Often we get asked for suggestions in certain areas; Where is the best French toast in Montreal? What’s the best spot in the plateau? Sometimes, the answers are easy, other times they are trickier, like when people ask where should they go in little Italy? Now, lets be clear, little Italy is a very small area, In fact, it’s not even a real borough so it floats between Villeray, and Rosemont/Petite Patrie. So, we use the metric of: can I make it to the Jean Talon marker in under 10 minutes? Sadly, with that metric it’s only a handful. But, when Salmigondis opened up in walking distance, we were curious to see what kind of addition this brunch place would make to the Little Italy area.
Salmigondis is new, really new like opened in July new. The décor inside is light and full of whimsy. With a large counter next to the bar when you walk, some tables on the streetside terrace and a hidden little courtyard to escape the street, you feel like you step into another world.
Food The menu is short, with 5 items ranging from $10-$18. The drink menu has more items that the food menu and coffee is extra at $2.17 and has refills. A short menu has its pros and cons. The benefit is a targeted plate choice based on what the chef feels will be the best – that whole “less is more approach.” If you put 5 items on the menu, I expect all 5 to be great and if you put 40 I have my reservations that they will be able to pull off all 40 with each dish being at its best. The only downside is that is you have a short menu and you have dietary restrictions or are a picky eater, then, you have few options. This trip I was lucky; I had an old friend who I had not seen since CEGEP who was adventurous for a new place and has a love for food (as well as, apparently, a more refined set of taste buds than me). The menu will likely change as time goes on and ingredients and inspiration change, although, at the time we went this is the breakdown:
All dishes came with two eggs and had an option to be served as a Benedict or as a sandwich.
The drink menu had 7 items and was longer than the food menu, but we didn’t mind.
Besides having a love for brunch, I actually enjoy cocktails and have made it a point to travel to various famous cocktail bars and try out their famous cocktails. So, when a restaurant seems to have a legitimate bar option I like to size it up since we rarely get a decent bar service at a place that serves brunch. Right off the bat, the construction is interesting and the use of the michelada is welcome as more places should try it. They should also try a bloody mary instead of a Caesar but that’s another issue. I have a soft spot for champagne cocktails and they had two. The use of cava is always a smart move sine even champagne purists and many bars will say using real French champagne in a cocktail is a waste, so smart move with the cava. We started off with a Mimosa at $8 and the abbey at $10. The mimosa used cava and at $8, it’s a fair price since others charge more for the same. The cocktail abbey had gin white lillet, orange juice and bitters. I liked the fact I got a cherry and the ever-loving champagne glass (aka the Marie Antoinette glass) I wasn’t won over by it, possibly because something seemed off with it. It could have been the lillet but I am particular with my gin based drinks so maybe you will enjoy it more than me.
For food, the smoked mackerel ($14) lured us to it. With black eyed peas, marinated cucumber and creamy polenta this dish had 2 eggs with a generous piece of tender delicious smoked mackerel. With a burger-bun-meets-corn-bread base this was a brilliant way to keep the base from getting soggy. The fish was a joy to eat and the black eyed peas and polenta were creative and filling.
The lobster Benedict ($18) came with caramelized onions, yuzu and salad served on top of a house croissant. The price on lobster dishes always scares me but this dish had lots of it and the fact that they even had a house croissant added extra value to this meal. The lobster portion was very generous, the taste delivered in every bite and by the end I was actually full. I should note that I ran 14km before brunch and ate nothing since the night before so I was famished. For a dish to fill me up after all that is quite impressive.
AND, even after all of this they gave us a special treat for no reason. We got the doughnut and ice cream with crumbled granola. We were the last people there so I think they were feeling kind and although we were stuffed to the gills we made an honest attempt to finish it. The ice cream was strawberry, litchi and rose water from Kem Coba. This dish was fun to have and make me feel like a kid again with ice cream and doughnuts.
Service Our waitress was incredible – she loves what she is doing and you can tell. She was telling us about the menu, the team there, the wine list and how they feel bad when people don’t take them up on the offer of doggy bags. She was attentive, helped in explaining the dishes and did not rush us at all.
VegetarianThe menu is short and may change. There is fish on the menu so if you are ok with fish you have choice.
Wrap up I am in love with Salmigondis’ brunch and want to go back again and again. I think everyone should check it out and see. If you like dishes that are not your usual pancake and scrambled eggs then this is for you. They make their brunch creative and tasty with no frankenbrunch creations here – just legitimately good food and a great vibe to go along with it.
| 6896 Rue Saint Dominique
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