For the first time in a long while, I went to brunch where the choice of location wasn’t made by me. As one starts to become known within his friend circle as the “restaurant guy”, usually I am the one tasked with the selection. Not this time around as a couple of friends decided it was time that I tried a favourite of theirs closed to their neighbourhood (and one I actually have had on my list for some time), Cafe Griffintown.
Located on Notre-Dame street just off de la Montagne, this cafe has just a beautiful space to work with. High ceilings, exposed brick walls, beautiful aged wood floors, metallic accents with an open kitchen and a terrasse to boot, I love pretty much everything about this space. Add some great jazz and big band music in the background and you have a cafe that I could spend hours at.
But enough about the interior design, you want to hear about the food because frankly this is a food blog after all. The brunch menu is one of breakfast classics with some unique twists as well. To start, I ordered a glass of their “Palm Spring” – a mixture of fresh papaya, banana and pineapple juice. Great balance to this juice – not too sweet, not too sour, just a nice refreshing drink on a warm summer day.
As a main, I went for the crab cake and eggs. Homemade crab cake with sunnyside-up eggs, a side of bacon, a smoked and marinated jalapeños remoulade and a fresh salad. The crab cake was nice and dense with crab meat – no excessive binder here. The bacon was cooked as I like it – not crispy and the eggs were cooked as listed. The remoulade was not nearly as spicy as I expected (which for me is a good thing) and provided a nice tang to the dish. The only miss for me was the salad as it really didn’t have a reason other than to make the plate seem larger. No dressing to really speak of and the lettuce honestly didn’t seem all that fresh. If we ignore the salad, the rest of the plate is a winner.
One of my friends went with the Mac & Cheese – L’Ile-aux-Grues, Swiss gruyere, Bierbrier beer with a side of bacon, poached eggs and some greens. The poached eggs were well done, the bacon was cooked the same way as mine was and the macaroni had great flavour. Both cheeses and the beer used in the Mac & Cheese added a nice creamy sharpness to the dish but not one that would feel overbearing and heavy towards the end. The greens used here also seemed fresher. A very nice dish that I definitely would want to try next time as my own main.
My other friend went with their Canadian breakfast – 2 eggs your way with a side of meat (chorizo, bacon or prosciutto), potatoes, toast and a green salad. The eggs (scrambled in this case) were solid, the potatoes had good flavour and the bacon was cooked as the previous 2 dishes had been. The green salad was actually like mine which was disappointing but the real star here was the bread. Nice thick cut pieces of fresh bread grilled well and buttered. Every time I get bread like this in a restaurant I am reminded of my desire to bake my own sourdough bread. I definitely need to get on that. Anyway, solid dish apart from the salad once again.
After our meal, we sat there for another hour so clearly we felt right at home in this cafe. What can I say… my friends make good restaurant choices. I taught them well. Just kidding. Anyway, they were spot-on with this choice and it led to a great Sunday brunch. People in the Sud-Ouest region either living there or visiting, look no further than Cafe Griffintown for all your brunch needs. I only wish the live Jazz they have during the week was also there during Brunch. Then we would have probably stayed there a few more hours.
1378 Notre Dame St W