I know that my last few posts on food have been given much attention to my gourmand ventures in the restaurants of celebrity Québec chef Chuck Hughes.
After exactly a year, I revisited Le Bremner, Hughes’ second and most current fine-dining resto/bar set in a basement locale in the charming district of Old Montreal near the Bonsecours Market and identified by only the name “Restaurant”. Where you’ll find revelry, trendiness, and a hipster-like environment at Garde Manger restaurant, Hughes cleverly created a contrasting effect at Le Bremner, highlighting its rustic, dim, cozy, and intimate characteristics that also reflect the spirit of the food.
Hughes himself was present that night and visibly hard at work in an open portion of the kitchen. I couldn’t help wonder if he had manually worked on our food!
Changes were made to the menu upon my second visit that is now short and simple, always seafood-centric and includes a section of dishes that can be shared with your company.
First let me say that one of the things that stays ingrained in your memory about Bremner are the homemade cocktails and beverages. Do not skip out on this grand savor!! The special cocktail of the day will depend on what’s in season. In my case, the apple cider cocktail mixed with Jameson, ginger, cinnamon, and a slew of other ingredients that made this drink fantastic and a popular order at my large table!
The main dish of cabbage roll presented sushi-style gorged with seasoned pork, scallop, and shrimp was fantastic, heartwarming, and delectable. The crunchiness of the cabbage was further complimented by the soft combination and textures of the pork and seafood within the roll.
The half lobster was another winner accompanied with Québec wild mushrooms and veal sauce. Just like our waitress promised, this sophisticated meal tickled the senses and makes you wish it was a whole lobster instead. And then, of course, came the sweet part. As much as the fried chocolate Mars bar is Garde Manger’s famous dessert, so are the homemade doughnuts at Bremner. This time, the 5 sugar-coated doughnuts were filled with spicy light chocolate, lemon, and blueberry. They can be gobbled in one single bite and warm your heart in a second.
I couldn’t resist choosing the S’mores garnished with velvety chocolate and a mild addition of orange, very sweet to the palate but equally as gratifying. Whether it’s Garde Manger or Bremner, I’m already thinking about my next gourmet experience at either place hoping that I’ll get to catch Chuck on break to express my gratitude.
*Note that reservations are made a month in advance.
Le Bremner restaurant information:
361 St. Paul St. E. (near Bonsecours St.), Old Montreal
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 6 p.m. to closing
Price: Savory dishes $9-$40; desserts $8-$12.
Payment: Cash, Credit Cards