Have a look at Pastel’s Instagram-perfect plate of foie gras cuit torchon, cut in a perfect square and scattered with umeboshi-cured plum, mirin-infused pear, hazelnuts and edible flowers.
Now, imagine that the dish tastes as good as it looks. That’s why so many of Canada’s 100 Best judges who have been dining out in Montreal recently are talking about Pastel. This new restaurant from chef Jason Morris and business partner Kabir Kapoor–the duo behind Le Fantôme–opened in mid-June, and has been garnering very positive press ever since. A write-up in The New York Times is rumoured to be imminent. The Old Montreal restaurant is decorated simply, its exposed brick walls enhanced with random splashes of pastel colour. But old-school tablecloths allude to the formal ambition of the cooking. And executive chef Morris knows fine dining: the native Montrealer trained in Denmark in the legendary kitchens of Geist and Relæ, then in Norway at Maaemo before returning home to join the opening culinary team at Maison Boulud, Chef Morris’ Scandinavian culinary sensibilities marry well with Japanese flourishes from chef de cuisine Daiki Wajima. Order à la carte if you like but note that it’s the $110 9-course tasting menu which has local diners excited.