Last night, I went to my first restaurant since mid-March and it was a glorious experience. One of my favourite Montreal chefs, Fisun Ercan, ran away to the country a couple of years ago to realize her dream of owning a farm to grow her own vegetables. To that dream was another one to run a small, farm-to-table restaurant to honour the Quebec terroir. Bika Farm and cuisine opened its doors this week and I was lucky to be one of the first people to try it.
Located about 45 minutes from downtown Montreal in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, the drive there is framed by endless fields of silvery green corn. Bika Farm is composed of two connecting perpendicular buildings. One houses the immense kitchen equipped with a wood burning oven while the dining room is located in a sleek and chic greenhouse with a cathedral ceiling. The transparent space has great views of the surrounding fields and it actually feels like you’re sitting outside, but with the added bonus of not having to deal with the bugs. Furnished simply yet elegantly, the dining room seats 16 to 18 people, with some additional seating available outside. The little path that leads to the door takes you past the lovely field of vegetables and herbs that are a mere preview of what you’ll sample during your meal.
THE BIKA FARM MENU
Fisun has garnered a well-earned reputation for being an exceptional chef. She has introduced Montreal to the cuisine of the Turkish Aegean coast where she grew up. At Bika Farm, the cuisine is a refined Turkish one featuring local ingredients from the garden as well as from surrounding farms. The 6-course menu is a symphony of colours, flavours and textures and a true interpretation of the current season. All the vegetables and herbs are pulled from the garden a couple of hours before they end up on your plate. Food waste is kept at a minimum since the prep for each seating is done right before and while bearing in mind the number of diners. The vegetables on the menu change according to the garden’s whims and whatever is ready to be consumed that day. Below are pictures of my dinner with descriptions of each dish in the captions.
No detail is left aside at Bika. If you were wondering about the beautiful plates the dishes are served in, Fisun worked with local ceramist (and my favourite!) ceramik b. to create a new collection of tableware for Bika Farm. The plates are inspired by nature, “plants, earth and stones”, and are a perfect fit for the Bika mission. This new collection is now available for sale at ceramik b.
While we were at Bika Farm, we were surprised by one of those dramatic and defeaning summer downpours. Once the skies cleared and the rain passed, we were rewarded by the most fiery sunset over the surrounding fields of corn. A majestic rainbow also made an appearance and lingered in front of Bika Farm, a tangent representation of the hopeful symbol representing these troubled times. I don’t know if everything is going to be ok but I do know that dining at Bika Farm in this enchanted landscape made me feel happier.
BOOKING AT BIKA FARM
Bika Farm is open for dinner Thursday to Saturday and for Sunday brunch. The 6-course dinner menu is $110 (+ taxes) per person but that also includes tip. It’s a bring-your-own-wine concept so don’t forget to bring a bottle. The 3-course Sunday brunch menu is $35 (+ taxes) per person and also includes everything. The brunch is similar to what what chef Fisun offered at her previous restaurant Su (if you’ve been, you know it’s one of the best brunches ever) but a little more elaborate. All drinks like coffee and juices are included in the price of the brunch. You’ll need to reserve and pay ahead of time for both brunch and dinner. Once you buy your tickets, you can forget your wallet at home since everything is included.
Many thanks to Fisun for the invite and for the inspiration I needed to start writing again.