Jolifou – Brunch comfort food that doesn’t end
As part of Festival en Lumiere, I decided that it would fun to see what some of the brunch options are for the festival.. Festival en Lumieres offers us a rare chance to have brunch at places that rarely do brunch and Jolifou is one of them. I had never had the chance to go for their dinner service although, I have only heard good things. Keep in mind that they only do Brunch once a year and that is during Festival en Lumiere so this is a limited opportunity to check it out. So, a group of 4 of us decided to go try it and see if it would be worth waiting another 365 for the next time they offer brunch; what we found surprised us.
At 1st glance
When you walk in you are greeted by a bar and 2 dining rooms; one on the left with ample space and another on the right with a kind of counter to eat at and a semi closed room on the right. I like the room on the right as it has a nice vibe to it. We saw kids drawings on the walls and there is a bunch of toys in the plastic display at the front. They also had face painters that day so it was definitely a kid friendly environment. Since were all adults we didn’t need any of the kids stuff, but we did get our faces painted at the end.
For this day they offer a fixed menu with multiple courses. The price is $40 and although a little on the pricey side for brunch as you read on I think you will understand why and maybe consider it next time they offer brunch. We started off with coffee and mimosas, all of which were included. They then rolled out the food and our stomachs were treated to something really special.
We started with thickly sliced fruit: oranges, pineapple, cantaloupe, and even blood oranges. The plate was full of fruit and more than enough for four people, Also, for the vegetarians in the house, it’s a nice way to start off since not every dish was vegetarian. The blood oranges were much appreciated since no one really serves them up for brunch in all the places that I have been to.
Next came the eggs Benedict dish. This eggs Benedict was slightly deconstructed as it came with 4 poached eggs topped with a green salsa, on top of pita bread accompanied by a hot pepper, large chunks of ham and 2 very large pieces of cooked salmon. They also put 5 sauces on the table; 3 spicy and 2 mild. The hot sauces had some kick; not as spicy as some crazy hot Indian spice I have tried but my mouth was tingling nonetheless. The poached eggs were nicely done; not too runny nor too firm and the green salsa was a nice touch. Even though I am a holondaise fan, I really liked this as the salsa worked well with the dish and did not take anything away from it. The ham was amazing and the pieces were thick and the quantity was generous. In fact, we still had some left halfway through the meal and we were 4 hungry people. The Salmon was a nice touch for those who don’t like ham. Sadly, I never got to try the pita so I can’t chime in on that one.
Next came the cheese omelettes. They brought two of them for us and each was in 4 parts. The omelettes were vegetarian and had tomatoes, cheese and parsley and there may have been something else in there that I could not pin down. The omelette was filing and had nice crispened edges. They even came and brought another one free of charge when they saw how quickly it was. The omelette was a low round omelette so not a giant fluffy folded over one but the cheese and vegetables were generous.
Immediately after that dish touched the table they brought out a kind of cod casserole. There were two of these on our table and although not everyone was crazy about this dish, I was . I loved this dish and cod is not even my favourite fish. What makes this dish so good is that the fish is not overpowering but more of a warm filler that works so well with it. I liked it so much I asked them to bring another one which they did free of charge.
There was also two plates of breakfast nachos with beef brisket in it. The nacho has a healthy amount of cheese and beef chunks throughout it as well as tomatoes, and large chips; not those flimsy chips but thicker chips more resistant to breaking. They also brought out at this time a large plate of potatoes cubed and thick cut sweet potato fries. I preferred the sweet potatoe fries to the normal ones, although Batata , our potato expert, was not overly impressed.
Here is the part when I hand over the potato section to him: As much as I loved the ensemble of the parts of this brunch, there was a definite lack in one aspect – the potato department. The cube french fries were cooked from frozen and hardly spiced. The sweet potato fries were too thin and flat resulting in them becoming over-saturated with oil and hence soggy and moist instead of long and crispy. Furthermore, the two set of fries arrived to us cold. Although, it was probably due to the fact that we were the last one’s to be served breakfast that afternoon, it is the attention to details like the fries that will allow for a perfect score in the future.
They also rolled out a Caesar salad in 2 plates for sharing. While I do not associate Caesar salad with brunch normally, I did eat it and enjoy it. There was a good amount of cheese, which by now I noticed is an integral ingredient in lots of the more lunch-like items. It was a nice way to get some roughage into our diet and the taste of the Caesar was quite good. The portion was not an enormous bowl which I like since we only needed a little sample of it.
Now just when you think you cannot have anymore they bring out the dessert. We were pretty much all done since we had loads of food before. The dessert was ice cream topped with a caramel like sauce on a spongy kind of bread. I’m not exactly sure which kind of bread it is since it had some give but also some resistance at the same time which did a good job not to get all mushy with the ice cream. It was very tasty and a much appreciated way to end off a great meal.
Our waitress was really fun; she checked up on us often, gave frequent refills on coffee and they even brought extra food plates free of charge. At the end, she convinced us to get our faces painted. The face painting was fun and the extra food plates was not expected and much appreciated
The menu is done in such a way that most people are pleased there are some vegetarian options and others where you can choose fish on the poached eggs if you are a pesco-vegetarian, as well as meat for those who aren’t. That being said, the nachos have meat in them, the salad does not, the fruit dish is nice and varied so you get some choice unless you are vegan.
I hope one day Jolifou decides to add brunch to it lineup; this experience was amazing, I haven’t had a brunch like this in a while. It was varied, tasty, the portions were very generous and you got full on tasty, novel dishes. The price is a bit much at $40 although this was for Festival en lumiere, so if they ever add it to their menu as a regularly featured option they will likely scale back the price and the amount of food. I will definitely be coming back next year and if you like what you saw then do consider it.
| 1840, rue Beaubien E,
Special Occasion Only
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