There are a few things that we Montrealers are passionate about; politics, the great bagel and smoked meat debates, road construction and a good food festival. If you think hard, you’ll be able to remember the times the city was literally a buzz with food-centric events. Hungry hoards of foodies making the trek to different parts of the city all in the name of devouring some of the best dishes by the city’s best culinary talents. One of the biggest Old Montreal food festivals is back after a two year hiatus; Happening Gourmand and it’s better than ever.
Happening Gourmand by Experience Old Montréal is welcoming back patrons and inviting you to rediscover Old Montreal. For a whole month starting on March 10th, explore 11 different restaurants offering table d’hôte and brunch specials all at attractive price points of $29, $35, or $39. I got the chance to check out of one of the brunch menus at Modavie.
I’ve attended Happening Gourmand inconsistently for the past 14 years. Modavie is one of the Experience Old Montreal’s properties that I’ve never been to – and I don’t know what took me so long. A long-time fixture in the Montreal Jazz scene, Modavie supports local talent by hosting an eclectic group of Montreal-based artists who cover everything from jazz to R&B and Blues.
The brunch menu consists of a smoothie of the day, and a choice of six different dishes. It was nice and frothy. It wasn’t too sweet (which I like) and was refreshing.
Croque-Monsieur with Ham
The croque-monsieur came with a choice of homemade ham or braised lamb topped with with truffle bechamel, and sharp 1608 cheese.
The velvety smooth truffle bechamel sauce tasted richer than Rick Ross.
This sandwich was heavy and substantial and will definitely put you back to sleep after brunch. The velvety smooth truffle bechamel sauce tasted richer than Rick Ross. The pork was moist and the sharp cheese complimented each bite.
Citrus and Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
The citrus and smoked salmon carpaccio was as delicious as it was beautiful. Sliced orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit dressed with honey mascarpone, mint oil, lavender, pine nuts, radishes and garnished with dill and mint. A very generous rosette of smoked salmon towered over the plate.
This dish came with an option of Siberian sturgeon caviar at an extra cost. But is caviar ever an “option” though? When faced with this “option”, there really is no option; you get the caviar. It was light and was nice with the freshly baked rolls I asked for.
We started with the Parisian breakfast. A plate of pastries, homemade jam, homemade marmalade, apple butter, whipped butter – this is *NOT* included in the Happening Gourmand brunch menu.
Duck and Waffle
Modavie’s duck confit and waffle is the fried chicken and waffle’s extra French cousin with impecable fashion sense and a natural disposition to be soignée. Served with a luscious truffle-infused perigourdine sauce, the confit duck sat atop a crisp buttermilk pancake. This and the croque-monsieur is the 1,2, knockout punch. Good luck with the 3-hour post brunch nap after this one.
The service at Modavie was next level; astute, attentive and friendly. From the waitstaff, food runners and the charming Lorenzo who welcomed us warmly, everything was on point and going above and beyond seemed to be the norm.
The Happening gourmand event couldn’t have come at a better time. The weather is warming up, people are getting out more and a mild sense of normalcy is starting to set in. What better way to usher in the new season, the season of new beginnings than to revisit old friends. It was my first time at Modavie and it certainly won’t be the last.
1 Saint-Paul Street West