Brunching usually occurs on weekends, especially sunday, from 9AM to 3PM. It it the perfect occasion for a girly get-together or a fun and relaxing date or even a family activity. Consisting of mostly breakfast on the menu, some restaurants go beyond and offers creative dishes that mixes sweet and savoury while keeping in mind the concept of brunching.
Thus, I've found a new partner in crime to investigate further. Also a passionate foodie, my friend had traveled to numerous places and tried the weirdest things! He suggested this restaurant to me since one of his friends work there. Le Chien Fumant, just by the name, I can only imagine the food they serve.... mmmmmmmmm!
The restaurant is located on the Plateau Mont-Royal carefully hidden on De Lanaudière street. The place is super cozy and the kitchen is opened to everyone. I love the concept that the customer can see, smell and hear what happens behind the scene.
It turns out that every last sunday of the month, there is a theme to the Brunch. On the day that we went, spooky Halloween, it was Dim Sum. Dim Sum is the Chinese kind of Brunch. Every weekend, Chinese will gather around a big round table and order small plates from the carts that the waitresses push around the restaurant. Everyone share and eat from the same dishes and it is great to try different things at the same time! Going from dumplings, to vegetarian dishes to buns, the choice can easily satisfy anyone.
To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed that it was Dim Sum day since I was really expecting typical Quebecer dishes. I am fairly critical when it comes to Asian food, especially when it is not made by Asians. My mom makes the best asian food there is! (I know, moms are always the best cooks!) But I remain objective here, who knows? I can be pleasantly surprised.
The menu is written on a blackboard. We decided to chose a variety of items to test everything out. While waiting for our plates to come in, I ordered a soft drink and it came with a stainless steel straw. I really found it interesting, it kept my drink cold during the entire meal.
We started off with Pekin Roast Duck, priced at 12$, which is very reasonable given restaurants usually charge 30$. In traditional restaurants, Pekin Duck is a delicacy as it takes numerous exhaustive hours to achieve perfection. We mostly crave for the thin and crispy skin and it's served with a little bit of meat, pancakes, green onions and hoisin sauce. The version of Chien Fumant featured a duck leg with two pancakes, coriander, bean sprouts, green onions, hoisin sauce and chili. The duck unfortunately lacked the crispiness of the authentic thing and the meat was somehow dry. I appreciated the effort of the homemade pancakes which is quite a challenge as it requires it to be light, thin and fluffy. Their pancakes' formula surprisingly tasted very good but were too thick.
We also ordered some pot stickers as well as steamed dumplings. Pot stickers are basically dumplings that are cooked on a skillet to provide the desired sticky and crisp texture of the dough. The mixture in the pot stickers missed flavors and were bland. The steamed dumplings however had more punch. My friend even described the aroma as that of black licorice. The shrimp dumplings had very strong 'fishy' notes though.
The Lap Cheong 'en croute' really intrigued me. Lap Cheong is a chinese dried sausage that has some sweet notes to it. Usually cut in slices and fried on a skillet until the skin is brown and delivers a sweet and meaty aroma, Lap Cheong are often added to fried rice. Here, they've wrapped the sausage with a caramelized bun. The bun by itself was fluffy and had the right amount of yeasty flavor to it. It was a also visually appealing. However, paired with the sausage, the combination created a heavy result. It would have needed a fresh maybe picked vegetables to balance it out.
We also chose the pig ears salad. Personally, I did like it a lot. The pig ears were perfectly cooked and crunchy. The zucchinis, green onions and coriander with the drizzle of an acidic dressing complemented well the flavor of the pork. We would have liked a little bit more dressing to enhance the overall dish though.
Finally, the house had the courtesy to offer us BBQ pork buns. They were wrapped in the same pancakes as the Roasted Pekin Duck dish. The pork tasted exactly the like the BBQ pork I would buy in Chinatown and had the crispy roasted bits I love on the sides :) But their choice of garnishing was not ideal as the sourness of the pickled vegetable overpowered the sweet and delicate BBQ sauce.
Again, I might sound harsh in this review but I am Chinese after all, what do you expect? The customers around us seemed very much satisfied with their meal. I must say I will return to Chien Fumant without a doubt as their regular menu offers more than interesting choices! They even have a mug made out of bacon and filled with gravy! I mean come on! Who wouldn't be curious about it? And their take on meat is the dream to every carnivore out there! And I am positive that their regular brunch must be tasty enough to figure on the Montreal Brunch and Breakfast Reviews website.
Click here for a review on their regular menu :)
Le Chien Fumant
4710, rue de Lanaudière