No. 21: Maison Publique
Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal might seem an unlikely location for one of the best gastropubs this side of Piccadilly, but that’s exactly what Maison Publique is.
Chef Derek Dammann, along with his backing partner and friend Jamie Oliver, are applying the objective of the original gastropubs—to rediscover, update and legitimize traditional British cooking—to Canadian food.
Drawing on the best ingredients from across the country, and putting them through an internationally inspired range of techniques, the kitchen is able to turn out some of the most exciting, dynamic food anywhere. Hearty Beach Angel oysters are paired with marmite and mushrooms for a surprise blast of oceanic umami, creamy foie gras mousse is slathered on toast and served with gherkins.
Even a humble bagna cauda becomes something profound and luxurious in the hands of this talented team. The food is serious, but as the toque-wearing taxidermy and sprinkles-covered soft-serve sundaes suggest, this is a restaurant for enjoying not pondering.
Derek’s my friend, but I loved his food before we ever met. Ingredient- and technique-driven cooking that is always surprising and delicious. – CHRIS JOHNS (Co-author of Dammann Cookbook)