Last Saturday night, Bagatelle New York popped up at Terrasses Bonsecours in Old Montreal to strut its stuff during an already jam packed Grand Prix weekend. Here’s the low down on a night of high expectations.
A couple of weeks ago, when we received an invite to this seemingly exclusive event, we were really excited to go. The idea of a pop-up restaurant is great because technically it’s a once in a lifetime experience. With locations in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, we thought that Bagatelle must be doing something right and we would have a chance to experience it in our very own city. The thing about expectations is that the higher they climb the further they have to fall and nothing could have been truer then what we walked into on Saturday night.
We strolled across the bridges that connect Terrasses Bonsecours to the rest of Old Montreal at about 8:15pm on a rather delightfully misty evening. As we approached we heard the loud thumping of heavy bass and scattered wails from people inside the temporary structure. Getting closer, we noticed a few people were leaving and upon arriving on the red carpet we found out why. The hostess wasn’t able to hear us over the music and we had to yell our names (which hadn’t been put on the list first nor last –the hostess quickly disappeared and when she came back a minute later, we were quickly ushered through). As we walked further onto the makeshift island of Neverland, there were lost boys and girls dancing on and around chairs while others were spraying champagne around the room (at 8pm…).
The concerned look on our faces caught the attention of the Terrasses director and she came to say hi. She wished us a good evening before we headed straight to a tucked away corner of the bar for a drink. The waitstaff was really keen on providing an outstanding service, which they did, but upon further observation it seemed like they were more like zookeepers that had taken refuge in a cage after the wild animals managed to get free and take control. We were well served with wide smiles and so was everyone else, especially the guy who asked for a stack of napkins and then a few seconds later, a stack more. When the DJ played his song, he threw them into the air like they were dollar bills (yet somehow not quite the same effect) to the roar of his own applause as well as encouragement from his friends. To cap off his cool streak, he bought a bottle of carbonated water to spray around like the big boys and their champagne. If you ask me, Jane Goodall had it easy.
The final straw came as a parade of people in their late 20s or early 30s came running out from behind the bar with sparklers and more champagne. I’m assuming the bubbly goodness wasn’t for drinking, so much as spraying on their friends (we neuter cats for doing the same, don’t we?). At that point, we had had it. We quickly drained what was left in our glasses then paid up and headed into Old Montreal for a lovely meal.
As much as it appears that we wouldn’t be caught doing the same or worse as these people (this all would have been great at midnight), I’m not judging them for having their fun. We were expecting a wonderful sit down dinner at a fabulous restaurant that would only be here for the weekend and within 20 minutes, those expectations had been exterminated. Our own fault, I suppose.
Though not every story has a happy ending, this one does have a silver lining. The evening could be an inspiring idea for a sequel to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Crawling around at 8pm on all fours good, standing on two legs bad.