What’s the best part about lunch? If you said trying to stay awake in the afternoon after scoffing down your BBQ leftovers from the night before or regretting that extra piece of dessert, then you’re absolutely right! I love finding new places for lunch in Montreal. Places that not only serve unique dishes unto themselves, but actually put pride and effort into providing their guests actual thoughtful meals to get people through their day, filling their bellies but not weighing them down. This isn’t to be said about pizza and sandwich places, because, duh, that’s the only thing they do, but I’m talking about restaurants that serve composed meals and not sandwichized versions of their nighttime menu. I recently visited Ma’tine for what I was told was “great place for lunch”.
I read about this cafe/restaurant a while back touting a very eclectic menu based and inspired by seasonal and local ingredients. I checked out Ma’tine for lunch right outside the village. The space was cavernous and the juxtaposition of the coldness of the concrete contrasted by the whimsy of mismatched wooden chairs and warmth that came with eating fresh homemade viennoiseries definitely heightened and put our senses on alert for what was to come.
The hazelnut croissant was buttery and had some heft to it. The hazelnut butter that filled the flakey pastry was thick and substantial and lent a gentle sweetness to each bite. You don’t see a hazelnut croissant too often, or a hazelnut anything that isn’t Nutella and I appreciated this, especially the rogue morsels of crushed hazelnuts caramelized and encrusted along the edges of the pastry.
The hazelnut better danish with berry compote and fig. Like the croissant, this pastry was substantial and luckily did not emasculate me or any other dude in the place for eating a pretty pastry with delicate pretty little berries; something that would be featured in a 7 year old girl’s tea party with her pet bunny and imaginary royalty – the thing was practically the size of a hubcap.
The lunch plate of the day was a terrine of beef cheek with sun-dried tomatoes and carrots on a carrot and anise purée, garnished with bitter greens. Sharp salty hits sun-dried tomatoes made its way into every bite. A quick poached bed of fresh carrots was perfectly cooked to provide a subtle toothsome crunch to the dish that complimented the rich unctuousness of the beef which was cut by the bitter greens. The dish was served cool, and I would have appreciate some toast or something – just a vessel to eat the terrine with and to sop up the delicious gelatinized jus. The beef was tender and deep in flavour.
The “sandwich of the day” was actually a pizza (yeah, I don’t know either). A homemade “pizza” topped with mackerel, pickled onions, fennel and dill topped with a poached egg. The fish was warm and encompassed with traditional flavours that pair seamlessly with fish which made this dish so comforting. The broken yolk trickling through the tower of deliciousness made each bite creamy and velvety. The crust was a bit tough to get through and it was unlike any other pizza I’ve had before; I couldn’t hold it, there’s no cheese on it, I couldn’t imagine any of teenage mutant ninja turtle eating it. Maybe calling it a pizza wasn’t the best way to describe the dish, but after thinking about it at length, I wouldn’t know what to call it either. If the waiter would have described the dish using finger-quotes when saying pizza, I probably wouldn’t have wasted half a day thinking about how to describe it on my blog.
I appreciate the fact that Ma’tine offers a great alternative for people looking for something different than the typical lunchtime meals. The food here is filling and isn’t necessarily heavy, but will leave you satisfied knowing you had an actual meal for lunch than just a “lunch”. Ma’tine served breakfast daily from 7am until 11:30 and also has a great brunch service on Saturdays.
1310 Blvd De Maisonneuve Est