Your favourite secret Chinese restaurant is back at it again with an undercover (well not anymore) DAILY dim sum service. I first wrote about this place eight years ago. For those who don’t know about this Chinese restaurant speakeasy, it’s in the basement of an all you can eat sushi spot. When you walk into Kanda Sushi on Decarie, disregard the hostess station and walk past the sushi bar towards the spiralling stairs. Pass the high chairs and random pile of table linens, the stairs will give way to an alternate universe, a second restaurant – a restaurant within a restaurant – Oriental Fuzion.
I know I often talk in superlatives and hyperbole. Likening something to a mind shattering experience of epic proportion‘s or comparing something to the warm embrace of your mother. I mean, both statements could be true. I’ve eaten a lot of things so if I tell you something is awesome I’m usually right. Also your mom‘s hugs are A1, trust me. So, when I tell you that this place serves the best French toast you’ll ever have in Montreal you’ll have to believe me. And I’m not even a fan of French toast. This week I visited a local café that if you closed your eyes and concentrated hard enough, you’d think you were transported to a quaint Parisian neighbourhood. You need to go to Les Bourlettes Café in Ville St. Laurent.
Brunch is such a funny concept. Yes, we all understand that it’s the meal between breakfast and lunch. It often consists of foods that you might consider a bit too heavy to eat for breakfast, but push eating that dish a couple of hours, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat before lunch. Is brunch time based food? Or it is food relegated to the weekend that’s an excuse to day drink before noon? In any case, it’s definitely a western thing. See dim sum, pho, grilled fish and steamed egg in dashi. Except for the big chains, it’s only been in the last little while that we’ve been lucky enough to have restaurants that offer brunchy things daily – Janine, Regine, Pointe Claire Deli, and Tommy to name a few. This week, I checked out the newest spot serving daily breakfast and brunch in Verdun, Millmans.
I’ve been writing about the Montreal food and Montreal restaurant scene for over 15 years (!) In the past decade and a half (!!) I’ve been witness to fads, trends, restaurants come and go, some with great fanfare, others quietly. What I love most about writing about food are the places that normally would not get noticed. The places who fly under the radar because they are so busy doing their own thing to draw attention to themselves. The gems. I’ll admit, the places that I often selfishly keep to myself. But then realize it goes against exactly what I set our to do 15 years ago; sharing my experiences and discoveries I make eating my way across the city. I’m going to tell you about this place I’ve been going to because, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do; Restaurant Miran.
In every corner of the city, in every neighbourhood, we’ve all got our favourite “neighbourhood spot”. You know, that mom and pop Chinese take out place, or the no frills 2-for-1 pizza place that also sells slices, the coffee shop and bakery. Depending on where you live in our eclectic city, the roster can also include French brasserie, banh mi shop and if you live in The Plateau, Biergarten. That’s right. The lucky folks who live right off Parc Laurier have their own outdoor boozey oasis, serving home grown brews and delicious food. Not just “pub grub” though. Food by renown chef Paul Toussaint. This week I had the chance to check out The Biergarten Belle Gueule and Aux Quartiers Belle Gueule pub.
Who knew you could get delicious pizza and pasta in Chinatown in a space designed by a local award-winning firm? In the past 5 to 8 years, there have been a great variety of new restaurant options in the neighbourhood. You’ve got your local staples of Cantonese cuisine, Szeuchuan, to places pulling fresh noodles and buns and desserts. Now add taquerias, sukiyaki, bubble tea and now Italian to the mix. What do you get? A Chinatown that’s unlike any other. This week I check out Tiramisu, the newest hotspot in Chinatown slinging pizza and pasta.
I’d love to say that the Montreal restaurant scene always finds a way to amaze me, but I won’t. Not to say that I’m jaded and blasé, I’m far from it. But with the kind of culinary talent the city fosters, from new, up and coming chefs that are offering innovation, to the stalwart kitchen veterans who’ve been around for a while, the bar is so high that mind blowing meals are to be expected no matter where you eat. So it’s a great feeling when you step back into a place that you haven’t been to in a while to find that the spot had not skipped a beat and is living up to their established reputation. I had the opportunity to check out Ikanos again to try out their new dry-aged fish menu just in time for summer.
Montreal’s fried chicken scene is happening. We’ve got all types the run the gamut from Korean fried chicken like my faves, Comon, Mon Ami, Corilla, and Dawa, to Southern style at Triple Crown Dinette and Icehouse to everything in between. Now comes a new player in the game. When I first got word of this week’s spot, I was excited. Not only because it was fried chicken, but one the kind that is not represented AT ALL in the city. What do you think of when I say Filipino fried chicken? That place with the dead-eye mascot performing a choreographed dance at a children’s birthday party? What if I told you, there’s a place in Montreal that’s comparable… and dare I say, even better. This week I check out Maffeo’s Fried chicken.
Once upon a time, I was not a fan of brunch. I disliked the idea of having a whole new set of rules and restrictions of what food identified as to be categorized as another meal. But I overcame, no titles will define my meals. Maybe it was just because it was embarrassing to include brunch in the list of meals I ate in a day; breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, pre-dinner, dinner and second-dinner. To be fair, you can’t blame me when Montreal has so many great brunch options. To add to the growing list, this week I checked out the newest location of Tommy Cafe at Fairview Pointe-Claire.
I’ve always joked that dim sum is almost a form of Chinese tapas – small dishes, bite-sized foods easy to share – “chapas”. I recently had the opportunity to check out a spot in Laval that is re-interpreting and re-envisioning modern Chinese cuisine and serving them tapas style. Gon Bui is a young and fun spot interpreting what Chinese tapas would be. Done by incorporating elements from other Asian cuisines to amalgamate and present something thoughtful and new. I’ll drink to that… Cheers? Santé? No, gon bui!