Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 4

Modern Mississauga is in Montreal for four days to experience the renowned Montréal en Lumière festival along with Brigitte Hasbron from The Food Tease. In this four-part series, we’ll be sharing our experiences with you.

Day 4 - February 26th

Breakfast at Chez Chose

On our last day taking part in the Montréal En Lumière festival, we headed outside of the downtown district to have our breakfast at the neighborhood restaurant, Chez Chose, which is a local favourite and can easily be deemed your 'go-to' eatery to start off your weekend right.

Where they stands out is in the diversity of their dishes. Don't expect a typical greasy spoon kind of place; they're anything but that. They focus on locally sourced products and deliver big on flavours and intricate French cuisine that makes me wish I had a local resto like this back home in Ottawa.

I had their unique 'mushrooms party, egg cook at 63° and Zacharie Cloutier cheese' dish, which epitomized why I am so in love with French cuisine. They took the simplicity of having an egg cooked, but ensured it was cooked at exactly 63° which means my yolk will perfectly drizzle onto my dish when I cut into it. Like anything that is a success, its all in the details.

My delicious cheese enveloped egg was resting on a beautiful pool filled with the most full-flavoured mushroom cream sauce that could possibly accompany it. Fingerling potatoes and a thinly sliced piece of baguette added to this heavenly rich dish. It was the terfect way to start my (and hopefully your) day!

The upbeat hospitality that we received from the restaurant staff was not only engaging when talking about the menu selections, but also provided the right amount of interaction to compliment our dining experience.

Chez Chose, as Brigitte says, is far from a greasy spoon kinda place. It's a refined brunch choice but with a relaxed and warm atmosphere. The staff were friendly (which is a big priority for me) and of course, the food was delicious.
I opted for the Pain dore Monte-Cristo sandwich because for as appetizing as the poutine offering was, I had to try something different. The balance of flavours (Monte-Cristo style French toast with duck, Kenogami cheese, shallots and cranberry and blue honeysuckle berry jam...yes, it tasted as great as it sounds!) were spot on and I very quickly cleaned off my plate. 
Having a restaurant that equally balances food and service is (to me) what all restaurants should strive for.  Sure, it's easy to be an order taker during a busy Sunday morning but when our waiter took the few extra minutes to engage with us and explain in detail what was on the menu, along with what was locally sourced, that's what really stands out for me.

Lunch at Bistro Le Balmoral


Montréal en Lumière festivities are integrally connected with the region of Lyon, France. The festival invited world renowned chefs from Lyon to share their talents in several restaurants so that guests can enjoy their delicious craftsmanship.

The Balmoral bistro wants to take its patrons to Lyon through their dishes. To really give guests a 'Bouchon Lyonnais' experience. Jay and I learned that 'Bouchon Lyonnais' means to transport guests to a time where restaurants had that authentic feel to them. With their charming bar, rich leather accessories, checkered table cloth patterns and of course with their tantalizing savoury dishes.

Jay and myself were treated like royalty at the Balmoral Bistro during our lunch visit. During our time there, guest Chef Joseph Viola hailing directly from Lyon greeted us.

Chef Viola has with him numerous accolades, one being the prestigious 'Meilleur Ouvrier de France' (MOF) title and the fact that he is also president of the 'Association des Bouchons Lyonnais' made our lunch that much more special. Considering he took time out of his busy schedule to not only meet us, but to also make sure we experienced his specialty dishes was music to my ears!

Being told of dishes that are typical to the Lyon region by this renown chef, like pan fried trout, quenelles, pâté en croute to the ever so rich farm-raised chicken with morel mushroom sauce was something I couldn't wait to sink my teeth in!.

Chef Viola treated us to a very diverse menu tasting, rich in flavours and ingredients. We started our Lyon tasting with a beautiful beef and vegetable consommé, Chinese artichokes and foie gras. The warm consommé was exactly what I needed. Its light consistency with generous pieces of foie gras oozed its French influence.

Next up was the famous 'pâté en croute' (the dish was voted World Champion in 2009 at a culinary competition). This ever-so popular dish consisted of pastry encased pâté of duck foie gras and sweetbreads, accompanied with some caramelized onions and light salad. Tasting this dish, I can see how the dish has been a success. The buttery flavours of the pastry married perfectly with the pâté!

Coming to our table was one of our fish dishes. Cooked in a hot skillet and then served tableside was perfect, the whole pink trout served à la grenobloise was melt in your mouth goodness. À la grenobloise typically means the fish is served with a sauce of browned butter, capers (in this case, caper berries were used), parsley, and pieces of lemon and our dish had crunchy pieces of croutons that added a nice contrast to the soft delicate texture of the trout. Absolutely delicious! I could have eaten two if I was given the option!

Now came the ever so rich chicken with morel mushroom sauce. Not only was the chicken tender and flavourful on its own, the morel sauce and its velvety texture took the prize. How can you go wrong when you have a extraordinary sauce that begs to have a piece of bread soak up all its flavours? Being a huge sauce fan, this sauce had me spooning it and drinking it as though it was soup. A very rich and decadent soup that is.

And if that wasn't enough, we learned that with every fish and meat dish came along side of golden potatoes sautéed in butter and macaroni gratin! Can this Lyon culinary voyage get any better?!

For our last (I can't believe how much we ate so far) was the pike quenelle Lyonnaise with Nantua sauce (Nantua sauce is a classical French sauce consisting of a Béchamel sauce base, cream, crayfish
butter and crawfish tails). The quenelle felt like a soft spongy-like piece of bread that had a delicious fish flavour. The orangey colored Nantua sauce was sheer perfection as it complimented perfectly the quenelle. And to my surprise, I found generous pieces of lobster
floating in the sauce. A true treasure of flavours!

Balmoral Bistro comes highly recommended for those that love or want to experience authentic French cuisine as its served in Lyon. What a culinary splendour we had!

Over the course of our four days in Montreal celebrating Montréal En Lumière, we had the wonderful opportunity to take in concerts from award-winning artists, see international performers in death-defying
acts and of course without a doubt my favorite, taking in the amazing food scene that Montreal is all about.

We hope that our coverage of what Montreal has to offer during this popular festivity will entice you to want to discover and experience it for yourselves. Believe us when we say that you won’t be disappointed!

Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 1
Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 2
Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 3