un voyage gastronomique

the world isn't round… it's a platter

Arts Café: Getting Artsy for Brunch

By Sotong

If I had any pick for long-term housing, Mile-End would definitely be in the top three on my list. Reason? Choice of 2 parks – Parc La Fontaine (with Théâtre de Verdure featuring shows during summer) and Parc Sir Wilfrid-Laurier, Montreal’s famous Bagel-ries (Fairmount and St Viateur) and an abundance of coffee shops. I brunch-ed at Arts Café – one of the well-known hangouts among locals, students, and tourists alike.

I went for the Shakshuka with merguez, the other option being polenta. The tomato beans were slightly bland when eaten on their own but the went well with the well-seasoned merguez and shakshuka, which was topped with fried quinoa. Green beans on the side added some crunch to the dish. Overall, a warm and hearty dish.

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My brunch buddy opted for the Breakfast Poutine. Being in Quebec, having poutine for breakfast is not something unusual. Duck confit, yukon fries, and whole scallions swimming in duck fat and topped with a poached egg in addition to hollandaise sauce. Cheese is served melted here (sorry to you folks who like ‘em squeaky bits). I enjoyed nibbling on the crispy ends of the duck. This dish might appear smaller in portion in comparison to others but do not be fooled as it was rich, filling, and satisfying.

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You know those times when you return to the same place within a few days just because you couldn’t get enough of it? Well, that happened to me. 2 days later, I returned to Arts with 2 other new friends for a Sunday breakfast. Having read reviews about lineups on weekend mornings, we made sure to be there early. It was a sunny day so outdoor terrace it was. (The heat got a little unbearable towards the middle of the meal. So if you’re not used to dining under the hot sun, be sure to bring a hat with you. #asianproblems I guess…)

Friend A decided on the Waffles. It was served with blackberries, chocolate sauce, and a generous portion of whipped cream (yay!) on the side, topped with roasted hazelnuts and maple. The waffles were on the soggy side but you can confidently tell from the buttery taste that it is made from good batter. I guess the waffle maker wasn’t heated up well enough before the batter was placed, hence the sogginess.

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Friend B chose the Benedicts. Living up to its name, this dish was thoughtfully presented just like the café’s deco.  The sourness of the pickled cucumber swirls went really well with the sun-dried tomato bread which was topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. I tasted traces of cornmeal but I’m not too sure about it. Would like it if the eggs were poached for maybe 20 seconds less as the insides didn’t ooze out as I sliced through them, that lava-oozing-out-from-the-volcano effect, which I think is part and parcel of the benedicts experience.

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For myself, I went for the Scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Nothing beats anything fresh out of the oven. These scones are amaze-balls! Soft crust on the exterior with buttery and fluffy interior, I totally don’t mind gaining some weight over these marvelous ones.

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Will definitely be back soon, for the pistachio- and cream cheese-covered carrot cakes sitting on the counter top.

Check out one of the cool reptile plates they have here! (And that strawberry jam tongue I gave to the chameleon =p) I seriously mistook that bug to be a real one…

Reptile Plates

Whether it is to have breakfast/brunch, to grab a quick bite, to catch up with a friend or to spend an afternoon indulging in a good book/surfing the net, Arts Café with its cozy interior is THE place for you!

Food: 4/5

Price: $5-15

Ambiance: 5/5

Service: 3.5/5

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2014 by in Brunch, Plateau/Mile-End.

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