THANKS TO ITS SENSIBLY DELINEATED SPACES, this vast and eminently stylish Old Montreal brasserie manages to feel intimate and comfortable in a manner that belies its 175-seat size. You can settle in at the stunning long bar with 20 stools and a lounge; or, just beyond, in the spillover brasserie; or, if you’re inclined toward something more posh, in the back dining room with its elegant black banquettes and white tablecloths. Alain Carle’s design is decidedly modern — a vast expanse of shimmering white floor tiles, Simon Johns lighting and Scandinavian chairs — while paying obvious tribute (with its industrial finishes) to iconic local restaurant designs of decades past, like L’Express and Luxe. The food, from the exceptionally talented Jérémie Bastien, combines classic French flavour profiles with contemporary techniques and a light touch for consistently irresistible results. Both the casual menu and the more structured multi-course edition for the backroom evolve constantly — according to season, and chef ’s whim. But for good reason some classics from opening day endure, like the bouillabaisse studded with mussels, monkfish, cod, prawn and squid, each cooked à la minute to perfect doneness. Fish and shellfish is a kitchen strong point; but then, so is the dry-aged beef program, and most everything in between (snails, sweetbreads, duck, squab, etc.). Service is deft, the wine list extensive and contemporary (yes, orange wines included), and the markup modest.
Splendid restaurant – food service and decor.”
Photography by: (Monarque Interior) James Brittain, (Food) Vincent Perrocheau