In recent years, restaurants around the city are opening their doors on the weekends to facilitate everyone’s favourite weekend pastime – bitching about a hangovers over food. Besides the hoopla of publicly outing and blacklisting no-show reservation-makers, the other current trend in Montreal is the brunch service. Serving up classic and fun signature twists on typical mid morning dishes, only a handful or restaurants dedicate themselves fully to breakfast, brunch and lunch.
I recently hit up Régine Café for brunch. Named and themed after that fictional “ideal” aunt (by the owners) that is loving, courteous, and generous… that probably smells like expired Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, who leaves lipstick stains on her menthol 100s and always has gum in her purse. After entering the lavish space filled with plush, deep-tufted victorian inspired furniture and whimsical wall accents, I would have bet on this place is based on “Régine Zylberberg“, 50s Paris nightclub empress, nicknamed “Queen of the night”.
We were greeted with a complementary shot of their juice of the day – orange, carrot and ginger. Naturally sweet with a slight bite, this subtle gesture of hospitality is greatly appreciated and more places should do this; but with bacon.
Remember that time you went for brunch and looked at your table and thought, “you know what we’re missing? A double-tiered English tea tray packed to the brim with breakfast treats and other delicious goodies.” Well, Régine Café has the remedy to your brunchy shortcomings. Called “Un Peu de Tout” (a little bit of everything) is a platter of homemade pastries, a crème brulée made with yogurt, sliced mini homemade brioche, homemade Nutella, banana and caramel spread, peanut crunch, homemade cinnamon roll, an apricot compote and fresh fruits.
This literally was a little bit of everything sweet you can imagine. Their buttery scones were light and fluffy and tasted amazing with a dollop of fresh creme anglais and the brioche was perfect with a smear of the jams and homemade Nutella – which was not as sweet as the original, but appreciated for the reduced sugar content.
We also split the “Gros Jambon” – the quintessential feature brunch plate at any respectable establishment serving AM meals which may or may not include crying babies or a party celebrating something that incorporates balloons and a gag hat. Your choice of eggs, ham, bacon, baked beans, potatoes, fruits, cretons with a side of toasted baguette.
The eggs were eggs, the bacon was crispy, the creton was warm and the beans were a bit runny for my taste. The grilled baguette is a great alternative to the regular question of preferring white and brown bread. The ham was a treat; not overly salty, it was tender and pulled apart easily. Régine Café prides themselves on working with local producers and businesses to provide diners with the freshest ingredients as they proudly list their partnering bakery, fromagerie, brûlerie and butcher on their website.
Reservations, during the week are highly recommended. Regular lineups prove that people in the area love their brunch and it’s only a matter of time before people around the city will be getting their brunch fix on at Régine Café.
1840 Rue Beaubien Est