Not sure how reliable the ranking is, but Europea is recently ranked as the second best fine dining restaurants around the world on TripAdvisor. I’ve heard good reviews from friends about it, but never thought it’s THAT good to make it to top of the world. I was thrilled to find out that they are opened for lunch, and the tasting menu is offered at a very affordable price compared to its dinner. Without any hesitations, my friend and I booked a table, and ready to see if it lives up the hype!
My friend and I were being greeted warmly by the staffs throughout our ways to the second floor. The restaurant is decorated with royal blue and red. However, I found the space upstairs a bit crowded.
As soon as we were seated, 3 amuse-bouchees were brought to the table. The first one was beef jerky, which I didn’t eat, but my friend said it was good. I really liked the goat cheese with spinach and black truffle lollipop. The pastry on the outside was so thin and flaky (a bit like the texture of phyllo), and the goat cheese filling was smooth and creamy. The black cone in the center was filled with truffle oil popcorn, which I found a bit too salty.
Soon after we placed our order, the staff brought up the lobster cappuccino with truffle puree. As I took the first sip, I was surprised by the different layers of flavors and temperature. The foam was cold, but the lobster bisque was luke warm (I wish it could have been hotter though…). The truffle added a hint of fragrance overall. The lobster bisque was rich in flavors and creamy in texture. The foam tones down the saltiness of the bisque, which was good.
Along with the lobster cappuccino, the waiter brought a basket of bread for us to choose. I opted for the fine herbs baguette, which I think they could’ve done better. The bread was hard and a bit stale (I think). I had a hard time swallowing it without drinking water.
Appetizer: White butter salmon marquise, gravlax, zucchini balls, and pea tendrils – The salmon was processed to a very smooth texture, which just spread out in the mouth. The gravlax adds the saltiness to the entire dish, as the salmon marquise doesn’t seem to have any seasonings. The white butter sauce is a lot lighter than I expected.
Appetizer: Seafood and scampi broth with lemongrass and Thai bail, and served along with small fish dim sum, Gaspesie seaweed salad, and marinated tofu – The presentation of this dish was awesome. The broth came in a teapot, and was poured into the bowl upon serving. However, I wasn’t too sure the entire concept of the dish. It seems to be an Asian-inspired dish, but the broth was really bland. The bits and pieces seems like they were just there for decorations. The most flavorful item was the half quail egg.
Main: Roasted cornish hen stuffed with wild mushrooms, and served with potato mousseline, green asparagus tips, and roasted garlic – The chicken was so tender and moist. The stuffed mushroom was well-seasoned. However, I think that it’s too finely chopped that it lost the texture of the mushrooms. The potato mousse, which is just a fancy name of mashed potato, was smooth and light. The flavor was bland, as I felt like I was just eating plain steamed potatoes.
Main: Smoked butternut squash risotto, topped with fresh goat cheese, small crouton, and roasted pumpkin seeds – This was the best risotto I’ve ever had. It was creamy, perfect with goat cheese, and the croutons added the crunchy texture. The rice was cooked to al dante.
After our main courses, the waiter asked if we would like to have some cheese (with additional cost), and we thought “why not?”. According to the chef-owner Jérôme Ferrer, they are one of the only restaurants in Montreal that has a cheese cellar. They have a wide selection of cheese, from soft to hard, and sourced from Canada.
The cheese is served with dried figs, dried apricot, walnuts, and crackers. I love soft cheese, so I opted for Tomme à Rudy, which is a soft cheese just like camembert. My friend likes hard, aged cheese, so she chose Tête à Papineau. I’m not a cheese expert, but both cheeses were good to me.
And a meal is not completed without desserts! The waiter brought the “barbe à papa” (aka cotton candy), meringue, and madeleine, which came in those Chinese food take-out box. I feel like since the restaurant emphasizes on the presentation of the food, they could’ve done better for the presentation of the desserts. The madeleines were cold (obviously made in batches), and dried. I still preferred the madeleine from Maison Boulud.
When we thought it was the end of the meal, the waitress brought a plate of sweets!
I chose the creme brûlée. It was good; smooth and creamy. It’s made with fresh vanilla seeds!
Overall, the experience was not bad, and quite a good deal for lunch as the dinner is quite expensive. The service was definitely impeccable. Half way through the lunch, the waitress brought an envelope to the table, which contains a note from the chef. We thought it’s a sweet gesture for a restaurant to do so to its customers. The food definitely don’t make it to the top list of my own restaurant ranking. However, I am willing to go back to try out other items, such as the scallops.
1227 de la montagne, Montréal
Tel: (514) 398-9229