Sometimes, you just want to be able to walk into a place, order a big bowl of steaming, soul-warming curry and dig in. No fuss, no muss, just good food on a cold day. That’s exactly what led me to the recently-opened, Thai-inspired Épicerie Pumpui on Beaubien East, not too far from where I live (and work). The unpretentious grocery store / curry shop is simply decorated, with a row of comfortable banquettes on one side of the smallish space and an open counter in the back with a view of the kitchen. The rest of the space is occupied by South Asian grocery items, merchandise printed with the Pumpui logo and a counter and stools lining up the big windows along Beaubien.
A handful of curry and specialty dishes are available every day and change often. They are mainly Thai but can be inspired by Southeast Asia. Pump is vegetarian (even vegan) friendly and also has a few side dishes as well as thai coffee and tea. The day that I went, I opted for the green Thai curry, the green papaya salad and a chicken curry from Birma (I believe).
I like spicy food and I can handle very well. I ate a whole plate of Mission Chinese’s Chongqing spicy chicken wings without even shedding a tear and I have witnesses who can confirm it. However, at Pumpui, I found the green curry and the green papaya salad a little bit too spicy for my taste. Green papaya salad is probably one of my all-time favourite things to eat. I love the delicate balance of sweet, spicy, tangy and salty flavours but I didn’t even finish the one I ordered at Pumpui, and that’s unheard of! It was so spicy that any other flavour was drowned out, which was a shame. Both curries were served with a big bowl of fragrant white rice. As expected, the green curry was very spicy but the chicken curry was sweet, rich and with just a hint of spiciness.
I’m sure I’ll be back at Pumpui before long. I hear their pad thai is excellent and I enjoyed the casual experience and the warm food on a chilly day.
83 St-Zotique East
514 379 3024
Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday & Thursday: 12pm – 8pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 10pm
Sunday: 12pm – 8pm
For more spicy food in Montreal, head to this article.