Parma Cafe at Rue de la Gauchetière O. (Montréal, Canada)

Parmacafe is a cute Italian snack bar and Pret-A-Manger named after the quaint town of Parma that serves authentic Italian food that will knock your socks off. It is the original home of Parmigiano cheese, prosciutto, cured meats and balsamic vinegar. Now, Parmacafe has a branch in the Montreal’s downtown core.

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Open from 7AM until 10PM during the week and 9AM until 10PM on weekends, Parmacafe is always there for you. This cafe is open seven days a week, perfect for satisfying your Italian cravings. It is the ultimate comfort food place and the decor is neat.

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Amongst all the baked goods here, my favourite is the Nutella Horn Pastries. The Cannolis are great too.

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The coffee is delicious too!

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The food? The portions are huge so come hungry. The arancini is my favourite in town and that stood out the most to me. The sandwiches are also up there.

All in all, Parmacafe is rad for snacks and coffee. It is a great place for quick office lunches and for a slow cup of coffee when it’s not busy. It isn’t one where you would go to impress someone but somewhere you would take someone you are already comfortable with. I would certainly return for the coffee. Food wise, it is the place for you if you’re super hungry or love carbs.

Cheers,

N

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Expected Wallet Damage: $$

Contact: +1 514 543 6002

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 7:30 – 21:30, Sat & Sun 9:00 – 21:30

Perfect For: Office Lunches, Coffee Dates

Where: 505 Rue de la Gauchetière O. Montreal, QC, H2Z 1Z5

Mayfair (Montréal, Canada): Not Just Another Cocktail Affair

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Mayfair (Montréal, Canada)

The first time I went to Mayfair was in my second year of university here in Montréal. My initial thought was that it was a speakeasy but people were dancing so I thought it was just a club because I only went there to dance. However, I have come to learn that it is also a cocktail bar, an alcoholic tea lounge and a restaurant.

Ask anyone who loves cocktails and nightlife in Montréal and they will tell you to go to Mayfair. It is just something that you have to strike off your Montréal bucket list. It has a cool Victorian-era vibe that would be perfect for the modern-day Cinderella.  It even has great music, which most bars lack.

The venue looks completely different in the daylight. It looked less of a speakeasy and more of a place where you could have dinner and light conversations with a significant other or a best friend. We started off the evening with cocktails.

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Nuit D’Eden ($14)

The Nuit D’Eden was something the manager recommended. I loved the fizzyness of the Aperol. This cocktail was refreshing and had hints of nuts and fruits because of the almond syrup and grapefruit flavour.

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Black Dahlia ($14)

The Black Dahlia was light and fruity too. It had hints of fresh apple juice and maple syrup. It looked really pretty as well and it is definitely a cocktail you want to take a picture of and with!

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Saffron Sour ($14)

And last but not least we had the Saffron Sour which had hints of passionfruit. It isn’t like any whiskey sour you’ve ever tasted before.

Then we got cracking on our dinner. We were greeted by a platter of delicious-looking salads. The presentation was amazing.

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Salad Platter

This was a salad platter to try. Not all of them made it to the new menu. Our favourite was unanimous. It was the cauliflower.

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Cauliflower Salad

We loved every bite we had of it – the cauliflower was crunchy and the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds was a perfect combination.

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Salade de Bruxelles / Brussel Salad ($9)

This is our second favourite and it did make it to the menu. This brussel salad had oyster mushrooms and was showered in a generous amount of Parmesan, vinaigrette and topped with a quail egg which we loved.

It had a slight sour taste which really woke your taste buds in time for the main courses.

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Criss-cross Fries
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Sliders au Poulet Croustillant / Fried Chicken Sliders ($11)

After, we had the Sliders au Poulet Croustillant. They were so delicious. The chicken is crispy and although they claim it to be spicy, I didn’t find it spicy at all.

The mayonnaise was light and you could taste the freshness of the vegetable. The criss-cross fries that accompanied it was also warm and crunchy.

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Gravlax de Saumon ($10)

Then, we had a palate cleanser to continue the night. The Salmon Gravlax was beautifully presented but could have been less salty. Nonetheless, the tzatziki softened the saltiness. The yogurt-like texture also added a Greek twist to this Nordic dish.

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Bavette de Boeuf / Beef Flank ($17)

We kept going with the Bavette de Boeuf. This flank beef is cut from the abdominal muscles or lower chest. The meat was marinated with chimichurri sauce  that could have been less salty too but gave a good jalapeño kick. Other than that, the beef was quite tender.

Surprisingly, I found myself more fond of the mashed potatoes. It was buttery and smooth. It certainly made the dish.

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Pâtes Fraîches Maison / House Pasta ($12)

We were a little disappointed with the Gravlax and the Bavette but the House Pasta set Mayfair back on track. The cavatelli was al dente. The mozzarella was excellent. Although this dish won’t remind you of a nonna’s cooking, it is the ultimate modern-day comfort food. Served with bread, the House Pasta is guaranteed to fill your belly up.

That was our last main course and we moved on to dessert.

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Brownie ($9)

The desserts are really pretty and the brownie was no exception. This deconstructed brownie was served with strawberries, basil and some mousse.

Although it looked really pretty, the brownie was not as warm as we hoped. It didn’t stand out as much as we hoped because damn, look at how pretty it is!

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Crémeux aux Argumes / Cream with Fruits ($9)

And finally, we had the Crémeux which was also deconstructed. The random blobs of meringue was delicious. Beet powder that was sprinkled over it was very interesting too. We preferred the Crémeux over the Brownie.

To end the meal we had another round of cocktails!

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Goji Kiss ($14)

The Goji Kiss was a great cocktail to have at the end. It is sweet but calming because of the Chai tea added to it.

And to cap it all off, we had Noble Intentions!

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Noble Intentions ($14)

Noble Intentions was another calming cocktail. The subtle taste of hibiscus and pomegranate was refreshing. We were glad we ended the meal on this note.

Generally, I love the vibe at Mayfair and I’ve been to Mayfair more than one occasion before this collaboration. I would definitely come back for the drinks because it is certainly one of the best bars and probably the only alcoholic Victorian tea lounge in Montréal. I love how English it looks.

As for the food, I’d come back for the pasta or a salad if I am ever getting a drink before 9pm. There is definitely room to improve. The drinks were certainly superior. They are innovative and keeps you excited. Service is also great and friendly. Staff are very alert.

Cheers,

N

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Expected Wallet Damage: $$$

Contact: 514 647-4005 or reserve online through their website or OpenTable

Opening Hours: Closed on Sundays, Tues – Wed 7PM – 12AM, Thurs – Sat 7PM – 3AM.

Perfect For: Birthdays, Dates, Girls’ Night Out, Saturdays with the Boys, Group Outings, Happy Hour

Where: 451 Rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2H2

Café Melbourne (Montréal, Canada): Up All Morning to Get Lucky or… Brunch

Café Melbourne is a Montréal-based café inspired by the café and brunch culture of Melbourne, Australia. My dad grew up in Australia and I still go back there every year to visit my sister. I can confirm that the brunch scene there is miles ahead of the world and I am so happy Café Melbourne is bringing that to Canada.

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Café Melbourne, Montréal, Canada.

I have been to café Melbourne on a number of occasions for their flat whites because we all know that the Aussies do it best. I also come for the posters screaming dry sarcasm that anyone who has grown up British or Australian know very well (my oh my do I love witty comebacks).

Nonetheless, this was my first time trying their brunch and after seeing it over and over on Instagram, not only was I excited but I had very high expectations because everything looked so delicious.

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Tumeric Latte ($5.00)

We started off with the Tumeric Latte that my friend Karen had chosen. This was such a common sight in Sydney when I was there in January. Tumeric is really great for your body. It has a lot of anti-inflammatory benefits.

This latte in particular was very creamy, as a tumeric latte should be. The tumeric taste is really strong though! You’ve been warned!

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Lucky Charms Hot Chocolate ($6.00)

I had the Lucky Charms Hot Chocolate instead. This was all over Instagram and it looked somewhat nostalgic – brings me back to when I was 8 or so. I expected it to be super sweet but fortunately it wasn’t diabetically sweet. It was balanced and hot – perfect for a cold Spring day.

Then came our brunch! The moment we were waiting for 😉

The service was quick and the dishes came out perhaps 5-10 minutes after we had sat down.

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The Jungle Bird ($21.00)

We had the Jungle Bird which is only available for a limited amount of time. We found out that the meat is fresh from Grinder at Griffintown and we instantly knew we were going to have a good time.

This breakfast burger was very filling. The meat was perfectly juicy, firm and resembled the amazing beef we have in Australia too. We loved the touch of pineapple and hint of blackberry jam to balance the savoury. The brioche also melts in your mouth.

The only critique we could give were the sweet potato tater tots. We loved that it was sweet potato but we wished it could have been crispier!

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Toastie ($16.00)

Then we dug into the Toastie, as recommended by the team because it is greasy, cheesy… how can you go wrong with that, right?

And true enough, we loved it. The bread, once again, was crunchy yet soft and was filled with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese, chicken and… curry! The curry melted my heart. The fried egg flowed with yolk which made our mouth water and last but not least, the figs went hand in hand with this star too.

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Donuts from Leche Desserts

For dessert we had the much talked about donuts from Leche Desserts and oh my god, they were amazing!

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Brunch Spread @ Café Melbourne

We were impressed by the brunch here and I am excited for what is to come. The menu changes from time to time but the Smashed Avocado ($17.00) is an Australian classic. It is here all the time. It is definitely something you should try because their representation of an avo toast in Australia is pretty accurate.

Café Melbourne is definitely one of my top brunch places in Montreal now. You have to drop by this gem in le plateau, especially if you are Australian. This place has got our native tongue written all over it and I love it. The service is also fast, friendly, impeccable and damn, if you’ve never tried a flat white in your life, let it be Café Melbourne that serves you your first one!

This place is not only amazing for brunch in the weekends but also great for studying over coffee in the week days.

Until next time!

N

Facebook | Instagram

Expected Wallet Damage: $$-$$$

Contact: no reservations! they are super responsive on Facebook/Instagram too

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 9AM – 5PM, Brunch on the weekend 10AM – they run out of food

Perfect For: Birthdays, Brunch Dates, Sundays, Studying (on the week days), Conversations over Coffee

Where: 4615 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2T 1R2

Kozu (Montréal, Canada): Yuzu Pleased [CLOSED]

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Kozu (Montréal, Canada) Taken from: Kozu

Kozu is a trendy izakaya-styled cocktail bar located in Le Plateau. The interior is sleek, clean and dim and the clientele is mostly working adults.

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Kozu (Montréal, Canada) Taken from: Kozu

I took notice of Kozu through Instagram while I was away on exchange in Japan. The one cocktail that caught my eye was Malacca Sour which was named after one of my favourite places to visit in Malaysia. The kitchen is also led by chef Olivier Vigneault, chef of one of my favourite Montreal restaurants – Jatoba. Yes, he captains two ships now.

It was one of the top places I had on my list to try when I come back to Montréal. And try, I did.

I decided to celebrate my birthday here.

We started the night off with cocktails. In pure-Nicole way (I LOVE cocktails).

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Kung Fu Panda ($13)

The Kung Fu Panda was picked by my best friend Gabrielle. It had lime juice, Havana Rhum, Apple Brandy and Cinnamon and Anise Syrup. It was topped off with some egg white. This cocktail was fairly balanced and I liked the taste of Apple Brandy.

Malacca Sour ($15)

The Malacca Sour, as I said, was something I needed to try. Needed to see if there was any Malaysian ingredients. Sadly, there wasn’t any pandan nor were any of its ingredients Malaysian.

The Malacca Sour had lime, Glenmorangie Scotch, Falernum Five Spices (a combination of lime, rum, cloves, almonds and ginger). This was definitely the strongest of cocktails but still remains sweet. The blue flower made the presentation very beautiful too.

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Yuzu Please ($15)

Last but not least, we had the Yuzu Please which was made with Belverdere Vodka sake, shiso mint and yuzu. We had high expectations for this one.

Overall, the Yuzu Please was our favourite of the night. It was light, pleasant but could have had more yuzu flavour especially for me, since I just came back from Japan.

They also serve liquors imported from Japan such as Suntory Toki (Whiskey) and sakes. Singha beer can also be found here.

After that, we began our dinner.

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Chicken Dim Sum ($10)

The Chicken Dim Sum were served warm with dark soy sauce. The dumplings were flavourful but small. They are bite sized. Everything here is, like izakayas in Japan.

Duck Roll ($15)

Then, the duck rolls arrived with hoisin sauce. It was refreshing and light. The rice roll paper did not tear (a good sign!). The daikon was clearly present. The duck confit, however, could have been more tender.

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Kozu Tataki ($16)

The Kozu Tataki was up next and I was very excited for it. Unfortunately, the slices were very thing. Nonetheless, they were very well seasoned in ponzu and we loved the yukon gold chips. The best kind of potato (chip) out there.

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Gyoza ($10)

After, our stomachs paved way for these pan-seared shrimp and pork dumplings were crispy on the edges and packed with juicy meat on the inside. It was served with sambal soy sauce. We enjoyed both the Chicken Dim Sum and Gyoza although they were very small and priced high.

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Shrimp Tacos ($14)

The Shrimp Tacos were came next and they were one of my favourite dishes. Although they were rather plain – there was very little avocado cream and spicy citrus mayo – and expensive for the serving, the crispy rock shrimps were delicious. This combination of ingredients has inspired me to make tacos at home similar to this – the combination is parfait.

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Poke Sake Bowl ($14)

In kaiseki cuisine, everything raw should be served first but because this is not, we had the Poke Sake Bowl after we had our steamed and fried dishes to cool off. The fish was fresh and well marinated. The rice wasn’t too dry or wet either.

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Nasu Rice ($8)

We continued to fill our belly up with rice to end the dinner. The Nasu Rice was absolutely delicious and one of my top dishes of the night, topping the Shrimp Tacos. I adore aubergine and if you do too, this is something you have to order. No complains at all. It was perfect.

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Tonkatsu ($12)

Last but not least, we had the Tonkatsu. Yes, we saved the heaviest for last. The pork loin exceeded my expectations. The sauce added was just nice too. The pork was not too dry nor was it soggy and it went hand in hand with the fluffy rice.

Overall, I enjoyed the ambiance and the experience at Kozu. I can see why people want to be here. It’s where the cool kids hang, you know?

Frankly though, the restaurant serves small plates. That is not an issue. However, I do think that the smaller plates are priced too high for the quality and quantity they serve. Especially the Shrimp Tacos, Kozu Tataki, Gyoza and Chicken Dim Sum. Four of these dishes were good but did not particularly live up to par for its price.

The service was not tip top either. The waitress who served us was quite rude at times (especially when it came to tips) and failed to acknowledge us when we needed plates for the birthday cake. I give them credit for re-lighting sparkling candles so I could take pictures though.

The high notes of the meal, nonetheless, were the Tonkatsu, Nasu Rice and Poke Bowl. The bowls were excellent and worth the money. The seafood was also fresh. The Kozu Tataki  and tacos, despite its pricing, have to be credited with being fresh. Kozu has at least held up this standard which Jatoba too has set the ceiling very high for.

The dishes are not authentic either (even at Jatoba), and they don’t strive to be so don’t expect it. Japanese food in Montreal is ALWAYS accustomed to Montreal. I appreciated the creativity with the Shrimp Tacos and the presentation of the dishes. They were beautiful. Other dishes on the menu like Tokyo Style Shrimp and Sushi Pizza also looks very pleasing.

Would I come here again? Perhaps not too soon until their menu changes. The food, especially the small plates were not worth the buck. Order bowls to minimise the damage on your wallet. If you haven’t given it a try though, you should! The experience and presentation is very on point. Join my giveaway on Instagram to stand a chance.

Cheers,

N

 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Expected Wallet Damage: $$-$$$$

Contact: 514 524-4446 or reserve online!

Opening Hours: Closed on Sundays and Mondays, Tues – Wed 6PM – 11PM, Thurs – Sat 6PM – 3AM.

Perfect For: Birthdays, Dates, Anniversaries, Girls’ Night Out, Saturdays with the Boys

Where: 500 Rue Rachel E, Montreal, QC H2J 2H2

*This is a partially sponsored post. Kozu has closed down as of April 2018.