September 19th, 2012
There is something so urban about the ritual of Sunday brunch, and in Montreal, few places do it better than Cartet.
The high-ceiling, open space, New York-style bistro holds long wooden tables where at peak hour you might be elbowing a stranger, while at the entrance, you have a gourmet boutique. The Old Montreal McGill street location attracts crowds of hip, overpaid or food enthusiasts. The place is cool… expensive cool.
I grazed the doors of this place on three occasions, once for lunch and twice for the waiting-line-forming brunch and must say: do the wait. You won’t regret it.
First, because here you have one of the best coffees of the city. Order a bol of café au lait and enjoy every sip of the illy. Then pick a brunch : Santé (if you’re in the mood for the healthiest of food orgasms), Sucré (if you’re like me, and love your mornings extra sweet) or Des Cantons (if you’re looking for something more consistent). All are served with amuse-bouche, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit and brewed coffee. Add a mimosa and you’re on your way to morning seventh heaven.
Secondly, because when the food arrives, you see just how Cartet brings it to another level. Your breakfast granola will be ginger organic granola and it will come with cashews, creamy light yoghurt and blueberries. Your French toast will be with honey, hazelnuts and raisins, generously topped with blueberries and apple butter. You will have citrus fruit zest on your crepes and potatoes will be roasted in duck fat and salted herbs (herbes du bas du fleuve to be exact). And the list goes on.
And while the menu and atmosphese could easily slide into snobbish, it eschews to do so. The waiters are sweet, the open space filled with light makes it spacious and the flowers on the tables with the mimosas cheer you up. I wouldn’t insist on you trying their lunches, but the star of the eatery – the week-end brunch – deserves at least one visit, with girlfriends and mimosas, your mother or your man.
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