Sublime Dinner at Restaurant Beau Mont (Montreal, Canada)
Restaurant Beau Mont feels like you’ve walked into one of your charming, well-heeled artistic or fashionable friend’s spacious apartment for dinner. One who cares and loves food deeply and has the food philosophy of using the best, locally sourced ingredients, cooks it well but simply and make the dishes look beautiful yet effortless even though it’s not. That’s how I felt overall when I dined here.
Beaut Mont is led by the same team of the famous Montreal upscale and avant garde restaurant Toqué! While it feels a little bit relaxed compared to its older sister restaurant, it still kept the high standards that one would expect from owners Chef Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche.
The location of this restaurant is at Parc-Extension neighborhood and it is within a low-rise office building, which most (tourists) generally wouldn’t expect since it’s far away from Downtown and the Plateau. This is the general trend for many large cities that the better and/or interesting places are opening at the up and coming neighborhoods. But I’m saying this again, it’s worth making the schlep.
So onto the food…
I sat at the bar since I was dining solo. The gregarious bartender and a friendly and unassuming sommelier welcomed me and I talked a little bit about their cocktail list. Most of the drinks are based on the classics but have subtle twists because of the use of Québécois ingredients like my Sherry Sherry Bang Bang. This drink’s based spirit is Amermelade, the first Québec made bitter apéritif like a Camapari but not exactly when you try it neat since it’s more citrus-forward. And it’s quaffable in the summer heat since it’s spritz and a flavorful one at that with the house made black tea syrup.
My two appetizers were incredible. The Nordic shrimp, radish, chili, garlic vinaigrette was light and clean. The sweet shrimp mingled with the thick, tart yogurt. The sweet summer tomatoes brought subtle acidity that bring all the flavors together. The leaves of fresh mint and thin slices of what looked akin to a Thai bird chili added moments of sharp spicy and herbaceous flavors that made the dish really interesting.
The one that I didn’t anticipate to like more than the Nordic shrimp appetizer was the seared cucumber, la Beurrasse cheese, marinated trout roe topped with shaved bottarga. It read too simple on the menu but the sommelier really adores this dish so I had it. I didn’t expect it to be this pretty and it’s simply delicious. The seared compressed cucumber was the perfect vehicle for these delicate flavors of the fresh young cheese and the subtle salinity and brine from the trout roe and bottarga added subtle funky fish accents to enhance the cheese and bring all the flavors together.
My main course was the Guinea fowl breast with kohlarbi, thyme sauce and a side of broccoli, almonds, pink peppercorns and sea buckthorn. I know Guinea fowl may not be the most interesting animal protein to eat but I’m testing the kitchen if they can cook what is very close to chicken breast perfectly and they did. It’s beautifully moist and tender and the sauce poured at the table added just enough salinity and depth of flavors. The broccoli was great and I loved the crunch from the toasted almonds and the moments of chili and tang from the spices.
If I had room in my stomach or if I had a friend eating with me, I would have ordered two desserts alas, I’m dining solo and had the simple sounding strawberry salad. It’s tossed with green alder pepper creme anglaise topped with a quenelle of cucumber sorbet. It’s an elevated form of strawberries and cream. The strawberries are at its peak where it’s very sweet and juicy and has the nice punch of acidity that’s tempered by the sweet light, fruity and peppery custard. The crushed meringues added some texture and the sorbet was so smooth and had great cucumber flavor. (If you’re wondering what would have been my second dessert, it would have been the rhubarb millefeuille with strawberry sorbet.)
It’s a delight to dine here and this restaurant really does study the idea of having food cooked and prepared simply but it’s all done with precision. The front of the house staff were professional, friendly and knowledgeable about the food.