Thursday, January 27, 2011


Ok, so I'm not a hundred percent sure, although, I will venture a guess, that Garde-Manger's obscure whole-in-the-wall (no sign!), Old Montreal location is part-owner, celebrity-chef Chuck Hughes's way of holding onto a measure of anonymity - our good friends, Candice & Irvin's text message to let us know that we will spot Garde-Manger by a "pink neon light," couldn't have come at the better time as Kumar and I scaled St-Francois-Xavier in search of the place last night in sub-zero temperatures. Inside, though, is invitingly warm and cozy owing a lot to its modest floor area and design that retains much of the space's original old charm and character.

The reservations that ensure a table at the minimum, a week later (and can go up to a month or longer!), only means that you'll be treated as an esteemed guest. The longish waiting time for the amazing food to arrive at your table on the other hand, is a sure-fire indication that the chefs aren't just churning out plates one after the other, carelessly slapping food onto them. Our friendly waiter took pains to explain the entire menu to us (which includes things like lobster poutine to start, copious amounts of seafood piled up on three-tier platters, bavette and the much-feted deep-fried Mars bar for dessert!) and was attentive to our needs for the rest of the evening but not to the point of smothering.

Needless to say, Garde-Manger has supplanted every single restaurant I've ever been to in its scale city-wide. If you're going to stain your crisp white Boss shirt, do it in metro class by dribbling bisque or carrot butter down it at Garde-Manger! (you can enlist the dry-cleaning services of Bellingham's after!)

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