Evolution is a big part of what separates success from failure. The concept of “survival of the fittest” is built from our ability to adapt to ever changing conditions and hopefully make it through the weeding out of the weak. Montreal’s restaurant scene has evolved and is a far cry from what it was 10 years ago. In 2005 opulent supper clubs and trendy restaurants ruled the scene, as high-society party hoppers went from dinner to dancing each night at the same venue. In some cases as soon as the empty plates were cleared, the tables became the dance floor.
Today’s scene is much more conservative with bottle service and partying almost completely replaced by a smarter gastronomical food culture. Time Supper Club has done something that a lot of restaurants that once shared the hot-spotlight failed to do; it has survived. By adapting to different needs, the once infamous restaurant/nightclub has evolved into a malleable and unique private event space with enough capacity for a 600-guest cocktail party and a seating capacity of 250 guests. There are not many independent spaces like this in Montreal and Time offers a unique venue for those who are looking for something in the urban landscape, yet a little different. As far as recommending the space, I’d be happy to point clients in Time’s direction.
At a recent blowout dinner thrown for almost 160 of Montreal’s media, event planners and hotel concierge, Time Supper Club’s bold new direction was front and centre for a hands-on experience like no other. We kicked the evening off in the upstairs VIP lounge that overlooks the main space below. Chatting with other guests, some were nostalgic about the nights they had back in the day at Time Supper Club. For them, being back at Time was like going back in time. This was my first ever experience at the venue and I was curious about how the night would unravel. We nibbled on canapés while sipping on cocktails and wine before heading downstairs to see what the chef was preparing for our dining pleasure. The menu featured 11 appetizers and 7 main courses, which meant the kitchen was busy well into the evening.
As mentioned before, I would be happy to recommend the space but the food I tried left me concerned. I feel like the chef over did it on providing us with such a vast selection. It feels like he threw everything in his arsenal at the wall to see what would stick. We tried everything from veal tongue to lamb tartar to duck confit, shrimp and more. I have no doubt that the chef knows what he’s doing and I am not doubting his capability but feeding 160 people 18 different dishes over a 5 hour period may not have been the best way to present the food. The kitchen seemed very versatile but they stretched themselves a bit too far by trying to show us everything.
The best dishes of the night included a tandoori tuna gravlax, heirloom beets and mozzarella di Buffala. I wasn’t as fond of the soggy, grilled-to-limp romaine lettuce (yes, grilled lettuce!) or the risotto. The risotto (pictured above) was undercooked and had a texture of chalky rice pudding. The use of mint didn’t help either. There were several other dishes that we didn’t even get a shot at because we had one plate for eight people. If you do choose Time Supper Club as your venue, pay close attention to what you want to see on the plates. I feel like a tighter sampling of fewer items on the menu would have made better sense. It would have given the kitchen more time to perfect each dish.
I love the space that houses Time Supper Club and I was happy to have been part of an event, celebrated in such an iconic Montreal restaurant. Though the food was a major misstep, I feel that with better direction, they can get it right.
For more information on reserving the space for your event, check out their website for all the details.
Photo credit: David Major-Lapierre