La Cantine – Not your ordinary brunch spot
Once an a while I will do a brunch double header which is an early morning breakfast/brunch and a later brunch that same day. This is usually on account of my schedule being out of hand and a deep love for all forms of breakfast and brunch related foods. So this Saturday was one of those days where I went early in the morning with a group of friends then later on went to catch up with a friend of mine over brunch. So, we were in the mood for something not too traditional, maybe a little light or even out of the ordinary, so a heaping plates of eggs and bacon was not on my mind since I already had some in my stomach. Now after going through a couple options, Cantine seemed interesting – it’s menu looked non traditional, the décor was nice and it was close by. Oh yeah, also, I found parking in walking distance so that made the decision that much easier.
At 1st glance
If you have ever walked down Mount Royal and passed by some place with Astroturf on the side then you have seen Cantine. Originally I asked myself “what is wrong with people putting Astroturf on the outside wall”, but sadly I could not find a good reason so like many of life’s mysteries I gave up and accepted it.Thanks to that I’m much happier now, but if you know the answer of why they did that then please let me know. Ok back to the real world – once you spot the very noticeable outside, you can’t help but peak your head in and notice two sides; one is a small café on the west side with and a more classic restaurant on the east side both with their own entrances but connected together on the inside. Once you walk in you notice a very interesting interior with dark wood-style funky lights, a large bar in the back and a table with a Slinky on it. The café side has a more relaxed look but still in the same theme. Its not an enormous place but it is very nice and quaint and draws you in.
The menu is a one-page list that covers some basic morning dishes although don’t expect your classic eggs and bacon place. The gastronomic vision is a touch more refined and emphasis is placed on originality and presentation. So all this to say your plate may not weigh a metric ton (except for “La totale”) but it will be tasty and unique (which is what we needed since we already ate before). The price range is between $11.95 to $13.95 which can be a touch pricey considering the plates are not enormous but the dish I had was tasty and they did an excellent job on quality of ingredients and preparation. They do this thing where they combine yogourt and crème brûlée.(yummy)
Some of the menu items take an interesting take on brunch, like: Ultra chocolate ($12.95) which is a chocolate bread sandwich with bananas, whipped cream and fruit; Croissant de Soleil ($12.95) comes as a croissant sandwich with scrambled eggs, ham, aged cheddar, spinach sauce, potatoes, beans and fruit; and La Champignonne ($12.95) is served with two poached eggs, creamy mushroom sauce, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, homemade jam, pancakes, grilled tomato and grilled baguette. These are but a few of the menu items which best describe the style of cuisine you will get. So no waffles or pancake stacks but definitely a fusion creation with strong breakfast influence but a refined taste and aesthetically pleasing plating. I was in odd food moods (the rhyming was not intentional) having eaten earlier so I decided to go with something not too filling but different from what I would normally get. My friend who is into healthy options actually did the opposite of what she normally did and went for a mish mash. Unfortunately, there are no coffee refills so I am glad that I had my fix earlier on in the morning.
The Mish Mash ($11.95) is a scrambled egg mix served in a handled mini pan with a side of fruit and some lettuce. You get a choice of three ingredients to include from a list of: aged cheddar, grated cheese, onions, peppers, bacon, ham zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms. The mish mash was piled up nice and high and the eggs were tasty. The dish as a whole tasted nice and light, although for some reason there was a slight bitter taste that may have been form the zucchini which I felt detracted from the dish’s overall taste. The fruit was fresh and the way it was presented in a glass was a simple yet novel approach. The baguette is also a nice bonus as opposed to normal toast.
Next, the dish that I chose was the “Mange tes Croutes” ($12.95) which when I say it, sounds offensive because I subconsciously used my aggressive French tone and kind of feel bad since it was our waitress who was on the receiving end of that so if she reads this, I am sorry for my approach. Ok back to food – the plate is comprised of bread crust with nuts, goat cheese, caramelized pears, drizzled in honey infused with ginger, mashed potatoes, a side of fruit, and a mini yogourt crème brûlée. The plate may sound weird but its actually very delicious and novel. The pairing of caramelized pears and goat cheese along with the nuts on a brown bread is an amazing idea; it definitely hit the spot and was full of big bold flavour with the nice refined taste of the pear. I though that the mashed potato would be weird but it was just the right amount and offered some extra filling satisfaction to my tummy. The fruit was fresh and cut thickly, so no skimpy fruit slices here. There was a side of lettuce which was not really necessary but I ate it anyways. Now, the interesting thing was the mini yogourt crème brûlée which was served in a small egg holder. The taste can best be described a combination of the lightness and “yogourty” taste you would expect from a yogourt but mixed with the sweetness of crème brûlée and that fun hard top you get to crack – it had a light taste of coffee as well which made it quite pleasant. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and found it a revolutionary idea, which I strongly recommend. Lastly, it came with a shooter of fruit juice which I enjoyed it since it was nice added touch, refreshing and an eye opener.
Service was quick and they came around often. At the beginning they left a pitcher of water on our table, which was very useful since we did not have to hunt them down. Although I did have to wait a while for my coffee refill and was not until we flagged down our waiter that we got it. This is just a minor detail, but the service overall was quite fair.
Almost all the plates are vegetarian friendly, in fact I could only recall one plate coming with meat and that was “La totale” which is a hefty plate of eggs, ham, bacon, pancakes, beans, but other than that most of the plates are vegetarian friendly. They also have healthy options such as “Le Bionique” which is yogourt, granola, fruit cup and jam, as well as the grilled cheese, which is cheddar and apple. As for vegan, many plates have dairy or egg in them so you are out of luck.
Cantine is a welcoming change to the brunch scene, although they don’t really fall into the classic breakfast/brunch category, they have enough staple items to still give that brunch experience. The price is not cheap although you do get quality ingredients and an impressive presentation. The décor, as well, is impressive and you do feel comfortable once you are there. This is one of those places where it matches a particular mood or appetite. I suggest you check it out so you can see and experience it for yourself, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
| 212 avenue Mont-Royal est
Montréal Qc H2T 1P3
Saturday – Sunday 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
View Cantine Bistro Boutique in a larger map
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