An old restaurant closed down, and here comes the new one. I have been following the news of Provisions 1268 since Eater announced that it will be the new addition to the Outremont neighborhood. From Eater’s article, I sort of have an idea of the concept of the restaurant, but still did not know what to expect. I visited the restaurant with my friend, K, and we both appreciated the excellent service, quality and creativity of the dishes that have truly put the seasonal items in good use.
I made the reservation a week in advance, just to ensure that we get a table. Since we arrived quite early, one of the owners, Tina An, greeted us warmly, and gave us the options of sitting at the bar or table on the side with high stools. We opted of the latter one.
Provisions 1268 is a relatively cozy and intimate restaurant, with only 25 seats in the house. With a party of two or three, you’ll most likely to be seated at the bar. The table close to the window, and the decor makes me feel like it would be nice to have a gathering with close friends. However, that’s the one and only table in the restaurant, therefore, make sure you reserve in advance if you would like to dine in a big party.
This blackboard is the “menu”. Yes, a blackboard with ingredients only. It is true that they don’t have a standard, regular menu like other restaurants. The ingredients on the blackboard changes daily, depending on what they’ve gotten from the market. The way it works is that for $50 per person, you either choose menu surprise, which includes 2 appetizers, 2 mains, and dessert (5 services in total), or table d’hôte, which includes an appetizer, main, and dessert (3 services in total).
We opted for the menu surprise. I told the staff that I don’t eat beef, and she said that’s no problem! They try to accommodate most allergies and dietary restrictions, so don’t afraid to ask or let them know.
The night started off with the warm milk bun, which was sprinkled with green onions and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. The bun was fluffy, and buttery in taste.
Here comes the first appetizer, which was Quebec butternut squash with miso glaze, orange zest, and mozzarella cheese. The butternut squash was cooked to tender, but not mushy. The taste of orange was quite strong. K and I both liked the mozzarella cheese, as it wasn’t too cheesy that overrides the taste of butternut squash.
As the second appetizer, we were surprised that they offered a vegetarian option for me, as I informed my dietary restriction. This plate consist of various kinds of sweet potatoes, celery sauce, fried onions, and pickled pepper. I liked the contrast of the variety of sweet potatoes, in terms of its texture. The celery sauce and pickled pepper were great addition, as it enhanced the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A side note for the pickled pepper (I hate pepper…), it was really good! I didn’t dare to eat pepper because of its strong taste and smell, but the pickled peppers would definitely do.
As for the other second appetizer, the chef brought up the beef tartare for K, which is mixed with onions and scallions, side with quail egg, king mushrooms, and baby romaine lettuce. Here what my friend thinks: “I thought it was overpowered by the raw onions, but had good texture because it was finely diced. Flavour was mild, and perhaps could’ve been a little lighter with the crispy bread crumbs on top. King mushrooms added were a nice touch and same with the lettuce as they provided different flavours and textures to contrast the tartare”.
The first main course had completely “wow”-ed us, in terms of both flavors and presentation. It’s the black cod, chicken stock with ginger sauce, assorted mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke, and spiced nuts. The cod was really fresh, and cooked to perfection, which was tender and moist. I could easily flaked it off with the fork. We wished that there could’ve been one more piece of cod, cause it was just too good to share a piece. Moreover, we thought that this dish was quite Asian-inspired, as the sauce is a bit sweet and savory. The artichoke and spiced nuts were a good addition to the crunchy texture.
Our eyes were wide open when this was served. On this beautiful plate, it consists of wild boar rack, belly, leg, brussels sprouts, parsley root, mussels, and sweet peppers. There are a lot of ingredients in this dish, yet the main star was definitely the wild boar. It was my first time having it, and it’s really tender, comparing to the regular pork. Once again, it’s the doneness of the boar was right on the spot. The meat was pinkish, yet no blood.
Of course, a great meal always ends with dessert. The dessert of the day was caramelized banana, homemade Oreo, fresh strawberries, blackberry cheesecake ice cream, and banana parfait as base. I enjoyed the dessert a lot, since it wasn’t too sweet, and I could still taste the fruity flavors of each component. According to K, the homemade oreo tastes just like the oreo cookies at Dispatch coffee, which is one of my favorite cafes in Montreal.
Overall, the entire dining experience was beyond “great”; it was immaculate. Since there’s no menu, the staff explains each dish upon serving. Moreover, the plates were changed in between each dish, which I found it nice, as the flavors aren’t mixed together. The staffs are friendly and lively, as I could see that they love what they are doing. It’s always those small details that makes up the whole dining experience. I had a true, hearty culinary experience at Provisions 1268, which is a restaurant doing everything above and beyond. I can’t wait for my next visit!
1268 Van Horne Ave., Outremont, Montreal
Tel: (514) 508-0828 (Reservations strongly recommended)