For those of you who don’t know, Lapin Blanc translates from French into the White Rabbit (aka. the neurotic, time obsessed companion of Alice during her adventures in Wonderland). The trippy restaurant that shares this name is located in the heart of HoMa and is on its own a kaleidoscopic tumble down the rabbit hole, into the exciting unknown. Lapin Blanc stands apart as an entirely unique concept in one of Montreal’s quietly developing neighbourhoods. Montreal’s media and blogging community was recently invited to Le Lapin Blanc for a special cocktail and menu tasting. Easily accessible by car and only a healthy walk from either Pie IX or Viau metro, the owners and chef of the restaurant sat us down as they strutted their stuff all evening long.
The night started with a delicious, fall-inspired welcome cocktail consisting of spiced bourbon, cinnamon and apples and a touch of lime. Savoury canapés were circulated around the room as we connected and chatted about the restaurant’s colourful decor. Soon after the entire restaurant was buzzing with chatter we were brought to our tables and settled in for some food and wine.
In Montreal there are many design and decor trends that leave some restaurants looking like tired regurgitations of once inspired spaces. Lapin Blanc throws the rule book out the window and instead of trying to look like all the other guys they embrace lunacy with both hyper-colourful and black and white psychedelic murals, rounded and antiquated mirrors and of course a couple of not so subtle winks to the white rabbit himself. With seating for about 70 people inside the restaurant (and of course a hotly anticipated summer terrasse) the space feels like both like a local bar and a favorite bistro. Lapin Blanc doesn’t want to tip the scales of dining in Montreal. Instead they want to be the place where the locals bring their friends to grab a drink and a bite to eat and have a good time. A simple yet spot-on raison-d’être.
The food at Lapin Blanc is as inventive as its decor. Though we sampled most of the menu, the standout dishes were the beef tartare pâte-chinois, the crispy mac-&-cheese poppers, the pork chop with mashed potatoes and the Lapin Blanc poutine (made with marinara sauce, olive infused rabbit and Manchebello cheese). The chef takes familiar favourites and makes them extraordinary by blending them in new and creative ways. The tartare pâte-chinois was an excellent example of this. I’m excited to see how far the chef will go with his rule bending and envelope pushing.
Lapin Blanc is both a creative and relaxed addition to HoMa’s evolving landscape and because it looks so unassuming it will be a bigger surprise for those who are about try it for the first time.
Follow all our food adventures for more on Twitter and Instagram @dayjobnightlife