I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to get myself down to one of FoodLab’s [email protected] Aperitivo. Maybe it’s because, like many of you, I wasn’t sure of what it was exactly. Although lack of time is the most probable culprit… However, had I known how delicious the experience would be, I would’ve made the time and the effort much sooner. Not that I ever doubted that it would be delicious, especially with Seth Gabrielse and Michelle Marek at the helm of this culinary adventure.
The premise of these aperitivos is to create a whole new menu around a particular theme every couple of weeks. This ensures that neither the clients nor the chefs will ever get bored. After all, the FoodLab’s mission is to create a space where the chefs can experiment and create around food. The open kitchen allows you to interact with the chefs and to watch them cook your meal. They will also be serving your food to you because in this space, there are no waiters or busboys.
The night I was there, the menu’s theme was “French winter” in collaboration with Oenopole. The menu is limited to one appetizer, a main meal, a couple of salads, a cheese course and dessert. You can pick and choose whatever you feel like eating, whether it’s a full meal or just a nibble. A $65, 4-course tasting menu with wine pairings is available. Otherwise, there are spot-on wine pairings with every dish. We ordered our food at the bar and then sat at the counter facing the kitchen to watch the chefs work their magic. I opted for the French onion soup appetizer, the roast Cornish hen main, the baker-style potatoes and of course, the far breton dessert. I say “of course” because Michelle Marek’s desserts are not to be missed, ever.
The onion soup was rich and hearty and served with a big slice of cheesy crouton. It was deliciously comforting on that cold night, despite it being a tad too salty for my taste. The Cornish hen was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I couldn’t get enough of the buttered cabbage and apple salad it came with! The baker-style potatoes were the only minute let down and a bit too bland compared to the rest of the meal. The far breton was soft and creamy, filled with plump pieces of delicious rum-soaked prunes and topped with the reduced prune syrup and walnuts, just delicious! My dining companions and I had to order another one because we just couldn’t get enough!
The current menu at the FoodLab is available until February 18 and sounds like a great one. It’s inspired by Quebec winters and created in collaboration with Société Orignal, featuring their local and unique products. I have been curious about Société Orignal’s products for a while now and I am looking forward to giving this menu a try soon.
The FoodLab is definitely my kind of place where the atmosphere is hip yet relaxed, the service unpretentious yet courteous and the food impeccable. Being able to interact with the chefs who are preparing my food is an added bonus that I always appreciate. As if that weren’t enough, the ever changing menu is an added incentive to keep going back… and I’m sure I will.
1201 boulevard St Laurent (3rd floor)
Tuesday – Friday starting at 5 p.m.
For group reservations, contact [email protected]