I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a meal prepared by Laurent Godbout, one of Montreal’s favourite chefs. For the last few years I’ve joined my media peers for the launch of his massively successful (and largely inventive) cabane a sucre at La Scena in Old Montreal but, up until now, I’ve never eaten at his restaurant, Chez l’Épicier.
Framed within the launch of the 2017 edition of MTL a Table, a select few of us were invited to sit and preview the menu Chef Laurent had prepared for the highly anticipated food festival. In the restaurant we learned that the restaurant is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the province and the oldest grocery store, hence the name. We also learned the basement is haunted and the washrooms are down there too, so. There’s that.
Upstairs is where my concern lies and trying the restaurants food for the first time was a real treat. Presentation is an important facet of the food served at Chez l’Epicier and the presentation of the plates that were placed in front of us was nothing short of magnificent, especially the dessert. We began our 5 course meal with pistachio crusted foie de volaile and a bowl of cauliflower soup poured over strawberry and grape picked apples.
Our appetizer consisted of a carrot and Blackburn cheese linzer with curry, crème fraiche and candied nuts. For the main course I chose the piglet t-bone (pictured above) which was served with sweet and sour cabbage, creamy mashed potatoes (duchesse minute) and gastric truffle honey. Other choices for main dishes include arctic char (pictured below), and volaille chaud-froid de fois gras Rougie. Having tasted all three, the weakest choice happened to be the pork which ended up being a bit too fatty. The side dishes were wonderful all the same.
At dessert they had us eating out of the palm of their hand with two distinct desserts that were majestically presented. I ordered the white chocolate Chantilly with sarrasin sugar cookies and pepper caramel and tea compressed squash. It was great but then I saw the Apple Season, a dessert made to look like an apple that contained a delicious apple compote. I loved it.
For a first trip to Chez l’Epicier this was an extraordinary experience. I would gladly return again for MTL à Table or any other occasion. As with my previous experiences with Chef Laurent Godbout, this was an event that left me pleasantly surprised.