An Adult Contemporary Brunch
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, especially during the weekend when I like to drive downtown and find something new. I especially look for the restaurant that offers something other than the traditional bacon & eggs combo. Don’t get me wrong; I like tradition, but not today.
My favourite place for breakfast is Le Hobbit on St-Jean Street on the corner of Ste-Geneviève, but the place is closed in January; vacation time for the owners/employees and it’s been like that for years. Bummer. The soundtrack usually includes Cohen, Brel or Old Crow Medicine Show and the walls are covered with Dumontier clichés, a local photographer showing off typical scene of the Saint-Jean Baptiste neighbourhood. But it’s closed, so I’ll have to think of something new.
Chez Boulay is the first place that came to mind. I looked at their website and nothing mentioned breakfast nor brunch. But, if the place opens up at 10am on Sunday, I bet brunch is on the menu. And so it was…
We were about 10 people in the restaurant at 10:30. My friend Marie-Eve and I were sat on the banquet facing the bar. A beautiful aurora borealis picture graces the entrance wall; no credits given to a photographer; an image bought on the web. As a photographer, I always feel uneasy about using pictures like these. Oh it’s beautiful allright, but if you’re going to encourage local talent in your kitchen, why not here too?
Then I noticed the brick walls, the ceiling decors, the tissue and the texture of the seats. I never notice details like this. Everything is…black and white. An overall sleek, contemporary and chique looking place. From the dark, classy seats to
the discreetly textured accessories, everything looked almost too carefully selected. Even the “adult contemporary” playlist felt awkward: Latino to Simone and then Paul McCartney to a jazz cover of Black Hole Sun. Ouch.
But we were here for the food, and how marvelous were our dishes. The food definitely made me forget about the uneasy attention given to the mood of what Chez Boulay claims to be of a bistro feel.
We were both greeted with a mise en bouche of French toast, crusted with a delicate cinnamon chew and topped with huckleberries; a deliciously moist interior with a subtle sweetness that inspired my taste buds and opened up my appetite.
I ordered La Venaison, an omelette filled with boar bacon bits and fresh herbs. Marie-Eve had the Boreal, an overwhelmingly salted smoked salmon meeting two poached eggs covered in a beautiful and smooth Bearnaise sauce all while sitting on a bed of kohlrabi juliennes and spinach. Both dishes were served with a salad mix, a selection of non-buttered breads, including a traditional First Nation’s bannock, and potatoes roasted in duck fat and onions.
The food we tasted was excellent, but unfortunately the salmon was so salty, that we spent the afternoon looking for water. The bacon bits wer smoked and it felt somewhat overwhelming for the first meal of the day, but so tasty. I don’t think I had ever eaten boar for breakfast before. I’ll gladly do it again.
I definitely recommend Chez Boulay to anyone looking for a different kind of brunch, inspired by Northern traditions and wildlife, set in an adult contemporary looking restaurant.