Montreal is a happy hour haven. The 5 à 7 is a true institution of our fair city which really ramps up once the weather warms up and the terrasses get going. One of the few downsides of my actual job is that it doesn’t really allow me to enjoy downtown happy hours because I work in the West Island and my hours often go past happy hours. A few weeks ago, taking advantage of my family all being downtown for a change on a weeknight and me not being at work late, we met up in Quartier des Spectacles and decided to try Taverne F, the little brother to Cafe Ferrera.
Taverne F is a Portuguese brasserie so its focus is on smaller plates to share as a group while you enjoy some wine or a cocktail. The shipping container-shaped space, located just beside Place des Arts, has a very modern and clean decor although the general narrowness of the space isn’t ideal. It causes problems at the entrance of the restaurant when you have patrons waiting for a table and the lack of a atrium causes those people to spill into the bar space right in front and then you can barely move out of your bar stool… which was a problem since we were sitting at the bar. When the beautiful terrasse is available, I suspect it really helps to open up the room and ease this issue.
First dish I tried was Mama Rosa’s pork confit. Deliciously fatty pork that just fell apart with a fork. Mama Rosa’s spice mixture (whatever it was…) didn’t really come out all that much but it succeeded in getting such a great texture through the curing that it didn’t matter to me. A nice dish to share…. if you can pull yourself away from the dish in the first place which I wasn’t able to do in this instance.
The second dish was the taverne poutine – a Portuguese play on a poutine with salted cod and wild oregano on top of the usual cheese curds and fries. Reading the description of the dish got me very intrigued. I love poutine and salted cod separately and the notice of combining them had never struck me before. In this case, the combination worked very well. The inherent saltiness of the cod plays very well with fries and its flakiness allowed the fish to blend well with the gooey cheese and sauce. The fries were nice and crispy as well (well… at least before the sauce got to them). This was a all-around solid dish and a nice twist on the poutine.
Finally, I could not leave without getting a dessert especially when Taverne F has pastel de Natas on the menu – those delicious little custard egg tarts that I love so much. Flaky and rich with a nice hint of vanilla, Natas are desserts that I could eat everyday and Taverne F’s version was no exception. In this case, the pastel de Natas were served with Maria biscuit ice cream, not that we knew that when we ordered them. The ice cream was nice and smooth but the 3 of us could not for the life of us place the subtle sweet flavour of the ice cream in context until our waiter told us – which makes sense because none of us had ever had those cookies before. A solid end to a late happy hour.
Taverne F, due to its location and format, really works well for a quick bite and drink before or after a concert or show. All of the different festivals that occur around it makes this place a happening all throughout the summer… as I have noticed when I have gone by the past few years. The food is solid and the drink options are plentiful. It is a Cafe Ferrera joint so it is not a cheap stop but a worthwhile one if you are in the surroundings, and with festival season around the corner, most of you most certainly will be close by.
1485 Rue Jeanne-Mance
514 289 4558