Brit & Chips – Old Montreal

So tfung finally came to Montreal to visit and we decided to try Brit & Chips as I’ve heard so many good things about it. We sat outside on so we could enjoy the sunshine, while at the same time avoiding the chokingly greasy smell of the store.

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We decided to just order two fish with chips, no drinks or other appetizers as we weren’t too incredibly hungry. The first was Sole in sour cream and onion batter. This batter was quite greasy. There was a very subtle hint of sour cream and onion flavour but it was masked mostly by the taste of heavy oil. The fish itself was a bit on the bland side but it was cooked quite nicely. Their tartar sauce was quite delicious and the chips were excellent as well.

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The second was the Fish of the Month, which happened to be a Cod fried in tempura batter with a sweet ginger sauce.  The batter in this one was a “tempura” batter. It was certainly lighter and less heavy than the batter on the sole, however it was definitely not “tempura batter”. At least, not the light airy and crispy tempura batter that Japanese restaurants use.  The portions were slightly smaller on this one, but we enjoyed this one a bit more because it was less greasy and heavy as the first. The tangy and gingery sauce went well with this fish.

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Overall, the fish was done quite well, not overdone. But it was the batter that we were disappointed in. Based on the description of the items on the menu which boasts interestingly flavoured batters in various styles, we were a bit dissapointed, since the batter was tasteless and very greasy. This restaurant will definitely do the trick if you are craving some fish and chips, but don’t expect something extraordinary.

Service: 4/5
Food: 7.1/10
Atmosphere: Fast food, fish and chips
Price: $15-25

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KazaMaza – Plateau

I was set to get icecream with my friend at Kem Coba, but to lead up to that, he had suggested some Lebanese food. Many of his friends had recommended KazaMaza, and though I had never had lebanese food, my recent love for essiebuttonvlogs has peaked my interest in this cuisine.

DSC_0268 We arrived fairly early on Sunday evening and the restaurant was very quiet. Eventually more people filed in, all around 6:30, but was not too busy. It had a very relaxed vibe and our waitress was very friendly and genuine.DSC_0270I started off with the Fattoush, which we shared. It was composed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, pomegranate, fried pita, and was topped off with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious. It had the perfect balance of freshness with tartness of the dressing, but the pomegranate seeds sweetened the dish just enough. The fried pita added that earthiness to pull the freshness back down. I think I could eat this salad everyday.DSC_0271  My friend got a humus, and I had a small bite. It was the smoothes, purest humus I’ve had. No added flavouring or ingredient. Just pure humus garnished with some olive oil and chick peas. I would have liked the pita bread to either be warm or a little more fresh, but seeing as how it was complimentary, I couldn’t complain too much. Unfortunately, the pita bread just didn’t complement the humus well, and for that it didn’t reach its potential.DSC_0274My main was the grilled octopus “leg” on lentils and a sour salad with cilantro. The octopus was cooked very nicely, chewy enough but not tough at all. It was that perfect balance of tenderness and chewiness that I look for in octopus. The lentils and the salad was a good complement, but did not leave a large impression on me.

The service was on point, my glass was always filled and the waitress knew when we wanted her attention. She was the only waitress for the 4-5 tables that were present at the time, which was probably a good amount to handle. I didn’t feel like she treated any table differently, and was very pleasant to talk to. She was genuinely nice and made this foreign cuisine (to me) that much more comfortable.

I definitely recommend this restaurant if you haven’t had much Lebanese food, but as I’m no expert in this cuisine, I cannot comment on the authenticity of it. Though I can tell that everything was done in-house and done quite purely, without any extravagant commercial ingredients.

Kaza Maza on Urbanspoon

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 8.6/10
Atmosphere: middle-eastern, comfortable
Price: $30-40

Il Focolaio – Latin Quarter

 

My friend had suggested this restaurant to me several times and we finally decided to go. Located across from Square Phillips and across from The Bay, it was an extremely easy location to get to. I had never thought much about this busy restaurant even though I’d passed by it numerous times…DSC_0260The wood oven could be seen in the back with 3 chefs making the pizzas. Each pizza is done fresh within a very reasonable time (I’d guess around 10 minutes, our pizzas were served after we ordered).DSC_0261Their menu is quite extensive, with around 75 choices. As you can imagine, it was quite difficult to make a selection. Thus, you can ask for half a pizza. We didn’t realize this until after we’d ordered, but if you want to try several pizzas, I’d definitely get the half pizza option!DSC_0262For our first pizza, we ordered the Carré Phillips as our first pizza, packed with capicollo, pepperoni, hot italian sausage, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, and green peppers. This is essentially what one would taste when they think about pizzas. Lots of meat and sausage flavour with a dash of green pepper and mushroom. It’s an all-round pizza that I really enjoyed.

The crust was thin, slightly crispy but not tough. The middle of the pizza never got soggy or wet and the slight burnt taste makes each bite a little more interesting.DSC_0263For our next pizza, we had the Tarfuto. Mozzarella, goat cheese, black truffles and cherry tomatoes. The truffle was very fragrant and as soon as the pizza was nearing our table, we could smell the richness. Paired with the goat cheese and the tanginess and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the dish worked perfectly in harmony. The goat cheese and truffle boosted each other up in richness and fragrance, while the cherry tomatoes brought a tart kick to balance out the other two ingredients. A genius combination.

Overall, I thought the food was phenomenal, the price was very reasonable and the service was so-so. I can’t say the service was bad, but we did wait over 20 minutes to get the bill. It was a busy night as it was grand-prix weekend in Montreal, but I still feel that a little more attention could have been paid. Either way, I definitely do recommend this very successful pizza joint (having been opened for 25 years), and challenge you to try all their combinations!

Il Focolaio Pizza Resto on Urbanspoon

Service: 3.5/5
Food: 8.9/10
Atmosphere: bustling, low-key, neighbourhood joint
Price: $17-30