I love a good pub. It is my favorite type of drinking establishment. The relaxed atmosphere, good food, good music and a great selection of drinks – there is a reason why I spend WAY too much time at the Burgundy Lion instead of something closer than my apartment. During the Montreal en Lumière festival last month, after going to La Cuvée (an awesome beer, whiskey and retro music event) at L’Eglise Saint-Enfant Jesus, my friends and I walked across the street to Pub Sir Joseph to grab a bite and continue our evening in the right way.
Pub Sir Joseph was opened by a group which included chef Martin Juneau of Pastaga fame and is located along the Main corner St-Joesph in a space which has seen numerous restaurants come and go – the previous tenant was there for under a year from what I recall. So not the most successful location it would seem but Pub Sir Joseph has some positives going for it – A British gastropub is not a common sight in the Plateau and chef Juneau & company’s menu influences is a nice selling point.
The interior space has a clean, more sparse vibe than your typical pub – solid wood and stone tables, high chairs and an L shaped bar which is the focal point of the space as it should be. The dim lighting was all candles on the tables with a few pot lights and an interesting lightbulb fixture in the middle of the room. The music was present but not too loud – conversation was actually possible which at a bar/pub around midnight on a weekend has become a big challenge in Montreal. The service was quick and very friendly – to the point where the 2 waiters on the floor would actually start conversations with us a few times over the evening. At first, that level of attention was a little odd – not necessarily a regular occurrence for any of us – but in the end, it was rather endearing and enjoyable. The fact that it didn’t slow down their service was pretty impressive as well.
On the drink front, Pub Sir Joseph has a nice selection of local and British beers as well as different cocktails – with a primary emphasis on gin as they have 10 different varieties in house. I went with their “Smoky” cocktail – Bowmore scotch whiskey, maple syrup and angostura bitters. A nicely balanced drink – the sweet maple syrup softened the bitterness and bite of the whiskey and bitters.
Foodwise, Pub Sir Joseph focuses primarily on pub-style food in small plate “Tapas” style designed to allow sharing amongst the group as you sit around with a few drinks. Certainly an intriguing concept for a pub-style joint. The menu hits some classic pub items with British and Indian influences, however they definitely are having fun playing off the conventions of the setting. First up, we ordered their Worker’s plate – a mixed cheese and charcuteries dish. Served with some bread and marinated vegetables, there was a nice combination here – chorizo, salumi, cheddar, goat cheese, etc. A nice starting plate.
Next up was the Onion bhajis with curry mayonnaise. Bhajis, for those who don’t know, are essentially Indian fritters – in this case done using onions. Inherently sweet due to the onion, they had a nice crunch to them which added something texturally. The curry mayonnaise added some bite without letting the curry become overwhelmed – something that used to bother me until the day I was introduced to true good Indian cooking by some of my University classmates. I only wished they had been more Bhajis on the plate!
The final dish we ordered was their Meat pie composed of beef, kidney, braised vegetables and scotch ale. Took some time to reach our table (which our waitress had told us ahead of time) but a solid dish worth waiting for. A nice flaky crust with a rich stewy mixture of beef and vegetables – classic meat pie and a great choice given the evening of drinks we had just had.
Our visit here was a last minute call but one that definitely enjoyed. Chef Juneau’s influences on the menu are visible in terms of quality and presentation – as a fan of Pastaga, that is a huge positive for me – and I loved both the variety of Gins and the quality of cocktails available. The service was very smooth and much more personable than I expected. Pub Sir Joseph fills a void in the area and did enough for me in our brief visit to warranted a larger meal as a well as further late night gatherings. For a pub experience, that is really all you can hope for.
Pub Sir Joseph
4902 Saint Laurent
514 564 7477