The creation of the Quartier des Spectacles in the heart of Downtown Montreal not only allowed for artists and performers to have a space designed for them finally but also gave the opportunity for smart entrepreneurs to flourish their restaurant business among foodie locals and tourists. And no other than Carlos Ferreira and Normand Laprise could have done better!
At first sight, both F Bar and Brasserie T are like twins! And actually, they look more like modern, technological entertaining kind of building... restaurant is not the first thing that comes to mind. Located closely one to another and alongside the wall of the Musee d'art Contemporain. When you look more closely, you see their names and then some tables and bar in them. The way these restaurants are placed is very well thought; the customers eating on the terrace can have a multi-sensorial experience - tasting the burst of flavors, hearing the beats of the performers, seeing the colorful and exciting show.
Carlos Ferreira is particularly known for the Ferreira Group which includes the Ferreira Café, the Café Vasco de Gama and its newborn F Bar! Ferreira's Portuguese roots shine through his dishes, ranging from tender and mouthwatering fish and seafood to heartwarming traditional Mediterranean flavors.
Ferreira's F Bar is known as the little brother of Ferreira Café, offering a more laid back yet elegant sitting surrounded with blue and white ceramic tiles. The chef Gilles Herzog brillantly designed a menu follows the high standard of his peers. We were fortunate enough to be get a table on the terrace giving us a chance to savor the latin rhythms during the Jazz fest this summer. We are offered with an extensive wine list but we decided to have our waiter choose a Portuguese wine for us: The Casa de Logo which is a mix of Chardonnay and Portuguese grape varieties.
We started off with the beef tartare 'au couteau' with aragula salad. 'Au Couteau' is a method of preparing tartare, instead of using ground meat, it is calling for a high quality piece which is then cut to the desired cube size. Seasoned heavily with dijon mustard, the meat was fresh and the size of the pieces were ideal for this type of preparation but the taste was definitely overshadowed by the sauce and the green onions and shallots. They were very generous on the portion of meat but not so much on the bread that comes with it.
Then, we saw the waiter approaching with two little casseroles... I must say, it adds up the excitement to the experience! I ordered the halibut and am I glad that i did! This fish is very low in fat and an inexperienced cook may easily just create a disaster. Here, it is served with a mixture of black raisin, parsley and almonds all soaked in a sumptuous brown butter and cherry sauce. I was reluctant at first because I am not a fan of adding raisins in my savoury dishes but here! Wooooo!!! They were surprisingly juicy and added just enough tart to balance out the richness of the sauce. And the almonds' buttery note just complemented so well the dish while adding crunch. Without saying, the fish was cooked to perfection, extremely tender and its delicate flavor was accentuated by the great choice of condiments. Hats to the chef!
My friend fell for the ''Plancha'' salmon. This technique uses indirect heating and allows the meat to cook on a dry plate in its own juice without additional fats. Ferreira combined the salmon with a creamy and rich goat cheese, spinach and baby potatoes. The addition of ripe grape tomatoes definitely brought the whole dish together. And I was glad that the cheese was more of an enhancer as a whole since goat cheese can easily be too overpowering.
The desert was completely out of this world! Consisting of coconut rice pudding and a passion fruit and basil sherbet along with croutons of cookies and cubes of pineapple and mango, this dish definitely reopened our appetite! The rice pudding was so creamy yet so light and the layering of different textures just started a wild party in our mouth! The basil was subtle in the sherbet but it did added a certain complexity to the iced treat. It was so so so so good!
The evening was absolutely perfect, Mother Nature was cooperative, the table by the scene absolutely breathtaking and dancing on our seats while satisfying our palate couldn't have been more satisfying. However, I will have to go back during low season to evaluate how the ambiance will change ... To be followed... Keep an eye for my next post on Brasserie T!
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