3911 Saint Jacques (Winter location), Montreal, QC H3J 2Z6
Why go? Don’t ask. Just go. Home cooking Asian style. Feel the culinary love.
I so desperately want to be one of the guys. Alex Winnicki and Mat Winnicki, the life forces behind this restaurant, to me seem like the coolest kids on the block. Although I would be of no help to them in the kitchen as I can barely fry an egg (yes the daughter of a chef is completely incompetent with anything above the level of a toaster). I would fit right in because I am fairly certain we share mutual love and respect for home cooking. Their Singaporean soul is well tasted in their Southeast Asian food restaurant and Atwater food stand. I had never heard of the Malay Peninsula until discovery of these bros specialties and now I’m dying to check it out. And, to boot: What woman wouldn’t appreciate that the impetus for their venture was their mother’s recipes and resources? Cue “awe” sound now.
Located literally off the beaten path of the main Montreal area, do not be fooled by this small venue because it packs a big flavorful punch. Looking more like a prep kitchen you’ve barged into (which technically it is during the summer months), it can fit fewer than 30 people, if even. There are a couple of round tables for two, but mostly its communal seating with mix-and-match chairs. I do dig the mix of red painted walls and brick. Despite its humble appearance and lack of space, those who have already eaten here can agree with me that they’d be willing to sit on someone’s lap if it meant they’d get one of their pork buns… I’m usually quite particular about ambiance I’m not going to lie, but the tight space felt comforting in that I felt like I was in someone’s home. This feeling was further amplified by the food. I feel like since I popped my cherry to their culinary experience, I often catch myself daydreaming about when I go next. I imagine my next takeout order with them and I even fantasize about checking them out at their Atwater location when summer finally decides to grace us with its presence. As my title for this dish suggests, they really hit the spot.
I should mention how they make a point of using local produce, get their meat from Boucherie de Tours, and source their tofu from Horium, an organic tofu factory in the RCA Victor building. I’m always telling people that the mark of a good restaurant is the quality of their products. Just the mere mention of their restaurant now has me salivating for this very reason.
Warning: This is a cash only restaurant, so be prepared.
If I could, I would pour myself a glass of this every day after work. It’s so refreshing and light, but the ginger gives it a bit of attitude. It also came with an umbrella. It’s the simple things in life sometimes, eh?
The fruit might be out of season, but the dish was certainly not. I’m not typically one to order salads even as a starter, but this was such a nice appetizer. Considering it still feels like the dead of winter in spring here in Montreal, this dish gave me hope for the future. Or at least it awakened my summer taste buds. I loved the crunch and slight spicy bite of it. It was really fresh and light.
The reason I will continue to go back every few weeks. Can I sign my soul over to a menu item? Top 10 Foods to have before you die kind of thing. Seriously, no words can truly describe the tenderness of the pork coupled with the soft, sweet bun. In my mind, I envision myself kind of like a squirrel packing as many as I can into my mouth. Seriously, the combo of crunchy cucumber paired with dark, sweet-salty hoisin sauce and a bit of cilantro and the tender pork in the pillowy buns was more than heavenly. They make me go nuts!
This is an Indonesian dish made by simmering beef for hours in coconut milk and spices until the liquid has reduced. I read somewhere that it is traditionally served at ceremonial occasions and to honor guests. Well, let me tell you my stomach felt like it was getting the royal treatment. I’m a big fan of dishes that also come with rice. Combining it with the sauce and letting the flavors become more pronounced is more than gratifying.
Meaning “fried noodles”, this dish is made with thin yellow noodles fried in cooking oil with garlic, onion or shallots, fried prawn, chicken, or beef, sliced bakso (meatballs), chili, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, egg, and acar (pickles). The more the better right? If I lived anywhere close to here, I’m pretty sure I would be at their doorstep everyday to order this for lunch. Definitely would be worth going over the scale limit for this one. Step aside pad thai, me I want to gorge on goreng! If you could see me now, you’d see me using all the positive Italian hand gestures known to man. Now that’s true enthusiasm.