L’Affaire est Ketchup

1 Apr

Finding myself heading to Quebec City for a weekend course, my wife and I decided to make it a weekend trip. I learn, she skis and then we enjoy old Quebec which I hadn’t visited for…. 15 years!? Yeah I was overdue. As I was thinking about where I would like to go for a nice meal in the city, I thought back to an old Parts Unknown episode where Anthony Bourdain was in Quebec and visited L’Affaire est Ketchup – a unique restaurant that seemed to be doing very cool stuff. I always kept it on my list after that so this seemed like a good opportunity to finally try them out.

L’Affaire est Ketchup bills themselves as a “Pirate Restaurant” and that is really the unique thing about it. The space looks like an old apartment – you can only fit about 25 people in the space and the kitchen is really just the old kitchen tucked in the back of the apartment open for all to see. The chairs and tables are simple and worn out. The decor is not very consistent or fancy. The coat rack is in the stairwell to the “cellar” downstairs. The red wine “wine list” is the cabinet by the old fireplace with all bottles laid out for you to see. All of their cooking is using an old electric stove and oven! No fancy high end equipment here and that’s the thing to think about when you see the dishes – how they create very high end comfort fare using the most basic of space. It’s pretty cool.

The menu is small – 7 options for both appetizers and mains – and it is ever-changing although some items are apparently pretty consistent. First up, I went with the veal sweetbreads – poached in white vermouth and cream, seared and served with a sauce reduced from the poaching liquid. I love a good sweetbread and this is a great sweetbread. Great crisp on the outside but with keeping the tender richness within. A cream sauce is of course a great pairing with this level of fattiness. The vermouth comes through for a slight kick. Excellent starter.

My wife went with the cobia salad. Cobia is a white flaky fish which was poached in olive oil and served over a kimchi-like preparation of fresh and fermented green cabbage and with a avocado dressing. We had never had cobia before – very nice fresh flavour. I enjoyed the kimchi-like cabbage – it had some nice heat to it although my wife found it to finish a little too salty for her liking.

As a main, I went with the seared bison served over mashed potatoes, a mushroom cream sauce and some veggies. The bison was cooked perfectly medium rare with a great sear to it. Very flavourful and the sauce had a nice earthy richness to it. The mash and the roasted vegetables were excellent as well.

My wife went with the seared scallops served with pork belly, a parsnip purée and veggies. The scallops were beautiful – very tender and flavourful. The sear was excellent. The pairing of that with the fatty pork belly worked very well. The parsnip brought some extra creaminess and earthiness as well. Very enjoyable all around.

Finally for dessert, we decided to share the chocolate brownie served with whipped cream. Simple but well executed. Strong chocolate flavour with a nice texture to the brownie. Good finish to a solid meal.

L’Affaire est Ketchup is an unique and excellent experience in Quebec City. It is amazing the quality of food they can create out of such a small and basic kitchen. The service was excellent throughout the night making for a fun evening all around. Anthony Bourdain definitely didn’t steer us wrong. Now I need to make sure I don’t wait 15 years to visit the city again….


L’Affaire est Ketchup
46 Rue Saint-Joseph Est
Québec City, Canada
418 529 9020

L'Affaire est Ketchup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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