Having explored western Canada, I think of bacon, wild game meat, kale, salmon and king crab as the usual ingredients in food. The most appealing Canadian dishes to me would probably be poutines. But my dinner at Bouillon Bilk gave me a renewed liking towards Canadian cuisine, and perhaps brought fusion to a new level. The restaurant is located in the Quartier des Spectacles, along the Boulevard Saint-Laurent and walking distance from the Saint-Laurent metro station.
I had made a reservation at the restaurant through the Open Table app, and on arrival I was greeted by the receptionist with an offering for my coat to be hung. I was then directed to one of the bar tables in this open layout restaurant. The decor is clean and simple, with no frivolities, and this goes down to the design and layout of the menu. All appetizers, entrees and desserts are listed in a single page and that means a limited selection. On top of that, the waitress also mentioned a special amuse bouche selection for the day, a daily appetizer and an entree specials.
After taking my orders, meal service began with a plate of bread served with salt and butter.
This was followed with the special amuse bouche that I ordered. It was a marinated eel in dash broth with green onions and mushrooms. The eel was bite-sized and the broth was refreshing and tasty. I would consider this dish somewhat like one served in the middle of a kaiseki meal in Japan. So having that level of complexity in a Canadian restaurant showed the way forward.
Having ordered, the small amuse bouche, I skipped the appetizer and went straight to the main course. And I ordered a cappelletti pasta dish. The fillings of the cappelletti was parsnip with a good serving of lobster pieces that was braised. Lobster bisque forms the base of the dish giving it a rich savoury flavour. Meanwhile the addition of chestnuts, bacon bits and clementine oranges was what gave the dish a very complex flavour and texture. Every bite was just like a pleasant blend of sweet, tangy and savoury flavours. This is definitely a very enjoyable dish, so much so that I felt wanting for more, and that is not usually the case since I do not have a large appetite for main courses in general.
Since the food portions were slightly less than what one could expect in North American restaurants, I still had room for dessert. I ordered the brioche, which was basically a simple piece of toast glorified by the additions of a chocolate ganache, sliced grapes, peanuts and shavings of foie gras littered over it. Usually foie gras is not an ingredient found in desserts but this one dish showed me otherwise. It made for the best dessert I had in the whole of 2014. and I would just come back to the restaurant to order this dish again. Like the main course, the addition of fruits (in this case grapes) gave the dessert a pleasant finish. The acidity in the grapes pairs well with the smooth rich texture of the chocolate and the fats of the foie gras. While the peanut gave the crunch to the whole dessert. Perfect and delightful!
I also appreciated the fast service in this restaurant and the dishes were served quickly but leaving enough time for me to enjoy my dinner. The restaurant also has free wi-fi which makes the waiting more enjoyable and while I wouldn’t call it the most romantic spot, the place serves really good food that I think your date would enjoy the food anyway! The open concept also meant it was easy for groups as the tables can be re-arranged easily.
From the service, I would not say it is fine dining since I only experienced the bar service but the food is certainly up there with some of the best restaurants in the country. I would even rate it as my best dining experience in Canada. From the skilled way in which a variety of ingredients was presented and used in their dishes, it created new flavours and textures in simple dishes and made them outstanding. Because of that, I highly recommend a meal at this restaurant!