Oh, the joys of dropping everything, mid-day, to go for a leisurely lunch at the part of town known as Mile End... And this wasn't just any lunch, but rather, lunch at Montréal's most talked-about lunch/brunch spot, Lawrence. Every inch the hipster central I expected.....
Good thing I went mid-week, because.... even on a Friday, the place was overflowing with hungry young mothers (bébés in tow) and a thirtysomething local crowd. No matter: I figured the wait would be worth it.
And how right I was! First up, beautiful Glacier Bay oysters (actually seasoning them with the mignonette sauce would be sinful):
Even though I opted to order appetizers only - followed by a generous cheese tasting - I ate like a queen. Deliciously rich and hearty octopus tentacles tossed with salicorne and parmesan was so much more than the sum of its parts...
And for those who might think lettuce soup sounds boring, I've got news.... not at Lawrence, it's not! Peasant-style, with the greens thoroughly cooked and swimming in a rich broth gussied up with a brandade, it was the perfect pick-me-up for that chilly afternoon.
Another winner: mussels with fat cubes of good-quality bacon, on a soda cracker. Yum.
The cheeses were served comme il faut: at room temperature. (Sounds obvious but it's so rarely done!) I might have liked some bread or thin toast to complement the (crumbly, ultrafresh) oatcakes but... that's just me being overly picky.
The whole meal, with plenty of top-notch beers, came out to $100, tax and tip included. Not bad at all, I say!
Another thing that inspired confidence: the nice chunks of meat that a supplier kept bringing in....
My verdict? I like!
Lawrence: 5201 Saint-Laurent Blvd., tel. (514) 503-1070