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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Le Cartet Restaurant Review


*Sorry I’ve been a bit scarce lately, The Husband was really sick for the past two weeks and I’ve been playing nursemaid and doing the housework. But happily he is back on the mend so I should be back to my regular blogging frequency. :)

This past Saturday I went out with my friend Roxy and we ended up going to Le Cartet for brunch in Old Montreal. The place is surprisingly big and bright and they have a small section of food made to take out and some gourmet products.

When we arrived we waited around 5 minutes which wasn’t bad for a Saturday at 11 am. I had tried to call ahead to try make reservations but they don’t take them, ditto for a few other places I tried to call for brunch.


I’m a sucker for small details so I though that it was cute that the water came in a glass bottle. What can I say, when it comes to glassware I am easily impressed.

While their menu has a la carte items like French toast the highlight is a large set price meal with includes drinks and a “starter”, which was what we both ended up ordering.


To being we were served a square of bread pudding each. I really can’t say that I am a connoisseur of bread pudding but Roxy said it was good. It was cold which I found off putting but it wasn’t too sweet which was nice since I don’t like a sugar rush at breakfast.


The set price meal comes with freshly squeezed orange juice which was so good. The concept of juicing is sort of moot in Montreal unless you want to spend 6 dollars on fruit for one glass. Alas, fruit, especially citrus is very expensive here for the vast majority of the year. One time in the middle of winter I bought a small bag of cherries for which I ended up paying 13 bucks. Trust me, I almost choked after watching the cashier scan it through and seeing the price.


The meal also included a cup of Illy coffee. I had always read that Illy coffee is amazing but I found that it was just ok. It almost tasted like they had not used the right proportion of coffee grounds to water though. It took 15 minutes for us to get served coffee which did not impress me. In general we had a hard time flagging down the waiter for service even though we were in a table near the front, close to the kitchen counter.



I ended up ordering the “Le Cartet” brunch which included potatoes, ham, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, toast, butter, jam and some fresh fruit.

The savoury part of my meal was served in a super hot mini cast iron pan which was nice since eggs can cool down very quickly and the pan kept kept my meal nice and warm.

Roxy ordered the brunch “L’Atlantique” which came with a salmon croquette with an herbed yogurt sauce, a small salad, some fresh fruit, a dried fig, two kinds of cheese, a croissant filled with ham and an egg. Check out the photo that she took on the first try. My friend Roxy has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Montreal restaurants, maybe one of these days I’ll talk her into becoming a food blogger. Since I thought my meal had too much meat and she thought that hers had too little we ended up swapping items so we each had a taste of everything. Here are my notes on the different items:

-The eggs were ok, nothing special. I like mine either poached or cooked low and slow if scrambled. You could tell that these were cooked rather quickly on high heat.

-The meats were all good quality and cooked really well. The bacon in particular was nice and crispy.

-The beans tasted homemade since they didn’t have that awful cloying taste of canned beans and they did a good job of cutting the richness of the meat in my meal.

-The potatoes could have been more crispy but I suppose breakfast potatoes are always on the soft side.

-The bread was ok, but it was completely cold when it came to the table.

-The fruit was good quality considering that none of it was in season. It was a slice of kiwi, a slice of cantaloupe, a strawberry and some pineapple. I can’t eat pineapple or kiwi so unfortunately half of the fruit went to waste.

-The croissant was buttery and flaky and a perfect pairing with the ham. I had some of the cheese and it was nice an sharp.

-I really liked the salmon croquette. Roxy is not a fish person so I ended up with most of it and happily drenched it with the yogurt sauce. I could taste potatoes in it as well. It was breaded but didn’t taste deep fried or greasy.

All in all the food was tasty and the ingredients were of good quality. We both paid around 18 dollars with tax and tip which is a pretty decent price considering that it includes coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. The service really could be improved since it shouldn’t take 15 minutes to get a cup of coffee at a brunch place. Overall I was happy though and will probably go back eventually.

I’ll leave you guys with some pictures that I took while we were walking around Old Montreal.

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