Perles et Paddock
403 Rue des Seigneurs/ Notre Dame O.
Tel: (514) 931-0004
Cost: $ 199.95 (for two-including tax & tip)
Chef Hats: 5
Foodies usually follow trends or whispers of recommendations. We are always in the perpetual state of trying to find the latest restaurant openings, the next best chef and latest food craze. We want to be the first to sample and review places as they come up and are relevant at the moment. What brought me to Perles & Paddock was a review I read in the Montreal Gazette in October. The review was the first I had heard and very favorable. I have been following Lesley Chesterman for years and usually trust her opinion. Besides, I love Griffintown and all its trendiness and felt this was a good choice for my Foodie Friends to experience a convivial evening. Pictures of the place also contributed and further cemented my dire need to make reservations quickly. The restaurant did not prove disappointing in any manner and had to be one of the best places we dined out this year. It hit the mark on all counts.
The service was impeccable and very accommodating starting with our reservation and their utmost consideration with our comfort. The restaurant is a real gem, inside and out, totally renovated it is beautifully designed by Architect Maurice Martel whose style is to take rustic buildings and turn them into contemporary designs with clean crisp minimalistic modern lines.
Once inside the décor is very pleasing on the senses. The theme is casual chic, totally decorated in white themes, white walls, tables & chairs with a hint of tan leather chairs dispersed here and there. Subdued lighting creates a calming effect and a bright glass skylight adorns the ceiling above the main dining area. Eco friendly potted trees line the center of the restaurant.A modern bar lines one end of the wall, the opposite side is lined with potted ferns and long high tabouret tables. There is a private section in the back that is closed off with French doors for larger groups or parties. The look and feel of the place fits perfectly with the patrons of this industrial upcoming urbanite neighborhood.
After perusing the menu and cocktail list, our group decided to go for mix of cocktails while the rest opted for wine by the glass. The two cocktails ordered were Night in Tunisia and a Vodka Sour for $ 15.00, not cheap but well worth it. The Night in Tunisia was a work of art with its beautiful garnish of mint, star anise and flowers. Made with rum, watermelon and citrus juices and Aperitivo liquor it was refreshing and smooth. The Vodka sour was made along same lines, vodka, citrus and sprinkle of rasa al hanout, a Moroccan spice. For wine we settled for a Beaujolais by the glass for $ 12.00.
Perles & Paddock’s cuisine is listed as Modern French but I would classify it more as local market cuisine, with emphasis on “des produits du terroir”. Their menu changes constantly, probably the reason why you will not find it listed on their website. Dishes are limited to about eight entrees, five mains and five desserts and maybe some daily specials. There is something for every gourmand, but it is not for the finicky eaters and prices are a little above average. Perles & Paddock is particularly geared to a specific clientele of discriminating eaters who really enjoy good quality food of higher caliber and have the money to spend for it. Dishes are trendy and be ready to get awed by the plate presentations, they are a work of art and a masterpiece. Everything is beautifully plated and food combinations are inspiring thanks to chef Paddy Cheang, who lists his experience at some of Montreal’s top restaurants.
A couple of our friends ordered two entrees in lieu of a main meal, preferring the choices listed and having nothing to do with the cost. Dinners beware portions are small but very satisfying. As a starter we ordered the Beef Tartar at $18.00 shared by two. Made with Organic Beef, kohlrabi, and oysters. It came topped with thin slices of raw cremini mushrooms, this was deliciously smooth with woodsy hints and a good quality tartar. The kohlrabi added a little texture and even though I am not a fan of raw meat, I truly enjoyed this dish.
Two of our friends ordered the Squash with Autumn Truffles for $17.00. This dish was not only gorgeous to look at and Instagram worthy, it was totally delicious. Made with a blend of cooked squash, dabs of fresh creamy ricotta, Coppa meat ,sprinkles of hazelnut , topped with thin slices of Autumn truffles and a drizzle of a local balsamic vinegar called La Carminée*, which is all the rage these days. This dish was a powerhouse of textures and flavors, well paired with woodsy hints, sweetness and acidity.
The third entrée was the Corn Espuma-$ 18.00, pieces of Grilled Octopus on a puree of chayote, corn, and orange segments, peppers and topped with caviar. This dish was also sheer perfection with a mix of flavors reminiscent of the south. The octopus was tender and not overdone, the caviar brought the right saltiness to the dish.
For mains, we ordered three dishes, the Duck with Swiss chard for $ 36, 00, the Gaspésie Halibut -$ 35.00 and the Beef Cheeks -$ 30.00. The Duck was the best, a large portion of Duck Breast that was perfectly cooked and not overdone. It was served with cranberries, atop oyster mushrooms and green string beans in a cranberry jus. I could not get enough of this dish and the portion was more than generous and filing, another successful plate presentation.
The Braised Beef cheeks came served atop braised red cabbage with two types of potatoes; roasted wedges and the cutest potato croquettes. The meat was fall off the bone tender with a beef stock wine infused sauce that was to die for. The potato croquettes were an anomaly and we had to ask what to make sure. They were a deviant from the norm in taste and texture but really good and we wanted more.
The Gaspésie Halibut was perfectly cooked, tender, fresh and very tasty. It came served with ribbons of Salsify (a parsnip like root vegetable), roasted and halved Brussels sprouts and mushrooms in a lemon poppy sauce. I found the salsify a little tough but I am unaccustomed to eating them. The show stopper was the halibut, fine in itself, any accouterments would be secondary.
For dessert, we shared the Figs & Pecans dessert for $15.00, with an espresso and tea. We also sampled a dessert called La Pomette -$14.00.
The Fig and Pecan dessert came served on multiple galette made of pecans. The figs were grilled and topped with dabs of whipped cream and a drizzle of Balsamic Caramel and lavender. A Quenelles of vanilla ice cream sat on the side atop another mini galette. The dish was beautifully presented and also a good mix of textures with the sweet and soft figs against the crunchy pecans. Tea was served in a pot worthy of High tea that one can only find at a five star hotel. The espresso was made with good Italian coffee.
La Pomette dessert was a deconstructed masterpiece of apples made 5 ways. A mix of apple crumble and cake, with drizzle of smoked butter caramel, quenelles of apple caramel ice cream and dabs of apple infused Chantilly Cream. Totally decadent and loved by our foodie friends. A great topper to complete the meal.
Our waiter who provided solicitous service all night long was more than friendly had lots of inquiries, after a brief explanation he asked for our honest opinion and introduced us to the sommelier, who made more suggestions. The staff goes that extra mile to welcome you from start to finish. That is what makes Perles & Paddock special. We had a great and memorable evening. Mission accomplished. I strongly recommend this restaurant, even for a quick bite at the bar. Why does Griffintown keep getting all the great places, I think it’s time to move!
*La Carminée is a balsamic vinegar made in Quebec and is featured as product of the week on L’épicerie and Di Stasio. Made with apple it has the consistency of a syrup, a little sweet and acidic, great with desserts, salads and to drizzle on dishes to complete mise en place.