Brunch at Salmigondis (Montreal, Canada)
Like most local farmers markets, it’s best to go on the weekend and I went to the beloved and famous Jean Talon Market. It’s so easy to be seduced by the gorgeous summer produce (oh, the perfectly ripened Quebecois strawberries! The sweet peaches! Rhubarb!) that’s available at multiple vendors’ stands. But I had to restrain myself from buying the glorious fruit since I am not permitted to bring this home but I did pick up some really flavorful goat’s milk cheeses and sheep’s milk butter.
Even though there is plenty of opportunities to eat within Jean Talon, you should walk out about 5 minutes to Salmigondis for brunch. Typically for me, brunch isn’t a big deal since the menu is primarily made up of eggs and it feels redundant. However, Salmigondis have some interesting tweaks to the classics that it feels and tastes different.
The restaurant was packed by the time I arrived around 12:30 PM. It’s a relatively compact restaurant that has a charming covered outdoor space where locals and tourists dine until the rain poured. The diners are a large range of people from pairs of young friends and couples to groups of older friends catching up.
I’ve started with two beverages – a really good cappuccino (surprising for a restaurant) and fresh grapefruit juice.
My main course was a really good plate of shrimp cake eggs benedict with cucumber peanut relish, salicornia (also known as sea beans) topped with hollandaise. The shrimp cakes were the primary reason the eggs benedict is different enough for me. The sweet and savory shrimp cakes were perfectly seasoned and the luscious egg yolks and creamy hollandaise added the unctuous elements to the dish. The sea beans and relish added some fresh and crunchy notes.
My dessert so to speak is a plate of manoic or cassava and coconut cake topped with fresh whipped cream, coconut flakes, and cilantro. I also ordered a pot of organic kukicha from Camellia Sinensis Tea House. The tea was excellent – sweet, nutty notes and it’s great the staff provided a minute-long (or two) hourglass to time the brew time perfectly.
The cassava and coconut pancake, essentially, was interesting enough even though I was expecting a slice of layer cake. The slightly chewy texture from the cassava was pleasant and the coconut flavor permeates at every bite nicely.
Overall, it’s a very good place to have brunch. Flavors are unique and the cooking is very good too. Service was understandably, a little bit slow since there’s only two waiters on the floor and they were slammed with a full restaurant but they were friendly and did the best they could to get the orders out.