Indian food, rich in deep, distinct flavours with a sometimes spicy kick, is perfect for this time of the year in Montreal. As we live through the latest snowfall in minus twenty degree weather, the thought of leaving our homes for a night out on the town for any type of food or drink is diminished. Montrealers, however, are a resilient bunch and at restaurants like Le 409, which was recently remixed into an elegant Indian eatery, it doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, they prove that we will go out of our way for the best comfort food found outside North America.
Last night I attended a special media dinner at Le 409. I’m a big fan of Indian food and knowing that they have partnered with the Anands (of Atma fame), they had a lot to live up to. Indian food has always been popular in Montreal but recently more and more restaurants have taken the experience to the next level. We can get great Masala delivered right to our doors but when we go out for dinner, we need the full experience. Le 409 delivered with a majestic decor that blends Montreal’s modern cool vibe with just the right amount of Indian Bollywood kitch, creating a truly unique atmosphere in Old Montreal.
A special menu of greatest hits was prepared for the media tables. We occupied about 40% of the tables in the restaurant and just about all the other tables were full as well (on a Monday – at -20 degrees, Go Montrealers!). I loved observing the crowd as they laughed and chatted over shared plates, excellent wine and amazing cocktails (like the Matcha Velour pictured above). We kicked things off with a plate of crispy papadum which was served with both a creamy spiced sauce and crushed tomatoes.
The next plates to hit the table consisted of a potato filled Chana samosa which was covered in chickpeas and a masala. Normally a samosa is served with a dipping sauce but this unique approach was very interesting and quite flavourful. We also tried a plate of spicy chicken, cubed, fried and coated in curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Moving along, the kitchen sent out a plate of butter chicken (how could they not!) which was standard. We were also served tarka dahl, a take on the famous Indian soup which was thicker than your typical dahl, making it great to eat over basmati. A plate of lamb Korma was also served in an almond and raisin sauce. No Indian meal would have been complete with without naan bread and Le 409 didn’t disappoint here either.
I am a big fan of winter when it’s at its coldest and its snowiest. I am also a very big fan of sitting in a restaurant with warm comfort food steaming in front of me while the snow piles up outside. Gathering a few friends and booking a table at Le 409 is probably going to be great no matter what time of year it is but I’d recommend getting in during these coziest months. There’s something very special about experiencing a restaurant like Le 409 during the depths of winter.