A special day requires a special dinner. Too many restaurants in Montreal fit in that category – we are so overwhelmed by choices. I want somewhere chic enough for a date night, but not plagued by the decor and only to be disappointed by the food.
I made a reservation at Bouillon Bilk.
Passe Compose has taken over Ma’tine location. It was quite nostalgic when I sat at the table, looking around, reminiscing about the same time last year, where I had my mesmerizing brunch. I cannot believe Ma’tine is no longer with us and whatever remains have been acquired by Passe Compose. Not much has changed other than more tables are placed near the entrance, putting the pastry counter into oblivion.
Let the past be the past and move on with the present! Passe Compose is one of the most sought after weekend brunch location with waiting lines starting as early as 10 in the morning and only getting longer and longer by noon. The most sought after answer for the question “Is it worth the wait?” is then… to be followed. 😉
The menu is extensive, perhaps too much, rendering deciding on a dish the toughest task of the day. I prefer it simple with limited choices. Not only does it simplify my life, but it also lets us know that the chef has focused on mastering the dishes.
To start, Mr.Butter and I both had a Macchiato and we both find it incredibly sour. Needless to say, we were both disappointed.
The waitress highly suggested that we ordered their popular French toast, so we did and I understand the appeal. It is deep fried so it is best to consume it while it is still warm. It was like a flatten donut. The fluffy texture thinner than donuts has a strong crust all around it to provide a crunchy bite. I am not crazy about it, but like I say, I understand the general appeal. I am more a pain perdu kind of girl.
Chicken and waffle
Of course when there is chicken and waffle on the menu, Mr.Butter gunshots it. He is still in deep memories of his beloved chicken and waffle dish from Le Gros Jambon (another lovely restaurant that is now closed) and wishes to find another place that can serve just as good. The presentation of the dish can make anyone jealous and urges anyone to order it. However, the disappointment kicked in soon after. The waffle was missing some oomph – that fresh and airy crunch. The chicken appeared t nicely deep fried, but the skin was sad. I believe the chicken was not fried long enough because the meat was tightly holding to the bone to the point where we could still see redness (almost blood). The redness did not bother me because I believe (how usually chicken is served in Chinese cuisine) a bit of redness in the chicken is normal in order to achieve tenderness while remaining cooked and safe to consume before the meat becomes dry. Mr.Butter does not have the same philosophy as me and was not very comfortable with the sight. The seasoning was fine, but because the texture was lacking, the dish was not exciting.
Gaspor poached eggs
I am hoping that I jotted the name of the dish correctly (oh you know me). This dish consists of 2 poached eggs sitting on top of a mixture of shredded pork shoulder and potatoes with old cheddar cheese. It tasted exactly like the listed ingredients, nothing more and nothing less; True to its ingredients, but missing the point of elevating the taste. It was on the heavier, creamier side and I think it needed an extra something to lift it, be it sweet or tangy. But the included beet shot and bowl of fruits on the side were a great addition.
Overall, the menu is fun with many options. All the dishes looked fantastic and playful, but that’s where the enthusiasm stops. I was not experiencing any endearing moments: The moment where my heart and stomach squeal in unison. Looking for originality, I highly recommend Passe Compose, but reaching for finesse, I would look somewhere else.
I was invited to try out Taqueria Arturo’s brunch menu. I will not lie; I was skeptical. Mexican restaurant and brunch? Weird mix. It seems like nowadays every restaurant wants to throw themselves in the brunch wagon just to get a share of the pie. Sometimes, to see restaurants deviate from their main channel could mean business trouble.
I did a little bit of research and I learned that Taqueria Arturo is a fairly new establishment in the hopes to revive Prince Arthur street by introducing cheap eats. It made sense, but the task is not that simple. Can Taqueria Arturo deliver their mission? Let’s not be too pessimistic, shall we?
I threaded through the streets piled with snows and construction cones before arriving to Taqueria Arturo. It was quiet at 11am on a Sunday. Bad sign? The vibe emitted by the decor was more suitable for a nightlife restaurant. I could imagine the place filled up with a loud crowd drinking heavily with a DJ playing music in the background. It was difficult to picture a worthy brunch.
However, I found the brunch menu intriguing. It was play on classic brunch items with a Mexican touch. The price was surprising as well! It averages from $9 to $11. Recently, all the restaurants that I’ve been charges about $16.
So, we ordered eagerly. The host further educated us that the dishes we ordered were all made in-house (in the exception of one, try to guess?). Always a bonus.
This dish was magnificently presented. The fragrant of the cinnamon and vanilla was appetizing. It was hard to imagine that such a plate can be served in a Mexican restaurant. The texture of the french toast was crispy. They did not go light on the butter. They even offered blueberry butter on the side so we could slap more buttery goodness onto the brioche. It was a sweet way to uplift any bad mood. The potatoes served with the dish was very spicy, might be too spicy for the general population. But for someone who can eat spicy, this was perfect!
The burrito was immense, can easily feed 2 mouths. I had a half and I was full right away. This is the breakfast to have for a day of activities. The burrito was filled with rice, black beans, avocado, and choice of chorizo or pork belly. I opted for the complete indulgent experience, pork belly. Yes, with a good portion of fats. I felt almost rebellious. If there is one thing I can suggest to improve this burrito, it would be chilli pepper. I wanted it to be spicy. Good thing that the spicy potatoes were also served on the plate.
While we were enjoying our meal, customers were coming in. I guess we were too early and most of the population was just recovering from their
saturday nightlife. I actually wished Taqueria Arturo receives more recognition. Cheap eats, they did it. Their mission is accomplished.
Cafe Melbourne serves brunch as if you are in Australia! But be careful, they don’t serve brunch every weekend and only serve a limited quantity! Be there early or you would end up disappointed. Not to mention, there is a line up even on super cold days! Check their instagram to stay informed with their brunch availability.
What to expect in Cafe Melbourne? Colorful dishes with names inspired from Australian celebrities. It is simple, but it adds more fun factor in the whole experience.
The best way I could describe the menu is adjustive to attribute to people. Some dishes are like your girl next door, plain, simple but still great. Some were diva, over the top presentation. Some were quirky, with unique attributes. I’ll let you be the judge to determine which dish fits which description!
Cafe Melbourne is the ideal place for a sweet date brunch, or just a quiet brunch with your friends or even a weekend meet up with your parents. I do not suggest this place for family gathering nor any big group meet up. The restaurant is small. It is more like a cafe turned into a temporary restaurant with a rudimentary kitchen.
I loved my experience at Cafe Melbourne. The menu was fun, retaining most brunch characteristics but with some twist in the ingredients.
The beautiful spread of the food
Aubergine puree topped with soft boiled eggs, herbed labneh, za’atar, chili oil, sumac with toasted pullman bread
Smoked salmon on poppy seed bagel with wasabi cream cheese, yuzu tahini, watercress, edamame and soft-boiled egg
Smashed avocado on toasted sourdough bread, grilled halloumi, macadamia dukkah, roasted tomatoes, topped with soft-boiled egg
It’s Britney B*tch
Red velvet hotcake topped with maple mascarpone, Lucky Charms and chocolate dipped bacon, cheese Doritos, texture of berries and fairy floss
Brioche bun loaded with sriracha mac and cheese, avocado, bacon, fried egg, melted swiss cheese, tomato jam and miso mayonnaise.