Nick and I are enjoying a kid-free week in Montreal, Canada. To celebrate, we’re doing all the things that are tough to do with a kid –things like museums and long, luscious meals. Last night was our big splurge, the 10 course tasting menu at Europea. Ranked 2nd out of Montreal’s 3100 restaurants on tripadvisor, we were expecting big things. And WOW did it deliver. While I won’t give it props for the best food I’ve ever had (Peru still retains that honor), it was definitely the most UNIQUE food experience I’ve ever had. Here’s why…
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. Don’t read this if you ever plan to eat at Europea and want to be surprised!
The first thing you have to know is that we ate WAY MORE than 10 courses. Isn’t that nuts? I mean 10 sounds like a lot… how the heck did I eat somewhere close to 22 courses??? It probably helped that it was spread out over 3 1/2 hours. And that was 3 1/2 hours of constant food streaming to our table! Did I mention I was in heaven???
Before any of the food arrived at the table, we got this sweet note delivered to us from the chef:
Now, on to the food! Let’s start out with the pre-appetizers, what they called “gifts from the chef”. Up first (pictured above) was parmesan popcorn and popsicles made of goat cheese and parmesan. They were accompanied by breadsticks (shown in background) and this adorable pancetta clothesline (shown below).
Next they came out with a cigar box and asked if we wanted a cigar. Both of us declined graciously but the waitress continued to press, bringing the box right in front of us. A little smile comes across her face and as she opens the box we discover “cheese cigars”. Just like mozzarella sticks, only a BILLION times better. Can I have another???
The next pre-appetizer arrived in a book. Upon opening, maple-flavored smoke streamed out of the box. When it cleared, there was an adorable little sushi-sized piece of raw fish on a cracker. 10 points for presentation on that one!
Honestly, I have no idea what the pre-appetizer was below, but I freakin loved that it came in this adorable box that swung open.
Next up were these salt and vinegar crisps, served in a chinese take-out box.
Pre-appetizers finished up with bread and butter. In case you lost count, that was 7 pre-appetizers. And we haven’t even gotten to the 10 course tasting menu yet!
The first up in our tasting menu (FINALLY!) was a lobster cream cappuccino with truffle puree (tasted like an amazing version of lobster bisque). It came in a little cappuccino cup and we were required to drink it. :)
Course 2 was peking bass filet with a suspended prawn spring roll. Sorry for the so-so pictures, they’re all from google and tripadvisor because Nick told me he’d be mortified if I took pictures of all the food.
Dish 3: Next up was pasta carbonara, but not just any pasta carbonara. The pasta was actually finely sliced calimari and it arrived with egg on top and cream on the bottom. It was cooking over low heat in the stone dish it was served in. All that was required of us was to break the egg and mix our ‘pasta.’ SO FUN!
Dish 4: What French meal would be complete without foie gras? This wasn’t any old preparation though. The foie gras arrived cooked on one side. The uncooked side was placed on a heated river stone and then concentrated wine was poured over it for carmelization. A glass cover trapped the heat and I got to watch as my foie gras was cooked in front of me for another 2 minutes. Here’s what it looked like at the end:
Dish 5 was wild sockeye salmon that was cooked in a clay pot. Prior to presenting the dish, we got to break open the clay pot that it was cooked in.
They brought this finished dish back to us 5 minutes later.
Dish 6 was a palette cleanser – mix of Japanese fruit called yuzu and ice cream and foam. It was delightful and just what I needed to take a break from all the savory food!
Dish 7 wasn’t super memorable. It was a swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with shitake mushrooms and truffled cream foam. The foam didn’t seem to fit on this one.
Dish 8 was a cornish hen, another very French menu item. Just like the salmon, they brought the hen to us to look at 5 minutes prior to serving it. I thought the interactive piece was a really nice touch.
Item 9 was a goat cheese crème brulee. Super rich but oh-so-delicious. Item 10, the official dessert, was molten chocolate (like you’d find in a lava cake) with cherry ice cream in this suspended glass bowl. Wish I had a pic for you, but I couldn’t find one anywhere.
And that wraps up the 10 course tasting menu folks. If you thought that’s when the food would stop coming, well then you’d be wrong….because continue it did. Let’s take a look at the post-dessert items:
Post-dessert item 1: A deconstructed pina colada.
Post-dessert 2: A French cookie called a Madeleine that was served in a take-out box.
Post-dessert 3: Hazelnut chocolate covered in pop rocks with macaroons and flavored marshmallows.
Post-dessert 4: Cotton Candy
Post-dessert 5: The tree of indulgence (various homemade candies hanging on a tree)
And finally, our take-home treat. A pastry for us to pop in the oven in the morning. Add it all up and we had 22 different courses brought to us over 3 1/2 hours. Expensive but sooo worth it. This was a great, memorable splurge and I’d highly encourage you to consider it if you’re ever in Montreal.
Two other tips: You are able to visit the kitchen if you ask. There’s also a chef’s table on the edge of the kitchen that you can request to sit at with no extra charge.
Photo Credit: Tripadvisor and Google Images