Caviste – Festival en Lumiere treat
During Festival Montréal en Lumiere we get a chance to get a rare glimpe at some of Montreals restaurants make a brunch menu. Places like Caviste are more of a dinner restaurant and do not have brunch on their menu except for really rare occasions. With this narrow window to try out brunch at Caviste we booked a table and made sure to see how Caviste would handle brunch.
At 1st glance
When you walk into Caviste, you notice bottles on the right of the entrance. Considering that the word caviste is closely related to wine, it makes sense! Once you enter, you see a large bar on the right hand side and many tables on the left. Near the end of the bar there is a section that best resembles a short order counter but it’s more of a long thin table where people can sit and eat side by side since it is much smaller than a regular table. The place itself is rather well lit and can seat somewhere near 50 people; although, we felt squeezed in at some point since the tables are close to each other.
We were a good sized group so we were able to get a good sampling of the menu and what it offered. For $35 you get coffee, an amuse-bouche, appetizer, and main course. The menu offered 5 main plates and 4 entrees. The meal opened up with some scones served for everyone after we ordered our coffee. There were no refills nor was there regular drip coffee. The scones seemed to be a hit with the table although, I felt they were dry. I recently had an eye opening with scones and can no longer handle dry ones, so these were not scoring points with me, but if you like your scones more dry then this may please you.
For the entrée some of us got the hot spiced hot chocolate which came in a small espresso cup with cardamom in it as well as a pound cake on the side. This was a nice touch especially on a cold day. However, I felt that is lacked some substance since taste was good but not out of this world and it wasn’t very plentyfull. The presentation was simple and to the point.
Next came the Gravlax with smoked char on top of a waffle topped with fish roe and sour cream on the side. The sour cream was pinkish and different but quite tasty. The smoked arctic char is interesting. It is considered a low risk fish as per conservation charts so that’s nice to see. It tasted like a normal smoked salmon and is a similar fish. The waffle was small but not too soft and not to crispy and the fish roe was a nice touch and made for an impressive dish.
I ordered the quiche which although looked rather small, it was large in taste. I was shocked, on how well the flavour stood out, it was delicious and I savoured every single bite. This, in my mind, was my favourite entrée. The best way to describe its flavour was rich yet simple. I still think about this dish even after the fact; that’s how good it was.
Next came our main courses. My friend had the duck breast dish which came with buttered cabbage and carrots. I like duck and the fact that it is an option on a fixed price menu adds value to the menu. The duck pieces were nice and generous and the meat was tasty, juicy and was devoured quickly. The vegetable pairing worked well, and although this is clearly a more lunch focused dish, it was very tasty nonetheless.
My friend had the breakfast polenta which came with fruit, honey and muesli. This dish made me very curious since I would not associate polenta as a breakfast dish. For those not familiar with Polenta, it’s a cornmeal dish associated with and old Italian peasant diet. My ancestors used to eat this stuff so seeing it a fancy restaurant was kind of fun. The dish had some pieces of grapefruit and cranberry which I was please to see and the consistency was soft. This dish was a stroke of genius and surprisingly works as breakfast dish. I mean people have oatmeal so you can have polenta and to be honest, this tasted better than any oatmeal I ever had before.
I ended up ordering the eggs Benedict which came as 2 poached eggs on a type of corn bread, Hercule cheese and topped with cress. For those curious as to what cress is, all I can say is that it’s a green related to the watercress and has a bitter kind of taste similar to spinach. I actually liked this dish even though there wasn’t any sauce on top of it. But, since it was ham and cheese it didn’t really need it. The dish was a touch salty but the bread was nice since it was different from what I was used to. I did feel that although it was a good dish, some of the other ones were better.
Lastly we had the stuffed crepe with mushroom and Fleurmier with an egg sunny-side up. I assume the Fleurmier is the cheese and if it was, I want some. This dish was the clear winner. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the polenta a lot but this dish was out of this world. The cheese and mushrooms worked so well and all wrapped into a crepe with an egg on top made for a nice salty dish. We passed this dish around and everyone who had it said the same thing: we were floored by the great taste. The taste was pronounced and all the flavours worked perfectly together and should it be on next years menu I will definitely order it again.
The service was good. They did a good job explaining the various options and we were a curious bunch so that was much appreciated. Our waitress even took our photo at the end so that was a nice little extra.
With a fixed menu of a few options, you don’t have much wiggle room although there were some tasty dishes that were vegetarian friendly. In fact, three of my favourite dishes were vegetarian.
Although the price was $35, you did get some really tasty food and some items that you would not find elsewhere. The presentation was excellent and there were some truly memorable dishes. The menu is a salty one and some items may be more lunch than a classic brunch but some of those dishes were homeruns. The taste was clearly impressive and ingredients were novel; not your run of the mill. I enjoyed it! And if you want to try a really good salty kind of brunch (that simply means not sweet) then do consider it although you will have to wait until next year or some special occasion (maybe mothers day or Valentines Day…)
| 4115 Saint-Denis
Special Occasion Only
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|Bottomless Cup Of Coffee||NO|
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