We just arrived in Montreal for a week’s stay. Our hotel room was not ready yet, so after picking up our rental car we decided to drive around to get a feel for the city.
When hunger struck, we sought a seat to rest on and a bite to eat at Mechant Boeuf, located at Hotel Nelli. In hindsight given the name of the restaurant, we should have ordered beef.
Walking in I was immediately sold on our choice. Located at the lobby of this boutique hotel, the space opens up before you. You could walk through and explore the adjoining rooms and their many seating options. From a simple cafe that includes pastries behind glass to little romantic private nooks at the back for more privacy. There was a fully stocked bar, a lounging area with oversized sofas and recliners, and a proper dining room for a more elevated meal.
We would be seated towards the back, in an area designed to look like a courtyard. This would be our first taste of Montreal’s outdoor-indoor design style. Montreal is well known for its underground city and has many buildings that strive to recreate the outdoors inside, where it is warm, and the people are protected from the city’s harsh winters.
I loved the feeling of dining surrounded by simulated tall buildings. They kept the historic rustic red brick walls, but created faux balconies and even had a water fountain feature.
To start we would get a mid-day pick-up with a Flat White. This was the heaviest rendition of this coffee with milk I have ever had. It left your mouth feeling like it was coated.
Just looking at it, I was impressed by the Fried Calamari. Made fresh to order with tzatziki and lemon wedges. Served intact and whole, there is no hiding how fresh it was. So sumptuous that I couldn’t enjoy bites back-to-back. Like the coffee, this too coated my mouth with its flavour. You can easily make out the soft and chewy squid from under the light and crispy batter. It was only a little on the oily side for my tastes, but still one of the best calamari dishes I have had to date. Stunning.
And looking for something heavier we went for the Tagliatelle Cacio e Pepe with sliced truffle, truffle paste, parmigiano reggiano, and cracked black pepper. Given that there is a double dose of truffle I expected its flavours more pronounced. The texture of the pasta was perfection, but it could have been saucier for my preference.
In short, I was happy to have this be my first Montreal restaurant experience and to be so amazed by it. Although as the week progressed, I would learn that this is a dime a dozen, and the style and nuance of most Montreal higher ends restaurants are like this. Although I would still return to try their beef.
Méchant Boeuf Bar-Brasserie
124 Saint-Paul St W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1Z4, Canada