little disappointed in terms of quality and service. I prefer the Dollard branch it seems more with the times and the food is decent and service friendlier. It also has more of a family atmosphere especially on the weekends with their large screen TV’s and lounge music. Not for those fickle at heart. It can be disturbing on the senses for some. But for a casual in and out lunch, it’s just perfect.