For a quick weekend getaway, we ended up in the beautiful streets of Montreal. Luckily, the sunniest weathers greeted us allowing us to walk/bike around countless neighbourhoods!
We were hungry hungry hippos by dinner time (even after all the Fairmount bagels) so we stopped by a friend’s recommendation, Garde Manger. It’s a spot tucked inside Old Montreal led by chef Chuck Hughes. Yes, that ultra cool chef with a lobster and lemon meringue pie tattoo.
We went for a very early dinner to ensure seats but imagine our surprise when we saw a lineup outside the entrance! We ended up sitting at the bar but that’s our preference these days. Getting to know your neighbours and the bar tender adds some mealtime excitement.
Dishes were either a hit or miss. We’ll start with an appetizer we really enjoyed:
OCTOPUS, POTATOES, CREME FRAICHE, CHORIZO EMULSION
Tender octopus with a refreshing sauce that did not overpower or mask the seafood flavour.
What we could have skipped:
Lobster was hardly in the dish. For $19, we felt the poutine did not match the price point.
For mains, we savoured:
WALLEYE W/ SEAWEED SPATZLE, & CARROTS
A moist fish and a side of seaweed spatzle which was a new taste for me. (FYI, it has a chewy cheese-like texture that’s made from flour, milk, eggs, sesame and nori.)
But were disappointed by the:
GASPOR PORK BELLY W/ CELERY ROOT PUREE
This was the most disappointing dish of all. With pork belly dishes, we expect a fatty meat. The pork belly was oddly (very) lean and dry. It says a lot when Tim can’t finish his plate.
There is no dessert menu. The bartender presented 5 options for us to choose. We went with a chocolate semifreddo. It was perfect! It can be difficult to achieve the chewy semifreddo texture but the guys at Garde Manger were able to create some magic to finish off our meal. The lemon-y meringue bits added a zest that complemented the dessert very well.
Despite some bumps in the food, we were still won over by the Garde Manager guys. Their better dishes mixed with the sultry ambiance and excellent service would be a reason to come back.
408 Rue Saint Francois Xavier