5626 Monkland Ave/ Oxford Avenue,
Phone: (514) 379-1275
Cost: Brunch Sunday-$ 30.29
Chef Hats: 2.5
Hopkins Restaurant is no stranger to Monkland Village residents by now. Opened in Summer 2017, in the locale that formerly housed Lucille’s Oyster Dive, it was a very welcome contender from the onset. Fans of the village always look forward to a new place to nosh, especially on those warm summer nights. We all loved Lucille’s and even though they just moved down the street to bigger digs, it was nice to see a new resto take its place. Hopkins namesake comes from Chef & Owner Liam Hopkins. This venture was started with Nicolina Servello -Creative Director at Hopkins, both ,whose roots began in NDG. For this team their life long dream turned to reality as it was always their vision to open their own little restaurant in the Village. When the spot opened up, they jumped at the chance, because of its prime location.
The 50-seat restaurant, has been beautifully designed by Nicolina herself. The resto is a bright large open space with white columns, decorated with neutral colors of white, blue and gold that exude calmness and elegance. Of course, their wall to wall sliding glass windows are still a fixture and open in summer to the sounds of the busy street. A marble bar with comfortable blue grey chairs sits at the far wall making it as idyllic spot for a romantic tète a tète. The restaurant exudes the same feeling of “je ne sais quoi” that permeates the mentality and vibe of the artistic lifestyle of the neighborhood.
Hopkins menu is based on a mix of French and Italian inspired dishes, these days it is heavier on the pasta dishes, with a mix of fresh market seasonal produce and original plate presentations. The menu choices will please most palates. In the evening they have dishes like Magret de Canard, Steak & Frites, Fish and pasta. Any dish that you try at Hopkins will embody seasonal favors, with a twist away from the classic concepts , which is Liam Hopkin’s signature. Subtle but visible.
Hopkins is considered most definitely fine dining, by all standards. It has a wonderful enticing menu, great cocktails and a fine and expensive wine list. They also serve brunch on weekends. I have to say Brunch is not the best service to see what this chef and this restaurant has to offer. This was my experience this time around. I strongly suggest avoiding any brunch in a fine dining establishment, unless it is hotel dining and even then depending where! Mainly because, brunch doesn’t do any restaurant justice, especially a fine dining one. Breakfasts are usually the night before leftovers, scrapped together to create the morning meals. Although good for those who need to eat, believe in spending less money and still think they are getting to sample the restaurant. It is not true representations of the restaurants’ capabilities and a disappointment for those who are foodies.
A simple brunch at Hopkins can set you back $30.00 and is not that much cheaper than the entrees on the dinner or lunch menu. Hopkins is not inexpensive, items on the dinner menu range from $ 26-35, for a main meal, that is not counting entrees, dessert and a glass of wine. Be prepared to spend close to $100 per person, with tax and tip included.
On the morning we visited, we sampled a plethora of dishes, as we were 8 people. We started with the a Traditional French Omelet for $ 14.00, a scrambled eggs and sausage patties for $16.00., Breakfast Eggs sandwich for $ 16.00 , Buttermilk pancakes for $ 13.00, Eggs Benedict for $ 18.00 and Chicken & Waffles for the same price. The breakfast sandwich came served on an open English muffin, with maple infused bacon, served with potatoes, the dish pretty generic, it was decent but typical and nothing too special. The same with the scrambled eggs dish, with sausage patties. and hash browns.
The buttermilk pancakes, came served with a mound of fresh berries and Maple Syrup from St -Leon, an organic syrup from Granite County, Quebec, named after the family that harvest the syrup. The syrup is a pure organic maple syrup and is boiled entirely from a single patch of pristine Appalachian forest. The pancakes were delicious but our friend was not able to tell the difference between this syrup and the usual brand she uses.
The traditional French omelet came served with a green salad and chive vinaigrette that was light and flavorful. It hit the spot, but no frills added.
The Eggs Benedict looked like such a draw, served with aged cheddar, pleurotes mushrooms, it was different than the usual Hollandaise sauce. The first couple of bites were good, then it started to weigh heavy on the stomach. One could not help but think it was a left over sauce from the night before, within an hour my stomach proved it.
The fried chicken and waffles were good and portions generous. The coffee at Hopkins was also of better quality. The service was really slow, and scattered and we did not get our meals till almost 45 minutes later. They did not seem prepared for the Sunday morning rush.
I truly loved the ambiance at Hopkins and would love to return for dinner, judging from this experience and the cost, I am dubious now. This is why brunch is not my favorite meal of the day. All in all, a good time was had among good friends and sometimes that is all that counts.