So for my birthday (which was about a month ago), tfung took me to the buzz of the town for quite some time, Colette Grand Café. He knew I’d love the décor, and that I was missing the french pizazz as I’d been away from Montreal for some time at this point.
Walking in, the visual impact was stunning of course. As we had an early dinner on a weekday (Tuesday), the place was quite empty. Personally, I prefer this, as it is much more romantic and intimate this way.
We were seated by the window by an excellent, and very patient waitress. After some time scanning through the menu, we finally came to a conclusion on what to order. At this point, there were several things that I’d already really loved about the restaurant. Aside from the decor, the menu was done in such a way where it covered everything one would expect from a french cafe-style restaurant, without being too overwhelming with choices. There was good explanations of the dishes, without being obnoxiously fancy, and the aesthetics obviously enhanced the visual aspects of the restaurant.
We decided on the mushroom soup, topped with truffle oil and raw enoki mushrooms. This was a thicker texture of soup, without tasting too fatty – something that is often exhibited in a mushroom-based soup. The portion size was great, although I think if it was meant for one person, reducing the portion size a tad would be beneficial to fit all the other food that was about to come into one’s stomach.
For our mains, tfung ordered the Shellfish Marinière, which comes in this cute pot with eiffel tower as the handle, as well as a small container of fries. This dish was absolutely delicious. The shellfish selection was ample, with clams, crab claws, mussels, and scallops in the mix, in a well-balanced marinière sauce. The fries were fresh, and done amazingly, which paired the marinière excellently. In accordance to parisian moules frites, of course the fries came with mayo, which was topped with a pinch of cayenne pepper and crushed chili flakes, that if I had to be honest added very little kick. However, I am a moderate spice-eater, so perhaps to me I could not taste much of the spiciness.
For my main, I of course went with my all-time favourite type of traditional french dish – canard magret (duck breast). This was served on top of a bed of barley and kale, with a black cherry sauce and some cooked black cherries. The flavour of the cherries with the duck breast was amazing. Bringing out the sweetness of the duck juice, but enhancing the flavour of the duck meat itself. But when paired with the barley and kale mix, the duck exemplified a much more earthy flavour, in which the flavour of the skin would pop out much more substantially. A fairly simple execution of the dish, with the slight twist of using more interesting and non-traditional ingredients in the mix, I thought it was definitely one to revisit in a future visit.
As it was my birthday, like he often does, tfung had requested a birthday dessert, which happened to be a profiterole tonight with a maple pecan ice cream. I had to tell him that I generally hate profiteroles, but this one changed my mind about it. Perhaps in the past I had had terribly done profiteroles but this one is exactly what I had initially imagined it to taste like. The puff being not too sweet, slightly crunchy on the outside, but has this airiness when you bite into it. The ice cream creating this fatty, cold texture and temperature juxtaposed to the warm pastry, with the hot chocolate sauce on top adding most of the sweetness.
Overall, in terms of our experience at Colette, it was well done in all aspects. This is exactly what one looks for in a nice evening out, to have great-tasting food, that isn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg, and to be greeted kindly and professionally by all the staff. The fact that it was more on the quiet side added that romantic element that one would want on a date. It was definitely an amazing birthday dinner on my end, and I’m so glad Colette Grand Cafe lived up to the hype! This rarely happens, and I’m relieved to have found a place where I can get into the mood of remembering Montreal. Moreover, thanks Colette for liking my picture and wishing me a happy birthday on instagram!
Atmosphere: parisian, cafe, chic, romantic, french
Price: $30-50 per person