Does having breakfast in a jewelry store that sells jewels in little blue boxes ring any bells? Well, let’s just say that I’m no Audrey Hepburn but the ambiance at Birks does make you feel like a princess, if only for a few hours… And for me, it was all about the ambiance and the attention to detail because honestly, even though the food was good, it was not mind-blowing.
When you arrive at Birks for brunch, the table is already set with beautiful cutlery and china, a basketful of mini croissants and pains au chocolat, a home-made brioche and some home-made jam. The brunch menu is a fixed $39.50 menu which includes everything that’s on the table plus a “teaser” (amuse-bouche), 2 courses, a dessert and as many coffees, teas and/or mimosas as you can handle. I ordered a latté which arrived in a tiny little cup (think big espresso cup). I did notice later on that the “regular”coffee that’s included in the brunch menu is actually a french press one so will be ordering that if I do go back since I really didn’t get nearly enough caffeine with my tiny cup of latte.
The “teaser” that day was a bacon-wrapped prune. In my opinion, it could’ve definitely benefited from a bit more cooking so that the bacon crisps up a bit… However, without dwelling too much on that little detail, we moved on to the next course which was my favourite of the savory ones: a ricotta-shiitake ravioli with a porcini emulsion, topped with a poached egg, pine nuts, black truffle shaving and truffle oil, outstanding! A beautiful dish where every component was cooked to perfection. I would gladly give up on the other courses just to have more of this one!
The third course was a smoked salmon tartare, topped with Abitibi caviar and surrounded by a zucchini “lasagne”. I thought that the zucchini was not seasoned enough and even though the tartare was very fresh and good, I personally did not find it to be amazing.
I could see all the chocolates, macarons and financiers lining up the front of the restaurants in their jewelery cases… The pistachio financiers had left an impression on me during the opening night of the Café and I was looking forward to the sweet part of the meal. The desserts did not disappoint at all. I had a verrine of praline mousse with a tiny little meringue filled with chestnut bits and topped with an almond brittle and Marcella had a verrine of vanilla and coffee panna cotta with a white chocolate shell filled with salted butter caramel. All the dessert verrines sounded outstanding and we had a hard time picking just one.
I hear that Birks Café has a really good tea service and I look forward to trying it out. I saw some of the tea platters pass by and I am intrigued. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon in a jewelery store sipping on a Mariage Frères tea and munching on cute miniature food?
Birks Café by Europea
1240 du Square Phillips
514 397 2468