Thursday, April 28, 2011

Au chaud lapin

Another coupon! We paid 15$ for 30$ worth of food. Yay for coupons!

So we get there and we take the table next to the window which was nice. It was about 7PM and it didn't seem very busy. I think the first thing we noticed was the fact that there were a LOT of textures in the place! OK so there are windows and above the windows, stained glass, and then there is one part wooden floor and one part something else. Also, on the walls, there are mirrors and then there is fur (i'm guessing imitation rabbit fur) and anyway it was a bit too much for the eyes.

We had a nice table facing Mont-Royal avenue: great for people watching! Our waitress came to give us the menus and to take our drink orders. She didn't particularly look happy to be there or to serve us. it was really hard to notice a smile on her face.

Anywho, we got over her and ordered the following:

1. We shared the entrée: mousse de foie de lapin et foie gras; gelée d'hydromel, abricots séchés, pain grillé ( 12 $. This was really, REALLY good!!! thing is, the bread they brought for this was quite burnt :( but we consoled ourselves by eating it with the 'normal' bread that was sitting on our table. A very good mousse and of course, when is foie gras ever bad. The gelée d'hydromel and the apricots completed the yummyness of it! )

2. Cuisse de lapin en civet: betteraves confites au gras de canard, haricots verts, polenta frite aux herbes (26$. Mmmmm! Well I may be biased because I'm a huge fan of rabbit but this was good and tender! The polenta was a perfect fit and the beets were wonderful with the rabbit.)

3. Raviolis au canard confit; salade de roquette et émulsion de foie gras (27$. Again, very good but we could have been a bit happier with more sauce. I mean, for a 27$ plate, you give more sauce god damn it! No, but seriously, I didn't feel like it was totally worth the big price tag. It's not that it wasn't good, because it WAS, but 27$ was a bit hefty.

After this, we felt like desert but looked at the choices and weren't inspired. But we WERE inspired by the demi tartare de saumon! (12$. Coriander and coriander seeds, lemon, orange and lime zests made it, I think, one of the best I've had!)

I had checked the menu a couple days before going and, although it was out of our price range, wanted to try the 'tour du lapin'. I believe it was about 80$. It looked sooooo good: mousse de lapin, cuisse de lapin, everything lapin! Can you tell I like rabbit? Thing is, the day after I checked the menu, they changed it and the tour du lapin was gone :(

Here are the scores:

Food: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10

A tiny bit overpriced but excellent, especially if you love rabbit like we do!

Au Chaud Lapin on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Café Méliès

As per usual... COUPONS!!!! We payed I believe 22$ for up to 48$ of food. Meaning you have la table d'hôte and usually, that's below 48$.
We arrived at 6PM and about 5 people waiters were... waiting right there for us... including about 3 ITHQ-ers, which made me smile. One of the waiters was learning at la SPEL (this teaching restaurant at ITHQ) when ze wife and I went last year and had served us! We got seated right away, and since it wasn't busy, got to choose our seats next to the window in this futuristic looking resto (walls and floors alike are made of marble and lots of stainless steel everywhere made me feel like I was in a shuttle or something :) ).

Took just a minute too long (you know how you FEEL it when it's been a bit too long)---for the record, ze wife doesn't think it took too long...) to get service after we got the menus. I ordered a minestrone, crevettes avec sole et risotto au maïs and ze wife ordered a tomato salad with chèvre with the same main. A couple minutes later, our waiter came to tell me that there wasn't any minestrone and if I'd like something else. So I took the crème de courge musquée which pleased me much but I wandered how come, at the beginning of service, they were lacking elements in the menu.

The waiter brought us the bread which was in a very cute little basket en métal, vertically oriented, very original :)
Ensuite, nos entrées sont arrivées :) My soup was good but it lacked a bit of flavor. Ze wife's plate was equally unsatisfying: the tomatoes were pale and again, lacked flavor. I have to give points for the presentation though: it was quite nice and appetizing.

Le plat principal a été toute une surprise! On s'attendait à avoir sur notre assiette du poisson et des crevettes... mais on a eu des crevettes enrobées de poisson!!! weird, yes! interesting and original, yes! C'était encore meilleur quand on a demandé d'avoir du citron! The one blah thing was that we found des arêtes dans le poisson... uncool! Apart from that, the whole plate was very nice and very much appreciated!

Comme dessert, nous avons choisi le septième pêché (meringue aux amandes et biscuit) et un brownie avec crème fouettée!!! (everything is better with whipped cream!). They were good but not GREAT deserts.

The service itself was good, our waiter was a talker, but he was a cutie so that was fine. We had pretty good service throughout the evening. The one thing that annoyed me was that we could see all the waiters agglomerated near the washrooms, talking, and this got on my last nerve. If you want to do that, do it where the clients won't be able to see you!

So for the scores:

Service: 7.5. Good service, especially for the wine, our glass was never empty. But a couple things annoyed me as mentioned above.
Food: 7

All in all, a good resto with some amusing waiters that mostly do their job right, hehe. Quelques trous ici et là mais bien pour un souper avant(ou après) le cinéma ou bien si on est dans le coin.

ps: Half the time, the website is very VERY slow to load

Cafe Melies on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tasso, bar à mezze

My cousin gave us many links to websites that offer you deals like 'pay 15$ for 40$ at Tasso restaurant' and we are taking advantage of that!! We went to Tasso with exactly that: we paid 15$ on the internet for a coupon that gives us 40$ worth of food and beverages and it was totally worth it! We ended up having to pay only about 20$ each, and that's including tip.

First, the place: it was very cute, very Greek and very close to school, which is great for me! It was like we entered Greece, with white walls and white everything, except for the tables which were wooden and very fitting, we thought. It was quite busy (we had reservations for 8:30PM) but as soon as we came in, someone came to greet us and bring us to a table. As soon as we got to our table, there was a lovely, very jovial waiter that came to bring us menus and tell us how about we should do the ordering (there are combos or you can order à la carte)

We chose the à la carte because we thought that 6 plates would be a bit too much, so we took 5... which turned out to be a tiny bit cheaper anyway!

We had:
saganaki (flambé cheese with ouzo... the waiter came to light it up and damn did it ever make a high flame, almost burned his hair!)

Hteni me axino kai fouakra ( scallops with foie gras)

Hilopites yemistes me garides kai kolokithi (shrimp ravioli... amazing!)

Moussaka (which, according to Isa, wasn,t the real deal compared to when she had it at Ouzeri)

Something that I can't find on their internet menu: braised beef ravioli (also very good!)

We loved everything! I would totally recommend this place, even for people that aren,t into greek food. YUM---MY!

We had a bottle of white wine and for desert, Isa ordered some honey beignets which turned out to be a bit overkill because they gave her like 12 and that was a bit too much, we thought.

So, for the scores:

Food: 8/10

Pretty authentic greek cuisine, great atmosphere and super service ( I mean, come on, that guy almost burnt his hair for us :)

Tasso bar à mezze on Urbanspoon

Le Nil Bleu

On Monday, the wife and I had plans of going for tea and then finding a restaurant near by to get something to eat fast and then attend an improv match at the St-Ciboire. Well, we had the tea, and then decided we were too tired to actually go to the improv match and so decided to go look for a restaurant to eat at. We walked along St-Denis and thought about La Fabrique. That was closed. So we thought about Le Nil Bleu, an ethiopian restaurant, because we had been meaning to go there for a while. Yay, it was opened! And so we entered Africa!

It was a nice little restaurant, very quaint, we thought. Upstairs, there is room for about 100 people and downstairs, there is a reception room for a private party of about 40 people. They have a nice decor, zebra and leopard prints on chairs, some african-looking sculptures everywhere. They were playing Amadou et Mariam which we thought was quite fitting! They also have a nice grand piano which is apparently used Fridays and Saturdays for a little ambiance. We got there at around 7:30 PM and it was about half full. We got a table right away and water was poured into our glasses. We bought a bottle of wine: they didn't have the one we wanted (one of the cheapest one) so we took another one (Fleur du Cap, an african chardonnay) which was more expensive so that was a tiny bit annoying.

We looked at the menu and immediately, we knew what we were going to have: a combination of four choices from the menu (for 2 people) for 33,95$. There is actually 3 selections you can make and we chose A:
1-Doro Watt (slightly spicy chicken with onions and half an egg)
2-Yebeg Alicha ( pieces of stewed lamb with potatoes and carots)
3-Beef Key Watt (tender pieces of beef, slightly spicy, simmered in a berbere sauce)
4-Yekik Alicha (chick peas cooked in curcuma and fresh ginger)

This combo was presented on a huge plate that we were to share. There was also a salad in the middle to freshen the palate, if need be (and the need was there, after all that spice!)

The tricky part was that there were no utensils! We were to eat with ingera(right),which is basically a thin looking bread or a crepe if you will. It was going to be messy, I thought, but turns out, it worked well! I wouldn't necessarily suggest this on a first date but perhaps a second or third one :)

One thing I didn't like that much was that on the tables, there were cloths and over it, a glass to prevent the soiling of the table cloths. Well, I didn't really enjoy the couple hairs that were tucked under there, in plain site. That was not too cool.

Apart from that everything was great. Even the washrooms were very nice, the stalls were made of glass and I found it very sleek. Oh but at some point, there was no more soap :(

We even made friends with the people sitting at the table next to us and had a nice conversation! Isabelle and the wife were talking about something (she is a journalist), while the husband and I were talking food, of course! he used to be a sous-chef and has a site called (Canada Travel News). It was nice to talk about our respective blogs and mostly, about the food!

So for the scores:

Service: 9/10. Service was great. Our waiter was friendly and came to ask us if the food was good once and came only to serve water which was nice. He also did not rush us to pay the bill at the end because he could see that we had made new friends :)

Food: 7.5/10. As Isa mentioned, she wouldn't eat ethiopian food every day and when I asked her what she would eat every day, she looked at me with dreamy eyes and said 'butter chicken!'. hahaha!

A good, new, ethiopian experience! I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who's not afraid to eat with their hands!

Nil Bleu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Europea, my love

For my birthday, the wife took me to Europea. Actually, my all-time dream has been to go to The French Laundry (chef Keller) in California and since that entails paying flight fare and about 300$ for dinner for one, Europea by Jérôme Ferrer was the next best thing.

What to say? It was AMAZING! We loved our fine dining experience! We had the tasting menu which is basically a 10 service meal with a couple extras at the beginning. This menu cost 89,50$ and if you choose to accompany this with wine, the pairing is an extra 64,50$ for 5 glasses. We did not take this option seeing as A: I had quite the party the night before and B: we are not millionaires.

We got there at around 5:30 PM (us oldies eat early :) so there weren't that many people in the restaurant. We went in and immediately there was the hostess to take our jackets and lead us to our table on the second floor right next to the window: a very nice spot. Everyone that worked there seemed to either smile at us or say hello, which was nice. Our waitress immediately brought us the first amuse-bouche which was basically cheese on a stick. But good cheese. Mmmmm.

After that, the feast was about to begin. here is what we ate:
1st course: Lobster cream Cappuccino with truffles shavings
2nd: Mediterranean bass marinated with yuzu juice, rice lettuce
3rd: Giant caramelized scallop, parmesan risotto and crisp, béarnaise sauce emulsion
4th: Seared Quebec Foie gras, root vegetable purée, sautéed chanterelles and chips.
Morel mushroom emulsion, veal jus flavoured with arabica- arpégio coffee
5th: Cornwell chicken, Galanga infusion, Shiitaké vermicelli
6th: Fresh ravioli with ricotta mushrooms, porcini emulsion, grilled Portobello, Alba truffle sauce
7th: Short ribs of Eumatimi Beef, crispy galette of roots vegetables, braised chipolini onions and baby carrot, sweet and sour BBQ
8th: Selection of cheeses
9th: Sweets and deserts (macarons, chocolate and verrines)
10th: Mignardises (barbapapa!, madeleines in a chinese take out box!)

This was, as I just mentionned, a FEAST! WoW! Everything was so good and I we were highly pleased! Starting with the lobster cappuccino: it was marvellous and SO amazing!! The texture and the taste of it were perfect! It was also the first time I ate foie gras and I loved it. I would eat it again any day, in small quantities of course :)They even came up the stairs with the pot where the Cornwell chicken was brewing and showed it to us before they plated! OK, that was a tiny bit exagerated I found but still!

As for the service, we found it very courteous. When you enter the restaurant they take your jacket and lead you to your table. Ours was upstairs on the second floor near the window which we found was a very good spot. The only thing I can say that we didn,t really appreciate is the fact that so many waiters came to our table 9I,d say about 4 or 5) and we found that a bit weird. Also, the table beside ours was so close that when the waitress came to fill up their water, her ass was pretty much on our table. Apart from that, very good, pretty exceptional service.

For the scores:

Food: 10/10
Service: 9.5/10


Tasting menu: 89,50$ per person
Wine paring (5 wines): 64,50$ per person

You can also have the discovery menu for 64,50$ (5 courses) or à la carte.

All in all, an amazing culinary experience!

ps: I must mention that someone I know also went to this restaurant, actually for his birthday, and was not pleased at all! he was siting next to the stairs and apparently every time someone came up or went down, the table shook a bit. Also, he claims they served too much wine and that he felt kind of sick when he left because 'the food contained too much fat'. I say, it's your special day, bring on the fat!!!

Europea on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Just so you know, from now on, this blog will either have fully french posts or fully English posts!! It'll make things clearer, I think!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Afternoon Tea au Café Birks par Europea

Je suis allée au Café Birks le 13 mars dernier en compagnie d’une amie. Nous avons réservé pour 15h30. Sachez qu’il est préférable de réserver (c’est ce qui est indiqué sur le site internet) et consultez bien l’horaire du resto sur leur site. Dans notre cas, nous avons dû quitter à 17h car le resto fermait. Nous y sommes allées pour le English Tea (servi à partir de 14h30 tous les jours, eux l’appellent le Afternoon Tea). C’est l’une de dernières places à Montréal qui offre encore le English Tea (le Maître chocolatier l’offre aussi).
Le premier service était constitué de petits canapés. Nous avons chacune eu droit à un canapé au concombre et crevettes, un canapé au foie gras et chutney et un canapé de saumon et caviar. J’ai aimé ces trois canapés et je les ai trouvé tous trois satisfaisants (surtout celui au foie gras et chutney!). Toutefois, dans les trois cas, la base était une tranche de pain grillé sans croute taillée en forme de rond ce qui m’a laissé un peu perplexe… Nous avons également reçu lors de ce premier service un petit club sandwich fort délicieux (mayo excellente!! Je ne sais pas ce qu’il y avait dans cette sauce mais miam!).
Ensuite, est venu le deuxième service. On nous a servi 2 scones avec de la crème et de la confiture d’oranges, une petite verrine (mousse au chocolat pour l’une et mousse de noisette et praliné pour l’autre), un macaron et un chocolat. Comme nous étions deux et que l’on a reçu une verrine, un macaron et un chocolat différents, nous avons décidé de tout partager pour pouvoir tout goûter. J’ai beaucoup aimé les scones. Le goût et la texture étaient parfaits! Cela s’applique également aux chocolats. Par contre, les verrines ne m’ont pas fait grande impression. La mousse au chocolat était correcte mais le premier commentaire de mon amie fût : << Ta mousse au chocolat est meilleure que celle-ci>>! La verrine aux noisettes était pour sa part beaucoup trop sucrée, nous ne l’avons pas terminée. Les macarons étaient bons mais pas extraordinaires (mais je pense que ça c’est vraiment personnel, je suis une macaron snob! ).
Évidemment, le tout était accompagné de thé! Le Café Birks offre une sélection de 8 thés Mariage Frère de Paris. Lors de notre visite, tous les thés n’étaient pas disponibles mais nous n’avons pas eu de difficulté à choisir un thé qui nous convenait (Thé sur le Nil et Jasmin Mandarin). Celui-ci nous a été servi dans une jolie théière chinoise. Pour l’ensemble des services, je dois dire que la présentation était jolie, pas extraordinaire mais tout de même élégante. Nous avons déboursé 33-34$ chacune (incluant taxes et pourboire) ce que nous n’avons pas trouvé exagéré puisque cela constituait un réel repas. Je n’avais pas dîné auparavant et il faut dire que je n’avais pas faim pour souper par la suite! On nous a également remis un baluchon de Flocons de Montréal (mini-meringues avec des brisures d’amandes et des noix trempées dans le caramel) à emporter! Miam!
Je ne peux pas commenter le menu régulier (que vous trouverez sur le site internet) mais sachez qu’il a été composé par Jérôme Ferrer, chef et propriétaire de Europea, et par Isabelle Huot, nutritionniste. La table d’hôte du midi varie entre 20 et 28$ et le brunch est 39,50$. Par contre, il est possible d’y aller pour prendre ce qu’ils appellent les collations gourmandes (ex : salade, club sandwich, potage, etc.) ou les compositions glacées si votre budget est plus serré.
Le restaurant se trouve directement dans la bijouterie, sur une mezzanine est doit comporter environ 45 places? Bien que le décor était tout ce qu’il y a de plus classique et chic, l’ambiance laissait à désirer. Est-ce dû au fait que c’était un dimanche après-midi ou est-ce représentatif de l’ambiance quotidienne? Difficile à savoir… Il y avait peu de clients à notre arrivée et le resto était très calme. Il faut dire aussi que nous approchions de l’heure de fermeture. Toutefois, je dois dire que cela n’était pas sans nous déplaire. Nous n’avons pas eu à crier pour nous entendre et nous avons pu discuter à loisir. En outre, le service était efficace. Nous avons tout de suite été placées et nos commandes ont été prises rapidement. Nous n’avons pas eu à attendre longtemps entre les services et notre serveuse était agréable.
Je voulais aller au Café Birks spécifiquement pour le thé car j’avais adoré mon expérience d’aller prendre le thé à Londres. Est-ce que mon expérience montréalaise se compare à celle que j’ai vécue au pays de Diana? Non, évidemment pas. Par contre, fût-ce une expérience plaisante? Tout à fait! Différente mais agréable. Retournerai-je au Café Birks? Oui, certainement! J’ai envie d’essayer le brunch!! :)

Voici mes notes!
Pour la nourriture : 7.5/10
Pour le service : 9/10

Birks Café Montréal on Urbanspoon