Friday, October 28, 2011

Montreal: Bremner Restaurant

as you wish
:Old Montreal:


If Hughes' restaurants were women, Garde would be a red-lipped blonde wearing a Mackage leather jacket toting a Louis Vuitton; Le Bremner would be the fresh-faced brunette in skinny jeans, holding a Chanel 2.55.  It's just how I see things.

If the analogy was lost on you...I'll be more explicit: Garde is a trendy, loud and slightly chaotic hipster place, while Bremner is more of a reclusive bistro with a classy but comfortable feel.  Both play groovy tunes.  Both have cute guys, although Bremner's staff had more personality, which makes you want to stay a while and flirt a little.

If you recall, I didn’t LOVE Garde, I liked her. 

I LOVED Bremner.  Stop here if you wish, but for you inquiring minds, keep reading.

Yes, I saw Hughes. That’s right, he works his line. It was a nice surprise because I can count the number of times I’ve actually seen celebrity chefs in their restaurant, working, tasting, and schmoozing. Two. Chuck was the second.

Bremner opened in July and it’s still bustling. Noteworthy mentions include the terrasse.  I took a quite peek during a bathroom break, and it's gorgeous. The cocktails, mixology wonders not bar mixes, were amazing. (Specifically the pampelmouse one, or O-juice, if you will.  It was a balanced mix of vodka, sake, mint, fresh grapefruit and some other stuff.  It was O good, it was addictive.)

The menu is divided into seven categories: Chilled Items, From Outside, Bread & Cheese, From the Stovetop, From the Broiler, Vegetables, and Dessert. Order, as you wish.

My sister and I started with the kimchi snow crab because its reputation preceded our visit. Now, you should know that we are kimchi experts. So we were both pleasantly surprised that this dish wasn’t a wishy-washy fusion concoction of pickled cabbage and spices calling itself kimchi. The flavours were actually reminiscent of actual kimchi. The dish was almost a perfect hit, but for the rice cracker/cookie. It was too big.  I think (emphasis on think) I know what Hughes was trying to replicate here, a Korean dish called norengie. Norengie is the rice crust at the bottom of a stone bowl pot. If you add a little water or tea it releases the rice and you eat it.  My unsolicited advice to Hughes would be to make the cracker half the thickness because conceptually I agree that the delicate snow crab needs a chewy/crunchy counterpart.

Like an exotic tickle
The culinary adventure continued with lamb meatballs that were soft and meaty with rich flavours:

Like a warm hug

The spicy bass with edamame was a favourite.  It was delicate and deep - that's the only way I can describe it.  There was so much going on in my mouth and it was all wonderful:

Like a symphony of fire
Another one of my favourites was grilled asparagus with poached egg.  There was a lot going on on this plate and I liked it.  Together it worked.  Separate, not so sure.

Like a mishmash song on Glee - unexpected harmony
Dinner, however, ended on a sad note. Doughnuts were implicated (I am aware I have a problem with doughnuts.  I'm in the contemplation stage of seeking help).

Due to my obsession with doughnuts, you can only imagine how crushed I was to learn they sold out.  My poor sister, I whined about it for a good ten minutes, and pouted for another five.  Then, after letting out le sigh of tout sighs. I got over it and resolved to go back on my next visit. 

But listen Hughes…I live in Toronto. If you stumble across this review and feel compelled to ship me some doughnuts, why, you'd be the Wesley to my Buttercup.

I won't hold my breath, but trust me when I say, I usually get what I want, as I wish.
Le Bremner on Urbanspoon

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