When I began blogging back in 2009 I never knew just how far it would take me. I’ve seen some amazing things, eaten some fantastic food and drank more champagne that I care to admit. The inspiration to begin telling the world about my fabulous adventures in Montreal came from several different sources but one of the most memorable was Suite 701, the house restaurant and bar at the Place d’Armes Hotel in Old Montreal.
I remember walking into the restaurant for the first time and seeing the vaulted ceilings, the decked out tables and the beautiful people gathered at the bar and I froze. What the hell was I doing in a place like this? I felt out of place and worried that someone would spot me and figure out that I had no idea what I was doing. That feeling didn’t last very long and as I drank my cocktails and my wine I suddenly felt very much at home. It was silly of me to think that I couldn’t fit in because all my life I dreamed of being in places like this, laughing with friends and having the time of my life. Looking back at that moment years ago I see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve evolved as a person and now, so has Suite 701.
Last week a group of media and VIP guests were invited to the unveiling of Brasserie 701, an evolution for one of the most beautiful spaces in Old Montreal. Adopting a more casual atmosphere by fusing new elements with the classic architecture, Brasserie 701 feels like a natural progression in a city like Montreal where upscale dining has nothing to do with snobbery. They’ve retained elements such as the dramatic sheer drapery that adds dimension to the space, the birdcages that hangover the bar and the lion still represents in the logo. They’ve said goodbye to the hot pink lighting and adopted a purified cream and pastel coloured base for the décor, they’ve added high tables and wonderful modern lighting and the logo has been modernized. I LOVE THE NEW LOGO. The copper colour is a wink to the piping used in Parisian brasseries and the stylized lion head is set within three squares that create ears and a mane. It’s brilliant.
The food at Brasserie 701 retains the standards set by Suite 701. The beef and salmon tartare are wonderful, the Boston salad with blue cheese was tart and just a little sweet, a perfect balance. We sat to sample a three course meal that started with the salad and escargot. From what I hear, the escargot were spot on as well. I ordered the gnocchi, playing it safe against a plate of magret de canard or salmon, and it was good. The Italian to my left that night couldn’t believe I ordered gnocchi in a restaurant but I did and I have no regrets. The sauce was good and I finished the plate still wanting more. By the time the dessert came we were all pretty full but that didn’t stop us from digging in. We were served a plate of chocolate tarts, mini donuts, macarons and more. I tried everything because no matter how full I get, I always have room for dessert. I have no regrets.
I’m looking forward to seeing more from Brasserie 701 and something tells me that now that terrasse season is upon us, they will be seeing their fair share of me either trying the burger or having a quick cocktail before heading up to one of the most beautiful terrasses in the city!