Le Baron Royal – Buckle your seat belts its gonna be a bumpy ride
Le Baron Royal has been a place that I have gone to a couple times for all-you-can-eat brunch and also for the special Mother’s Day brunches. It is one of a handful of all-you-can-eat brunch places in the East end and to that point, Montreal proper. I am always hesitant of all-you-can-eat places since I fear the quality always takes a back seat, but needless to say people are interested and hungry. Le Baron Royal is a reception hall in St. Leonard that does Sunday brunches for a fixed price of $37 a head. This gets you an all-you-can-eat buffet coffee, tea and soft drinks. You can also book a private room if you are a big enough group although reservations are strongly suggested since it can fill up quite easily and quickly. So, better book in advance for that group of 40, but if you are two you can likely walk up with no reservation and can get a seat with little or no wait. If you are a group of 10 you can pay an extra $3 a head and get a bottle of wine. I have come here for birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day, and the food options are always the same so reviewing this is rather easy. The last time I went and took pictures was for Mother’s Day and we were in the main dinning hall. Normally, Sundays would be in the main dinning room to the right which has a rather large capacity.
At 1st glance
You can find Le Baron Royal in the complex le Baron in St-Leonard out in the East end. The entrance can is often confused with that of an office building lobby. You need to take the stairs to go up one floor and get to the real lobby and once there, you will need to turn to your right and enter the dining area. You can also access this by the elevators which makes the place fully wheelchair accessible (washrooms as well). The dining area has a large capacity and can work nicely if you have a big event. As I mentioned before, reservations are key especially if you are a large group.
Now, in most cases with all the food available at the buffet you can put together a decent brunch. However, this is not the case at Le Baron Royal. Brunch is supposed to be a combination of breakfast and lunch and this was pretty much almost all lunch. There was a serious lack of quality breakfast items, that’s not to say there were none but they were lacking. There were some crepes, French toast, bacon, sausage, beans and scrambled eggs and that’s pretty much it. The rest was all lunch food, like meat fish, fruits, vegetables and cheeses.
To call this a brunch with such meager selection of choice is so wrong and to make things worse once I tasted it, I went from sad to disgusted and I have just started complaining. All the breakfast food was in chafing dishes and some were not really warm, did not look that fresh, or appetizing. They even put some fruit on ugly plastic trays and I saw someone refill the orange punch fountain with a big white bucket that although may have been clean on the inside, the outside did not inspire confidence (needless to say I skipped that station). I also saw patrons drop serving tongs on the floor and then pick them up and put them back in the food. I mean, come on, that touched the floor and you put it back in the food?? (I skipped that spot as well). I saw cut fruit dropped and put back with the rest of the fruit. I also saw cut fruit with grocery labels on them on more than one instance. I can understand this happening once since there is such as thing as human error, but making the same error multiple times on something that should come off once its washed does not instill confidence.
Ok, now that I have complained on presentation, let’s get to the food. This is the truly important part considering that the rather large paragraphs before this paints a grim picture already. I used my standard buffet approach with doing a breakfast food sweep followed by a meat and fish plate then topping it off at the end with a sweet plate. By doing this, I find it covers most of the options but also ensures a full stomach. One of my two plates had French toast, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, crepes, sausage, bacon and beans. The French toast was very disappointing; the taste was lacking, the slices were incredibly thin, cold, and it lacked the eggyness that I so often talk about in my other reviews. The bacon was mediocre, although the sausage was good, and the beans were good (but its hard to screw that up, so not impressed yet). The crepes were boring and tasteless, and the eggs Benedict were… Well here’s the thing, I really love Eggs Benedict, it’s my favourite dish and what they did to it is a crime and I am almost crying as I am writing this. They ruined the eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce so thick it was almost lumpy and the taste was disgusting, even the eggs weren’t properly done and it was on the cold end of room temperature.
Now, since it seems that they could not do the breakfast part of brunch I moved to the lunch part of it, which they seemed to understand better since it represented over 85% of the food selection. They had a large selection of pasta both stuffed and non-stuffed, as well as eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and various meat cuts, including osso buco. There was also the seafood section; they had squid rings, mussels, and tripe. The pasta was ok but I am extremely picky on my pasta so don’t take my judgment on this. Others at the table found it ok; the meat was varied and was tasty and filling. The mussels were mediocre, the squid rings were disappointing and I felt they were a little too room temperature for my taste. On the plus side, the tripe was good. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s basically intestines in a soup kind of broth/stew. I have a weakness for this and I cannot find any place in Montreal that makes this (It’s an old traditional Italian dish, that even most Italians don’t like)
Lastly was the fruit, cheese and croissant plate. My croissant was not warm or buttery; the cheese selection was varied and good; the fruit was bland and tasteless, I should note that I did not eat the fruit that had been dropped or had stickers on it. This plate was an uninspiring plate to finish up and an uninspiring meal overall. In fact, the only thing this meal did was make me swear to never go back here again. I have been punishing my body for years by eating in excess, drinking too much or running long distances on injured legs, but this made me realize that I can say no – kind of like a bad relationship.
Enough is enough! I will never go back to Baron Royal for brunch and put myself through that kind of abuse and punishment again.
I never had any problems with the service as it has always been good, although, since it is a buffet, the interaction is limited since I only get people who want to sell wine or the guys who take my plates. One year I had put some sea food on the same plate as my eggs and the person at the station mentioned how it was wrong to do that. I laughed and told him that it ended up in the same place. I did not like that but it was a couple years ago and the service was decent the other times I went.
You can make a meal here if you are vegetarian in that they have lots of fruits and vegetable dishes as well as non-meat items. Since the items are in a buffet style, you don’t get meat mixed in with a dish. In fact, there is a good enough amount of fruits and vegetables to make it work even for vegans.
If you missed the food section please go back and read it. If you did, then it will not come as a surprise why I would avoid this place. Never has brunch been so poorly treated and they pretty much missed out on the brunch aspect of it anyway – it was basically lunch. Even if it was free (which it isn’t), I would not go or want any friend, family or even enemy to go there. The lunch is decent but the breakfast component was horrible. This is the worse place I have ever been to for brunch. Now, if you excuse me I’m going to take a shower because after writing all this and reliving this painful memory, I feel dirty.
| 6020 Jean-Talon Est, Suite 200
Saint-Leonard Qc H1S 3B1
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|Bottomless Cup Of Coffee||YES|