Decca 77 ▪ Montréal

1077 Rue Drummond
Montréal, Québec

I had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now, so I was very glad to receive an invitation to try out the food there. At first, we got seated on the brasserie side but when I saw the menu, which probably suited the hockey game attendees just fine, I asked if we could be reseated in the dining room. I had read wonderful things about the tasting menu so we asked the to be treated to the chef's whim. Honestly, I can get a bit overwhelmed by the choices and it's a great way to see what the restaurant is trying to achieve, especially when you know that the executive chef, Sébastien Giguère (formerly of Toqué), is Normand Laprise's protégé. The restaurant boasts a fully-stocked cellar and their list was overwhelming so we asked for the restaurant's suggestions.

We were brought two cocktails: a hibiscus/grapefruit sparkling wine cocktail and an Elderflower gin cocktail.  The hibiscus cocktail was nice and bitter but we much preferred the smooth flavor of the Edelflower gin cocktail with cucumber slices.

We were soon brought an amuse-bouche slate of oysters topped with a mignonette-like dressing and... raspberry?  It was an unusual combination but still worked to bring out the brininess of the oyster. I've never really seen an oyster that I haven't liked. We did notice that the oysters were not freshly shucked and they felt a bit dry or rather were missing some of the savoury liquor.

Following the amuse-bouche, we were treated to two appetizers. First, a lovely butternut squash soup with foie gras poêlé and lardons.  The soup had a very mild squash flavour, and was nice and creamy. In addition to being topped with a generous (read gluttonous) portion of pan-seared foie gras and thick cut bacon, there were also some lovely wild mushrooms.  The sweetness of the creamy soup was perfectly matched with the salty bacon.

Second was a lovely half roast quail on toasted brioche.  The description on the menu included compote of artichoke and a cranberry sauce.  I didn't remember this while eating, nor did I notice any artichoke in the dish.  The kitchen may have opted for the in-season wild mushrooms because they were generous in all our courses, including this one and I thought the cranberry sauce was more of a tomato compote. Either way, it was a well composed dish, and although I loved the quail, I could've gone without the toast. This course was served with Mapmakers Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand which was crisp and paired very well with the dish.

The main dish, which my dinner partner was very glad to see, was a filet de boeuf with squash purée and pomme de terre rate, roasted baby coloured beets (which I got to eat from both plates! Who doesn't like beets?!) and another welcome addition of sautéed wild mushrooms. The beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked and the accompaniments were all delicious. This dish was accompanied by a Rosso di Montalcino, a great sangiovese to have with red meat.

For dessert, I was very happy to see that they chose the soufflé. The apple and Calvados soufflé had a lovely apple flavor but had a very strange texture and was not my favourite.  I've made savoury soufflés and chocolate soufflés and I feel like this soufflé lacked flour. I read another review that mentioned its texture being overly eggy and I would have to agree.

The macarons however were winners and in my opinion, the basil one rivaled the explosive flavours of Pierre Hermé's macarons in Paris.  In addition to the excellent basil macarons, there was chocolate and peach which were both mild in flavour, and the raspberry macarons with a chocolate ganache, which was my runner-up.

All told, this is a delightful special-occasion restaurant.  The food was beautifully plated and delicious. I appreciated that the kitchen used seasonal (hopefully local) ingredients like wild mushrooms.  For those less inclined for fancy meals, the Brasserie menu looked good: I would return and try that next time!

 Decca77 on Urbanspoon


L'Atelier d'Argentine ▪ Montréal

355 Rue Marguerite D'Youville
Montréal, Québec

Elle and I were invited to try out the food at L'Atelier d'Argentine. Lucky for us because Elle had wanted to try it out for a while. A funny coincidence is that she ended up going a few weeks before our outing for a friend's birthday! [ Elle: The restaurant was extremely accommodating of a large, loud group with late arrivals and the food was fantastic especially the pan de queso style biscuits in the bread basket - which we did not get a chance to try this time.]

The restaurant is in the heart of Old Montréal and has been beautifully decorated, mixing high end and rustic details. L'Atelier d'Argentine has been opened for over a year, specializing in (obviously!) Argentinian fare. The maître d Alexandre greeted us warmly; he was very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the night.

L'Atelier d'Argentine2 L'Atelier d'Argentine
L'Atelier d'Argentine.

While Elle decided on ordering the hermanito ($11), made up of strawberry, cherry, lime and rum, I decided to skip the apéritif since I am such a lightweight. Alexandre was nice enough to bring me a prosecco to enjoy with the appetizers.


We decided to trust Alexandre and let him pick dishes that he thought best represented the restaurant. We started out with the cuarteto empanadas ($13). Four types of empanadas were included, each in different shape pastry: cheese, hand carved beef, sweet corn, and finally ham and cheese. The homemade pastry was flaky. The beef empanada was very well seasoned while the corn was the most unique filling. Elle's favourite was the combination of ham and cheese.

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Cuarteto empanadas.

The appetizers were paired with Alamos' Torrontés, an Argentinian white wine that was light and fruity, perfect for our next appetizer.


Next, we had two fish appetizers: crudo de corvina ($12) and tiradito de atun ($12). Elle was very happy since she had been eyeing de corvina when we looked at the menu! Both fish preparation were raw, then dressed with lime juice right before serving, unlike ceviche in which the fish is marinated for a longer period of time.

The corvina is a white fish that is popular in South American cuisine. The delicate slices of fish were accompanied by an avocado salad. The tuna slices were slightly seasoned with paprika and topped with greens and tomato. Both dishes were excellent but our clear favourite was the corvina; we loved the combination of the white fish with creamy avocado chunks and the crispy waffle cut chips. As Elle put it, "there's nothing bad about that dish".

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Crudo de corvina and tiradito de atun.

Next, Alexandre brought us quintessential Argentinan food: grilled beef on a cutting board. It was quite a sight to behold! We shared the flank steak - vacio (12 oz. for $19) and the short ribs - asado de tira (14 oz. for $26). The beef was paired with another Argentinian wine, this time Alamos' Malbec from Mendoza. I rarely drink red wine but I had to admit that I actually enjoyed the Malbec.

The beef was served with a butternut squash purée topped with bacon, carrots cooked in butter, as well as chimichurri and criolla sauces. It was hard to not add too much of the tasty chimichurri. While the short ribs were cooked beautifully, the flank steak was a tad overdone, maybe because it sat there while we ate the ribs first. The carrots were cooked to perfection and was definitely our favourite side dish.

Main: grilled short ribs and flank steak.

At this point, we were stuffed! We had one last course to go, which consisted of a sampler of three desserts: queso y dulce ($9), a milk semifreddo and panqueques ($8). The queso y dulce is a goat cheese cake topped with a quince compote and cocoa crumble. I loved the tanginess of the goat cheese and this is the perfect dessert for me, not too sweet! Supposedly, the dulce de leche stuffed crêpe is the most popular dessert; it was rich and sweet, and well counterbalanced by the milk semifreddo, which was deceptively light and airy.


Elle and I had a great dinner at L'Atelier d'Argentine. The service was extremely attentive and the food was delicious. I'm not a wine connoiseur but the staff is there to guide you through an expansive list of more than 130 wines, with a focus on South American wines.

While L'Atelier d'Argentine is probably more of a special dinner destination, it is also launching a 5-à-7 in a few weeks with $5 drinks and a new bar menu. In addition, it offers an extremely great special called Buenos Aires Hours: starter and main for $22.50 after 10:30 pm. That's a great deal to try out excellent Argentinian food.

L'Atelier d'Argentine on Urbanspoon


SuWu ▪ Montréal

3581 St Laurent Street
Montréal, Québec

SuWu newly launched a brunch menu and invited us to try a couple of dishes. Located on Saint-Laurent, which is not known for brunch, it was quiet when we got there at 11 AM (brunch is served between 11 AM and 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday), but not quiet inside. The music was not really my taste at that time of day. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with a just rustic enough cabin look.

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SuWu interiors.

The café allongé (~$3) was served with a shot glass of milk, to which MrDee asked if that was by design or if they had not received creamers yet! I thought it was an original detail. This speaks to Saint-Laurent being better known for drinking than brunching. If you're looking for something spiked, on offer are endless mimosas for $35 and brunch bowls ($30 for 4 people).


Elle went the healthy route and ordered the smoothie of the day, which had cucumber, kiwi and coconut. It was refreshing and a unique combination (~$4-5). You can also order it with alcohol, which makes it a bit less healthy!


MrDee ordered the SuWu BLT ($9), made up of peameal, tomato, lettuce and a fried egg. He seemed to enjoy his BLT; his only comment being that the amount of mayo was a bit excessive. The portion seemed on the small side for the price. The accompanying hashbrown was a solid block of grated potato that was fried to a crisp. Elle thought it was very good but slightly underseasoned.


Elle ordered the egg in a basket ($13), which consisted of a savoury bread pudding with mushrooms, bacon, and an egg in the middle. Unfortunately, as there were so many ingredients, the egg nestled inside was not cooked at all. Elle likes her yolk runny but the egg whites were fully clear coloured. Our waitress was very nice in taking back the dish and making sure the egg came back cooked.

Egg in a basket ($13).

I went all out and ordered the Fried Chicken French Toast ($12). This provides great bang for your buck: three slices of French and three pieces of boneless fried chicken, topped with blueberry sauce. The blueberry sauce was different and there wasn't enough for the French toast, so I asked for some syrup. The fried chicken was definitely a home run! The chicken was moist, very well seasoned with an interesting mix of spices (Elle thought Chinese four spice while it reminded me of Indian spices) and crispy. Very happy with my choice!

Fried Chicken French Toast.

It's hard for us to pass on donuts when they're available so we ordered the mini-donuts ($5) which came with a strawberry jam. The donuts were warm and soft on the inside, a perfect vehicle to scoop some jam. Mini-donuts are definitely worth ordering on the side!


SuWu offers a unique brunch menu in a hip setting. There were a few vegetarian options including a baked egg on avocado and breakfast nachos. They might have to work over a few kinks from their new menu but overall we enjoyed the food. It seems they take reservations which is always a plus when going out during the busy brunch time. The dinner menu also seems fun and affordable. Will have to check it out!

SuWu on Urbanspoon


Satay Brothers ▪ Montréal

138 Avenue Atwater
Montréal, Québec

Elle and I had been wanting to try Satay Brothers for a long while. When we finally got around to visiting, we were disappointed to hear their brick and mortar restaurant had closed. The good news? They had reopened their stall at the Atwater Market.The restaurant is seemingly when it's too cold to eat outside.

There has always been a line when we've visited but it moves relatively quickly. You go up and give your order, find yourself a spot at one of the picnic tables, someone calls out your name and brings you your food. Everyone on staff is very friendly.

Satay Brothers
Satay Brothers.

Elle and I decided to split a few dishes. First, we started with the papaya salad with pork ($6.96). The papaya salad was fresh and the slices of red chili helped kick it up a notch. The pork was good and well seasoned. I love the old school plastic Chinese plates that remind me of my grandmother's dishes.

Satay Brothers - Papaya Salad with Pork
Papaya Salad with Pork.

We also shared a serving of the satay of the day (3 skewers for $6.09). How could you not have the satay when you're eating at Satay Brothers? Served with slices of cucumbers and a peanut sauce, the meat again was very well seasoned and nicely grilled. Elle dreamed about the large vat of peanut sauce that must exist behind the counter; we also spotted the sauce being served with the gado gado. The sauce was very addictive.

Satay Brothers - Satay of the day
Satay of the day.

Finally, we shared a laksa lemak ($7.83), a noodle dish served in a curried broth, fish cakes, crunchy tofu, slices of shrimp, bean sprouts and a spoonful of chili to spice it up. This dish is so flavourful and there are so many elements that work well together. This is a dish that made me come back on a rainy day (which we have been having many lately) when I was looking for something warm and comforting!

Satay Brothers - Laksa lemak
Laksa lemak.

If you're at the Atwater Market or by the Lachine Canal, do stop by Satay Brothers to try out their Singapore fare. They also have a pork belly steamed bun and a vegetarian sandwich. It will be worth your while. It's even worth a detour, just for the laksa lemak!

Satay Brothers on Urbanspoon


Trendspotting: Tribal

Spring has been really iffy around here (we had a snow/hail storm on the weekend!).  So here's to hoping that spring will transition quickly to the season we're really waiting for: summer!

I love adding a bit of tribal to any summer outfit: a wood bead necklace or a batik print.  This season it seems that the tribal trend has gone to shoes.

This pair caught my attention on this blog (also written by two sisters).  They are flat and comfy looking and colourful and also incorporate the B&W trend.

Source: aldoshoes.com via Linda on Pinterest

These ones, from Zara, are also in this category and could be worn immediately and through the summer.  Colourful but somewhat basic.

Source: zara.com via Linda on Pinterest

This pair is really for summer and I love them so much I'm adding them to my wish list.

Source: zara.com via Linda on Pinterest

Another flat pair on the affordable side.

And the last two are for those wanting some height.  Why not wear these to a wedding in an old basic dress.

Source: shopbop.com via Linda on Pinterest

Also in coral here.

And this one in Earth tones would be great  for date night.

Source: ninewest.ca via Linda on Pinterest


Look for less: Check it!

I saw this photo of Miranda Kerr a few weeks ago and was mesmerized by that lovely jacket!  I love B&W for Spring but those vertical stripes everywhere are driving me crazy.  This though, I could do.
Source: mydaily.co.uk via Linda on Pinterest
 So I found a few inspired pieces that I thought were worth sharing.

Source: forever21.com via Linda on Pinterest

Source: zara.com via Linda on Pinterest

In the spirit of a B&W jacket here are a few options that are not checked but just as lovely.

This short number would be great over a springy dress.
Source: zara.com via Linda on Pinterest

And this one is true to the fit of the original jacket, kinda perfectly oversize.


The Look for Less: D'Orsay

Jenni Kayne came out with the most wonderful stylish flat and I want it!

Source: shopbop.com via Linda on Pinterest

And now I just can't seem to stop seeing this simple beautiful silhouette.

3.1 Philip Lim worn by Diane Kruger

Proenza Schouler worn by Kirsten Dunst

I  did see a dead ringer for the Jenni Kayne's at Chinese Laundry in the US for those of you lucky enough!

Zara has a few heeled options that are also beautiful.

via  Zara

via Zara

How about taking advantage of Spring's black and white trend too.

via Zara

Or the metallic trend great to offset pretty pastels.

Jeffrey Campbell via Nordstrom

I find this silouhette classic, romantic (mostly from the name) and sexy.  By definition a d'Orsay shoe is open enough to show the foot's arch but I prefer the heel being completely separate from the front of the shoe.  You may think your foot would slip out but I've had flats in this style that were very comfortable.

What do you think about this style?