NOTE: Because of construction delays, the restaurant is now opening on Thursday December 8th
Martin Juneau and partner Louis-Philippe Breton’s new restaurant Pastaga opens tomorrow night in Apollo’s previous space at 6389 St Laurent. The two partners met 15 years ago while working their first kitchen. They have since worked together on occasion in several of Montreal’s kitchens, have become close friends and have finally decided to partner up on this new project. This is very exciting news to me personally because not only do I love Juneau’s cooking but this restaurant is opening in my neighbourhood so I won’t have to trek to the other side of town anymore to enjoy a fun and trendy restaurant with great food. Because I am pretty certain that this will be a fun and delicious place to hang out at, and yes “hang out” is the right term. You can judge for yourself after you read what Martin had to say when I spoke to him on Saturday afternoon.
So what is Pastaga exactly, is it a bistro? A brasserie?
It’s a bistro with the essence of a Parisian wine bar. We don’t want to define it as one thing or another because we want it to be more than the sum of its parts. Paris wine bars always seem to have that extra “je-ne-sais-quoi” and although you go there for the wine, you always end up having a great meal too. I also want it to be accessible, casual, I want people to stop in on their way home, on their way to the market and just have a drink and a bite. We will also have a wine list that consists of natural wines and we will be serving beer from La Barberie, a micro-brewery based in Quebec city that I am a huge fan of.
Tell me a bit about this space, the old Apollo space.
The restaurant’s dining room is divided into 2 separate areas, a casual, with more of a bar feel area all along the front windows of the space and the informal dining room where we are recycling the old Apollo furniture into a new configuration. The space has been re-purposed and “de-Giovannied” by Bruno Braën while keeping one or two elements that recall its previous incarnation.
There will also be a chef’s table in the kitchen which will be more like a chef’s “sports bar”. It will seat 10 people on a regular night and 20 on game night and it will face a giant HD screen for those who like to enjoy a side of hockey (or any other sport) with their meal. We really wanted to place the TV in a separate space so it doesn’t bother the clients in the dining room. We also wanted to dedicate a space for those people like me who like to watch sports but who also like to eat a good meal. There aren’t many places in the city where you can eat well while watching the game and this is what Pastaga’s chef’s table will be for.
What will the opening hours be?
Pastaga will be open from Tuesday to Saturday from 3:45pm until midnight. Why 3:45 you ask? Because “Quatre heures moins le quart, l’heure du Ricard” (popular French expression). There will be a lighter, aperitif menu in the afternoon which will stay available all night and will include house-made “reinvented” charcuteries. There will also be a more or less fixed à la carte menu in addition to a “blackboard menu” which will change on a more regular basis every few days.
We are not ruling out the possibility of opening for lunch and we will accommodate groups who would like to book the restaurant for lunch. Brunch is also not out and will probably be the next thing we tackle since there are a lot of residential buildings in the area.
The name of the restaurant refers to pastis, is there a connection?
It’s more a reference to the “apéro” (apéritif) culture and to France but we are not going for a pastis theme here. I do love the word “Pastaga” though and I’ve had in mind for a while now. We will, of course, offer Pastis and classic pastis cocktails and we will also be developing pastis-based cocktails as well in honour of the name. We intend to have fun with the whole pastis thing and opening at 3:45pm allows us to explore that aspect.
Doesn’t it sound like a great place to hang out at? Who’s joining me for an apéro?
Monday – Sunday 3:45pm – midnight
Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 2:30pm