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Brunch

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La Maison Kam Fung
1111 rue Saint-Urbain
Montréal, Québec H2Z 1Y6
(514) 878-2888
www.restaurantlamaisonkamfung.com

It’s been a bit of an ethnic food extravaganza here in Montréal as after stopping by Bombay Mahal, I went for a Sunday dim sum brunch in Chinatown. My friend and acquaintances included those who were new to the arena of dim sum and also not very big eaters of Asian food in general. So bringing an older European couple to a Sunday brunch nary of waffles and eggs was a gamble, but I think the meal went over well and we found new fans of Chinese breakfast.

Dim sum isn’t a big weekend brunch go-to here in Montréal as it was as I was growing up in Toronto. As a child my family, like many other Asian families, would arrange these Sunday meals with other family friends at our favourite spots, first hitting downtown restaurants but later heading out to the suburbs. (As it happens, with time the Hong Kong immigrants settled in places like Markham, leaving much of downtown Toronto Chinatown in the hands of mainland Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.) Our party would number about twelve in total — three families of four — and like a hoard of Asian bus tour bangers, we would convene on the chosen spot and feed on a very heavy breakfast.

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There are a few cute restaurants in the Plateau neighbourhood here in Montréal that are tucked away on a residential street called rue Gilford. I live in the neighbourhood so I have frequently walked past the five or so restaurants that run on the street between rue St. Denis to the west and rue Papineau to the east. I always wanted to try out the neighbourhood spots and had the opportunity to do so when I had a celebratory dinner at La Raclette a few months back. Since then, I heard La Raclette now serves brunch so we had to pop in to try their morning menu and then we made a point of trying the restaurant’s neighbours along the street. In addition to La Raclette, we dropped by Maison Publique and Le Chien Fumant to try out the different types of brunch offerings from the three unique establishments.

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One of the benefits of living in Montréal is the quality of bread. Seriously, this is a benefit. If you grew up munching on packaged sliced white bread from one of the big bread companies selling at your local supermarket, the chances are that you may be accustomed to consuming sub par bread. But if you grew up in Montréal, your supermarket is stocked with excellent bread. Not to mention that each neighbourhood is dotted with boulangeries. With the choice of amazing and freshly baked bread, there is no excuse for buying mediocre products.

I recognize that I am a minority in that I grew up eating excellent bread in Canada, outside of Québec. During my early childhood, my mother baked our bread from scratch and without a bread machine. She would make the dough, let it rise, knead it, let it rise, knead again, before popping it in the oven and letting the perfume of the baking dough encompass our tiny apartment. Later, my father sought out quality baked goods and made weekly drop-ins to the Portuguese bakery in our neighbourhood. He would bring home European baked desserts and buns still hot from the oven in a large paper bag. I loved consuming freshly baked bread while it was still warm.

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Slice, oiled, and salted baguette can be made into croutons or crunchy toasts.

Now that I live in Montréal, I am spoiled with amazing bread. I drop by my chain supermarket and they stock various baked goods from local bakeries such as Premiere Moisson which, despite being a chain, produces amazing baguettes, ciabattas, focaccias, and other baked goods. But people here mostly purchase baguettes, and you will see many pedestrians, especially before dinner time, walking around with a baguette perched in their sack. Yes, this is like how some people stereotype the French except here you will be lucky if you see someone wearing a striped shirt and beret while holding on to their baguette.

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Le Cartet
106 McGill St. (north of rue Marguerite d’Youville)
Montréal, QC H2Y 2E5
(514) 871-8887
www.lecartet.com

Whenever I have family and friends visit me here in Montréal I take them to Le Cartet. The restaurant is located in The Old Port neighbourhood of Montréal where many of the streets are cobblestone, and horse-drawn carriages provide rides for tourists. The area is dotted with upscale and well loved restaurants, and Le Cartet remains my favourite placed for a more refined brunch.

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Le Cartet’s menu is quite extensive for brunch at a non-chain restaurant. During our recent visit, we had the Brunch Toscan and the Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese (Brouillé Fromage de Chèvre); keep in mind that, although the online menu is in French only, the restaurant does hand out English menus as well. The Brunch Toscan comes with poached eggs on top of English muffins with ham, spinach, and Mornay sauce. It is accompanied by a side of roasted potatoes with duck fat and herbs, fresh fruit, and a glass of freshly pressed orange juice. My scrambled eggs comes atop of grilled bread, and also sides of the roasted potatoes and fresh fruit. Coffee is comes free with the Brunch Toscan and is limitless. Le Cartet serves illy coffee for illy coffee fans out there.

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La Société
The Colonnade
131 Bloor Street West
Unit 211
Toronto, ON M5S 1R1
(416) 551-9929
http://www.lasociete.ca

Last weekend as I was making plans to meet up with some friends for brunch, it was suggested that we go to La Société in Yorkville. I like to keep up with the going ons in my hometown so I had heard about this French bistro in the former space of an average quality dim sum restaurant. I like trying new restaurants so as stuffy La Société seemed to me, I agreed to have Sunday brunch in the six months old bistro.

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