Monday, March 23, 2015

Kinka Izakaya


1624 Saint Catherine St W Montreal, Q

Be prepared for a loud and boisterous experience from the second you walk into Kinka Izakaya. Each time someone enters, the entire staff yells Irrashaimase! (welcome! in Japanese).

Located in the Faubourg on St. Catherine street amongst many other Asian eateries, and not too far from Imadake (another Izakaya that has definitely made a name for itself in Montreal) it is hard for a newcomer to stand out. However, Kinka Izakaya has done a brilliant job of gaining momentum on the competitive Izakaya playing field. Thanks to the stylish design, warm staff, and incredible dishes, they have mastered the recipe for success. The people behind this Izakaya are not new to this, having opened Guu and multiple other restaurants in Toronto.

Torching master!

Plum Wine Mojito

Plum Wine
We sat at the bar and watched the chefs perfectly torch sushi and deep fry takoyaki. Definitely a fun part of the experience. I sipped on my favorite plum wine (one of the special drinks of the night) and a plum wine mojito- a unique take on the classic mojito.

When you visit this hotspot, these are some of the dishes that you must try (though there were another 20 items I wish I could have tried-  I'll have to return for more!):

Rapini and Mushroom Stir Fry

Tuna Tataki

Pressed and Torched Salmon

Miso Cod

Beef Udon Noodles

Green Tea Crème Brulée

This is also a fun place to go for a birthday. The team will sing their (loud) version of happy birthday and bring out crazy dessert and shot platters for the party (for a price of course)!

When you leave the restaurant, you will be sent-off with a cheer and the entire place waving goodbye to you.

You could now make reservations, and I highly recommend that you do, because it fills up quickly!
Mind, Taste, Love.

Kinka Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 16, 2015

Le Vin Papillon

Little Wine Bar in Little Burgundy

2519 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H3J 1N4

Joe Beef and Liverpool house need no introduction, so neither should the latest addition to the fam-  Le Vin Papillon.

I trust you don't need me to tell you that this little wine bar in Little Burgundy is worth a visit, but whatev, I will anyways.

No reservations, so go early if you are not ok with waiting. We got very lucky at around 9:30 on a Friday night and walked in right before the rush. We were sat down within minutes.

Narrow and dim, this tiny venue is the ultimate cozy spot for a glass of vino and some snacks to share. We went for a cheese plate and selected one hard, one medium, and one soft cheese served with nuts in their shell, and delicious and buttery brioche and some red wine (recommended by our server).

We then decided to go with their famous giant grilled cauliflower with lemon and capers- the perfect light snack for post-dinner drinks. There were so many other items that we wanted to order from the menu (which does change every so often), but unfortunately had already eaten dinner and had a bit of a sweet tooth. To fulfill our cravings, we ordered the homemade cheesecake topped with tangy berries. Overall, the wine, the cheese platter, and everything else that was ordered exceeded expectations. The service we experienced was not perfect and the space is definitely small, but it is more than compensated for by the food and wine selection, which did not disappoint.

Wine & Cheese

Grilled Cauliflower

Homemade Cheesecake
When I return, I will be sure to order their version of a 7-layer dip (each layer is made up of a different vegetable and it is served with homemade chips) as well as the chicken wings if they are still on the menu!

I love this little wine bar! Definitely worth a visit.

Mind, Taste, Love.

Le Vin Papillon on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Duc de Lorraine

Oui, Oui, Paris.

5002 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal, QC H3V 1G6 

If you have ever been to Paris, you know that you could walk into just about any bakery off the street to discover the sweet scent of homemade pastries, buttery croissants, and café au lait. There is nothing better than sipping a coffee, and biting into flaky pastry, while sitting at a tiny round table in a quaint café. Don't book that flight to Paris just yet! We have a delicious, charming, and warm spot just as I described right here in Montreal-  Duc de Lorraine.

This is by no means a new spot. In fact, Duc's doors opened in 1952. Set on Cote-des-Neiges adjacent to Mont-Royal with the picturesque St-Joseph's Oratory in the background, this place has remained a classic for good reason. Walk in to smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked goods and either grab some to go, or take a seat in the naturally-lit dining area. Both the atmosphere and staff are warm and welcoming and you will immediately feel transported to a café in Paris.

We ordered café au laits, some mimosas, and a basket of viennoiseries to start. The pastries were buttery, flaky, and sweet, as they should be. The mimosas were refreshing and they definitely did not skimp on the champagne, and the café au laits were creamy, strong, and just what we needed to start our day.

The sweet start was followed by a savoury onion soup (au gratin) served piping hot and by a (generous) slice of leek quiche. Both were impressive and could have been flown-in directly from France! 

On our way out, we couldn't help but pick out some croissants and fine pastries to take home! There are also an array of beautiful cakes for any occasion. Duc de Lorraine has been around for a long time, and it is time for a new generation to experience its lovely atmosphere, service, and food. To those who have not yet been, it is definitely an experience that needs to be had in our city and I HIGHLY recommend a trip for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or simply to pick up some pastries and desserts to go!

Mind, Taste, Love.

Duc de Lorraine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Sweet & Savoury

275 Fairmount, Ouest, Montréal, Quebec, H2A 0A1

VORO has been at the top of my list for a while now, so I decided to stop by for brunch on a Sunday. 

Tons of sunlight enters through the floor-to-ceiling windows and makes dining here in the daytime ever so pleasant and cheerful. The ceilings are high and the space is large and industrial feeling. 

The menu is not too large (and differs slightly from what is shown on their website), but has plenty of sweet, savoury, and sweet AND savoury options to choose from. We went with a simple poached egg on focaccia with portobello mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, goat's cheese and arugula as well as a more eccentric panko-crusted french toast with porchetta, poached eggs, and a MAPLE béchamel. Both dishes were exquisitely presented and tasted incredible. The star was the sweet and savoury french toast, which was unlike anything I have ever had before.

Portobello mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, goat's cheese, arugula, and a poached egg on focaccia
Panko-crusted french toast with porchetta, poached eggs, and a maple béchamel
Sit by the window and order a latté. It's easy to spend an entire Sunday afternoon at this spacious and inviting location. Highly recommended for brunch (their lunch dishes sounded great too!) I will definitely be back to try their biscuits and homemade blueberry jam with truffle honey butter! Yum!

Mind, Taste, Love.

Voro on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 23, 2015


A Taste of Summer

374 Victoria, Westmount, Quebec, H3Z 2N4


Lavanderia was opened by THE chef Antonio Park just a few months ago-  a chef who has managed to create a name for himself in a city saturated with restaurants. Why all the hype? Because he knows how to bring a unique flare and story to the food served at his restaurants and you could literally taste his passion for what he does. Park, which has been visited by the likes of Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris, and where you could find P.K. Subban on just about any given day is located right next door- close enough so that Antonio Park could make his way between the restaurants within seconds!

The restaurant took a different route than most in terms of décor-  brightly lit and almost tropical feeling, rather than the usual dim and romantic. I loved it. The bar (where we sat) was set under a large tree, and menu items and art were hanging on the walls by clothes pins- a nice touch going along with the theme of the restaurant (Lavanderia translates to Laundromat from Spanish- Park grew up living in his family's Lavanderia in Argentina where they would prepare Argentinian specialties with ingredients from their yard). The walls are white, but the space still manages to feel warm. We ordered a Pineapple cocktail and a grapefruit and chili this point I was convinced it was summer in Montreal. Our seats at the bar gave us a direct view into the kitchen where we watched chefs grilling seafood and meat. A sweet escape from winter.

What We Ordered

A delicious and comforting muscle soup in a coconut broth with carrots, corn, and other vegetables. A great start to the meal!

The soup was followed by a tasty appetizer of Queso Fundido Chorizo- melted cheeses and chorizo served with flat corn bread.

Next up- a grilled calamari with capers, tangy peppers (I don't remember what they were called, but they were absolutely delicious), and sun dried tomatoes.

Finally, the fish of the day- a long and thin sardine-like fish, grilled whole and served with lemon. The fish was grilled to perfection. (Other options for the grill included lamb, chorizo, and several cuts of steak)

For dessert, a lemon curd cheesecake served with passion fruit sorbet and a chocolate coulis. Not too sweet, and a refreshing end to the gorgeous meal.

If you're looking for an escape from winter, or just for some damn good food- I highly recommend Lavanderia. Reserve, reserve, reserve!

Mind, Taste, Love.

Lavanderia on Urbanspoon