Bouillon Bilk (Newly renovated) – Latin Quarter

Since tfung’s parents came into town, we decided to bring them to some of our favourite spots. On the second night, we brought them to the newly renovated Bouillon Bilk. I was quite excited to see their new decor, since I had caught a glimpse of it whilst walking back to the Grand Prix on Saint Laurent, and it had looked incredibly sleek and modern.

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The menu had changed quite a bit since I was last here, but definitely still had  the flair of the old Bouillon Bilk. They had refreshed the menu for the summer, which was great to see, and the desserts were completely new.

I started off with the linguine which was one of the specials. The pasta was done a little over al dente, a consistency I like, and was mixed in a buttery sauce that had hints of seafood flavours. Along with the linguine were chanterelle mushrooms, and garnish. Definitely a great dish on its own, I thought they were able to bring out the flavour of the chanterelle mushrooms well, without overpowering the sauce and the linguine. The slight crunch in the mushroom and its lighter consistency was a good contrast to the firmer, denser texture of the linguine.2014-06-21 19.43.39

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Lobster Soup
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Foie Gras served with Polenta

As for tfung, he started off with the asparagus appetizer, which came with asparagus purée. It was also served with veal tongue and a sunny-side up egg on top. To start, the presentation of this dish was fantastic. The purées were arranged nicely and was sprinkled with micro greens. The veal tongue was cooked very nicely. It was soft, but still had firmness in its texture. It was not overseasoned, but rather seasoned conservatively with salt just to bring out the natural flavours of the meat. Pairing it with the asparagus puree gave it that summer freshness that it needed. The egg on top was a nice addition to the dish, providing a bit more sustenance and flavour to the veal tongue. Adding the rich and earthy morel mushrooms was also a nice touch. Overall a very good dish in terms of presentation, creativity and combinations of flavours.

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Asparagus and Veal Tongue

I was able to taste a bit of the carrot risotto, and let me say this: definition of summer. I love how they’ve (in my opinion) a seemingly boring and over-done dish and freshened its colour and its flavour to fit the heat. The carrot base in the sauce of the risotto was light and slightly sweet. It was definitely a good start to the meal.

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Carrot Risotto

For me, I ordered the octopus with sweetbread. This was definitely the priciest of the dishes, but well worth it. The octopus was done to perfection: enough texture and chewiness on the inside without being difficult to chew, while retaining its true octopus taste; crispy on the outside, with an ever so slight smokey taste. The contrast in the texture and the flavour was great. The sweetbread was fried on the outside with a light batter, and retained a soft texture on the inside without overcooking it to a mushy consistency. To go with the fried sweetbread was a sour and slightly spicy, sriracha-based sauce. Finally, fiddleheads, mushroom and sliced pear as sides along with some greens for garnish.

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Octopus and Sweetbread

The rabbit was roasted perfectly. It was soft, tender and juicy. Wrapping the rabbit with bacon wasn’t really necessary as the rabbit was tasty enough, but the bacon certainly enhanced the flavour. It was served with a rabbit au jus that was sweet and savory, which complimented the rabbit well.

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Rabbit wrapped in bacon
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Scallops and Chanterelle mushrooms
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Side: Fiddle Heads with almonds
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Halibut
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Baba with strawberries, rhubarb and mascarpone

Overall, Bouillon Bilk had given me a refresh in terms of modern dining. I thought they did an excellent job in balancing delicacy with creativity and thinking outside the box. They were innovative, yet still incorporated elements according to the season, which I believe is crucial for a more modern dining experience. As delicious as a heavy truffle cream gnocchi is, it just isn’t as enjoyable in the heat of the summer. The service was quite good, not outstanding for the calibre of restaurant it is.

The decor was absolutely stunning. I love the bar in the middle, creating a more relaxed feel, especially for the younger clientele. There were three longer tables that were of higher elevation (a very popular setting now), which I personally love, but is not for everyone. Their washroom is extremely modern, with the style of communal hand washing station in front of 3-4 individual rooms solely for the toilet. This may not sit well with more traditional folks, but for me, I absolutely love it.

I highly recommend you to come try their summer menu. Make sure to make a reservation, and let them know of any delay or cancellations!

Service: 4/5
Food: 9.3/10
Atmosphere: modern, fresh, clean, white-table cloth meets industrial
Price: $40-60

~ kehwon and tfung

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Bouillon Bilk – Latin Quartier

I had met a really good friend in Montreal standing at the bus stop. It was a little weird and random, but if I hadn’t said anything, we wouldn’t have met each other. It would have been such a shame because we’ve been to so many places to eat, and we are still finding new places. She actually recommended me to try Bouillon Bilk as she had a great time with her parents when they came to visit. I had gone with tfung once and with said friend another time. This restaurant is quite expensive, so it is definitely not a frequent visit. However they definitely take care in presentation (which is a huge plus for me), and delicacy. Their service is also excellent (as it should be for the price!). On the first visit, we had ordered an appetizer and entrée each. We had skipped on the dessert because we wanted to eat elsewhere after.

For me, I had the Beet Salad to start

beet salad
Beet Salad

I thought the presentation was absolutely amazing. The fact that they took care to use a cutter to make all the beets circular, but different sizes added a lot of visual stimulation. The beets were also different colour, making it so much more interesting, as well as adding different flavours for the same type of vegetable. I’m actually a huge fan of this because it really allows you to taste how different each specific type tastes from another. This can help you when you create your own dishes. Moreover, I had been very interested in quinoa at this time (about a year ago), and had a taste in this dish. They actually fried it a little and gave it a brown colour and an awesome crunch that was just enough for this salad. The salad was accompanied with Halloumi Cheese which I had never had. It was slightly fried to give a brown complexion, and was very mild-flavoured. It also had a spongey consistency, similar to cheese curds. Finally the salad was topped off with fresh raspberries (one of my favourite fruits) and a balsamic vinaigrette. I thought that the presentation made this dish so much better than it would have been if it had just been thrown together. The ingredients are sparse, but all the different colours and placement made eating it so much more enjoyable. In terms of taste, it tasted as you would think, no surprises there. tfung ordered a bone marrow for his appetizer.

Bone Marrow
Bone Marrow

It was fittingly presented in a bone, likely to be a femur. The bone marrow was mixed in with escargot and celery pieces to give it some crunch. tfung wasn’t too impressed with it, even though it was quite tasty. He said it wasn’t as rich as he would have imagined, which was actually good because his main dish was incredibly rich and flavourful. To add flavour, they included garlic in the dish, but wasn’t too overpowering. For our mains, tfung had Guinea Fowl with Polenta and I had Scallops with Mushrooms.

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Guinea Fowl with Polenta
guinea fowl
Guinea Fowl with Polenta

The guinea fowl was incredibly tender yet still had a good chewy texture. The skin was also still intact, which added a more bold flavour as it was roasted. Topped off with foie gras and a rich reduction, this made for a hearty dish. IT was jam-packed with flavour, but in a good way. They added walnuts and figs to balance this, which was an excellent touch. Personally I love fruits in main courses as it adds sweetness and a different texture than vegetables can. Especially with fruits like figs or plums. The polenta was done to a smooth texture, and of course was what toned down the flavour in this dish, as it doesn’t carry much taste.

scallops
Scallops with Oyster Mushrooms

Although I usually am not impressed with scallops and think that they’re not worth the price at a restaurant, I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by this dish. The sauce definitely made this dish. The waiter had hinted that a lot of butter was put into it, so it made sense it was so fragrant and rich. It was a butter-mushroom infusion, I believe and was absolutely amazing with every bite. Definitely if you don’t like mushroom, you shouldn’t get this dish. Again the presentation is incredible, and I did get quite a few pieces of scallops. With the scallops, there were grilled zucchinis and oyster mushrooms which were obvious additions due to the mushroom sauce. The scallops were cooked to the point where the inside was almost raw. Only one side of the scallop was seared which I found interesting and unique. I wouldn’t say that the textures or colours in this dish were particularly enticing, but I really enjoyed it. As a tradition to this restaurant, the servers will personally explain every and each dish on the menu as well as any additional specials they had that night. They also never forget to tell you the prices of the specials, which with all the information they have to know, I found to be quite a feat to achieve. On my second visit with my good friend C., we went with a few more friends, and was a bigger party. We were basically seated at the same place I was on my visit with tfung, so I felt a sense of familiarity.

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Tomato Salad

To start, I shared a tomato salad with my friend. Again, they had different coloured and types of tomato (romano, cherry) which I love. There was also a small sprinkling of arugula accompanied with small spheres of canteloupe. Visually, it wasn’t as good as I thought they could have made it. Tomatoes are fruits/vegetables (depending on which side you’re arguing from) that can be extremely vibrant. Yet they chose to use some bland colours and it just didn’t do it for me. Taste-wise, it was also bland. They didn’t pick the tomatoes that encompassed different and distinct flavours. Especially the yellow larger tomatoes, they had almost no taste. Maybe it was my obsession with tomatoes, or maybe I had too high expectations. Either way, I was definitely disappointed by this.

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For my main, I went for the good old ricotta cheese ravioli on top of some pieces of lamb, served with tomatoes and pine nuts. Ravioli can be tricky to get just right and for some reason, I’ve had some really bad ravioli before. These ones were definitely what I would consider to be up to par and as they should be. The pasta was soft enough to not be difficult to chew through but definitely had texture. The cheese wasn’t too overpowering which was wonderful for me since I’m not a cheese lover. *insert boos and tomato throwing here*. The lamb was tender, not too gamey but wasn’t too overly infused with flavours to completely overthrow and off-balance the whole dish. I actually really liked that there wasn’t any one main player in this, and that they all worked together. When I ate it, I made sure I had a piece of everything (except maybe the tomato since that was a little sparse), and it was quite good.

I feel that although I was disappointed with the tomato salad, the restaurant’s expertise with food overall is definitely to be trusted. There is no doubt that the dishes they produce are of high quality, and they change the menu often enough to keep things interesting. At least for the frequency that I come, it wasn’t that I was met with the exact same menu. I’d say about half the menu had changed, and the ones that remained had been tweaked.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 9.3/10
Atmosphere: Expensive, simple
Price: $40-60 per person

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