You may have heard about Hof Kelsten. In a short time, the legend has grown about the bread guy, Jeffrey Finkelstein. He is Montreal’s prodigal son, who has worked at some of the top restaurants around world. His list includes Toque, French Laundry, Per Se, and even El Bulli. Now back in Montreal he has been making bread over at Hof Kelsten and also has some other items that are a little more than just bread. Simply put Hof Kelsten does brunch. So one Saturday morning, the Montreal Food Divas were miraculously awake and not hungover so it seemed logical to do brunch. Now finding a spot that will impress the Divas is not always an easy task but we knew that Hof Kelsten would not disappoint.
Top Montreal brUNCH (the lunchy kind)
Brunch is a word made up breakfast and lunch, we all know the breakfasty dishes like pancake stacks, waffles, and eggs Benedict but what about rolling out some gravlax, some sweetbreads, or some black codd in the morning? Maybe re-invent brunch and push the boundaries a little more towards the lunch side of brunch. The following restaurants are those that are definitely not your average bacon and eggs spots.
Top Montreal BRunch (the breakfasty kind)
In the final segment of our top montreal brunches we have covered the best new brunch of 2014, best ethnic brunch, best local / organic brunch, best lunchy kind of brunches and now best breakfasty brunches. When we say “breakfasty” we mean brunches that are classic in the sense that their menu will give you pancakes, french toast, waffles, eggs… you know those classic dishes you grew up on. Nowadays the trend is to go for dishes that are more lunch than breakfast. Smoked salmon on a bagel will no longer cut it, people want gravlax, halloumi cheese and gluten free bread. This section is in recognition of the classic places that stay true to the the classic brunch dishes and make them stand out.
What is the best Montreal Brunch of 2014? This is a question we get asked every year, but one that is difficult to answer. We have eaten and reviewed close to 300 brunches – many in Montreal and a couple abroad. We have to go over a laundry list of new spots, old spots, places that move, places where management and menu changed, places that got better, and sadly, places that got worse. Consistency is a tricky thing for most restaurants to pull off. You need to make dishes people like, be financially successful, be innovative and evolve with the times. So you can understand why we only do our “best of” round-up once a year.
Over the next few posts we will be showcasing our selection of our favourites and the various sections they cover. Initially, this was supposed to be a single post but it evolved as we got into more detail and felt that we should break it down into multiple sections. Please note that in each category and in our choice we give positive and negative criticism since there is no perfect brunch and all places can improve on something. Also note that we could have simply made a top 10 list and given 2 lines of text and a pretty picture but much like a proper brunch we want to give you something on your plate that gets your appetite going and makes you come back for more. Or in this case, go visit them. Our categories includes best new brunch, best classic brunch, best alternative brunch, best ethnic brunch and best local/organic brunch.
Brunch only really happens twice a week and often it is between 10 and 3. Some places say 3 but the kitchen closes earlier so you run the risk of having to really think of where you want to go when you have a late brunch. Now when doing brunch with my friend and drink reviewer Jay Pendergrast the III, the discussion always is based on, can we make it in time? Sliding in just before the kitchen closes often results in them being out of an item or 2 on the menu or feeling rushed. Salle a manger is a place that will not rush you and on Sunday’s, serves brunch right up until dinner time which is ideal for those who have issue being ready before 2pm.
Manitoba (the restaurant, not the province), located somewhere between Little Italy and Park Extension, which some people have begun referring to as Mile Ex, has been on people’s lips for a little over a year. Now we had been to restaurant Manitoba before for their dinner service and we left very impressed after an incredible meal and really good service which left us curious about their brunch. I had high hopes for their dishes ,which if their dinner service was an indication, I was in for a treat with tasty and well-priced options.
A few months after its opening, we fell upon Sel Gras. Having read about it and its rather impressive crew working the kitchen, we have had this on our short list for some time. So with a friend coming in from out of town and a need to try something totally different it felt like the logical choice to give Sel Gras over in the Mile End a shot.