The night we discovered our new favourite restaurant in Montreal, we were actually on our way to another place. Our Paint Nite at Lord William Pub in Griffintown had been cancelled last-minute, but we still needed something to do so we decided to check out the bar anyway and grab a bite.
Heading down Rue des Seigneurs, we passed by an all-white building, brightly lit inside. We were intrigued by this glowing beacon in the night, and spent our dinner at the pub wondering about that fascinating place just up the road. We paid our bill and decided to check it out.
It was late on a Tuesday night in January, so the resto — we now know it’s called Perles et Paddock — was understandably quiet. They greeted us like old friends, a sign of things to come, and we sidled up to the bar.
And what a bar. It’s a majestic marble bar smack dab in the middle of the room adorned with art deco trim — the perfect centrepiece surrounded by plant life, including an actual tree. The sun roof above the bar creates a bright and uplifting atmosphere: way different than the usual dark rooms Montreal restos opt for.
They almost immediately blew us away with their encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails. The bartenders — we’ve met Ben, Jonathan, and Maude so far — are equipped with rare Italian liquors, homemade syrups and bitters, and pretty cool containers like oversized conch shells.
If you want an immaculately prepared cocktail that comes with a backstory, this is the place. They don’t fall into the overly sweet or tacky trappings of other bars; they’re expertly designed and you can taste how well thought out they are with every sip. We started Uber-ing there because there’s no way to go all-out and expect to drive home after.
They put an equal amount of work into the food. Each dish, in addition to looking like a work of art, is made with multiple layers and flavours in mind. Much like our favourites from Stockholm and Atlanta, simplicity and complexity coexist in every mouthful.
Each bite is perfectly balanced. On our first night there, we opted for an array of appetizers. (TBH this is our favourite method of dining: appetizers tend to be more fun and exciting, it allows you to try more of what a restaurant has to offer, AND is usually more affordable than ordering two full mains — you’ll remember we also did this at Lilla Ego.)
On this particular night we tried the Squash & Winter Truffles with ricotta, Organic Irish Salmon with smoked crème fraîche, and the Hamachi Origami with ginger and mango. (There were more ingredients in each, too.) We split the Ginger Flower for dessert, which burst with tanginess and texture on the tongue. Since then we’ve had the opportunity to test out each appetizer. While they are all winners, the Corn Espuma, Salmon, and Hamachi were particularly exquisite and are worth the trip alone.
We’ve been for brunch, and it ended up being a gargantuan four hour affair that started with simple plates: Shakshuka and omelette. Soon we were making friends with everyone at the bar, and sharing an epic sea shell punch filled with different boozes.
The best night we’ve been was Valentine’s Day. It was unforgettable. It was a four course fixed menu with, if you can believe it, cocktail pairings. So many highlights, but let’s just say we’re thrilled they kept the specially garnished oysters on the menu.
Food and drink aside, what we love the most about this restaurant is the atmosphere. While upscale enough for all your special occasion meals, the place is relaxed enough that it’s the perfect restaurant for any meal of the week. Come as you are, and just enjoy a fantastic meal.
We go so often now that our friends joke that we live there. That being said, they should absolutely forward our mail there (jkjkjkjkjkjk). As a New Year’s resolution we wanted to become regulars somewhere and not constantly chase trends, and with Perles et Paddock we found our place.