No. 34: Bouillon Bilk
LOCATED ON THE LESS GLAMOROUS EDGE OF THE QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES—A CONCENTRATION OF THEATRES AND FESTIVAL VENUES—BOUILLON BILK HAS ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS ONE OF MONTREAL’S MOST RESPECTED AND CONSISTENTLY REFINED RESTAURANTS.
Yes, it caters to a hip downtown crowd, but it sets itself apart from its scene-making comrades. The decor is modern and elegant, a tad austere and mostly white with occasional accents of dark wood. The food is serious and thoughtful, just like the wine list. Expect novelty and sophistication in dishes such as shrimp with ground cherries and Tokyo turnips, in which the lightly cooked crustacean contrasts with the tartness of the fruit and the salty crispiness of the thinly sliced sweet root. And if truffles are in season, go for the cavatelli with a silky sauce of braised rabbit, finished with almonds and thin slices of the pungent delicacy. This dish pretty much defines what luxurious comfort food can be.
A seat at the bar affords a good view of the semi-open kitchen, where chef François Nadon executes his original and polished presentations. Do not forget to try the bread, made on the premises. It’s so perfectly soft and crunchy that everyone wants to bring some home—so now they sell it to go. This is a popular spot, so if you can’t get a reservation you might try your luck as a walk-in and grab a seat at the bar. If that’s a no-go, don’t despair. Last year, Nadon and partners opened the next best thing in the neighbourhood. Just down the street, Cadet serves tasty snacks like Arctic char blini and cod à bras, along with mains of chicken thigh piri piri and veal skirt steak with chorizo and pearl onions. It’s not quite Bouillon Bilk, but it’s certainly the best runner-up in the area.
Monday to Friday
11:30 AM until 2:30 PM
Monday to Sunday
5:30 PM until 11:00 PM
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLEN McEachern