Bouillon Bilk – Latin Quartier

I had met a really good friend in Montreal standing at the bus stop. It was a little weird and random, but if I hadn’t said anything, we wouldn’t have met each other. It would have been such a shame because we’ve been to so many places to eat, and we are still finding new places. She actually recommended me to try Bouillon Bilk as she had a great time with her parents when they came to visit. I had gone with tfung once and with said friend another time. This restaurant is quite expensive, so it is definitely not a frequent visit. However they definitely take care in presentation (which is a huge plus for me), and delicacy. Their service is also excellent (as it should be for the price!). On the first visit, we had ordered an appetizer and entrée each. We had skipped on the dessert because we wanted to eat elsewhere after.

For me, I had the Beet Salad to start

beet salad

Beet Salad

I thought the presentation was absolutely amazing. The fact that they took care to use a cutter to make all the beets circular, but different sizes added a lot of visual stimulation. The beets were also different colour, making it so much more interesting, as well as adding different flavours for the same type of vegetable. I’m actually a huge fan of this because it really allows you to taste how different each specific type tastes from another. This can help you when you create your own dishes. Moreover, I had been very interested in quinoa at this time (about a year ago), and had a taste in this dish. They actually fried it a little and gave it a brown colour and an awesome crunch that was just enough for this salad. The salad was accompanied with Halloumi Cheese which I had never had. It was slightly fried to give a brown complexion, and was very mild-flavoured. It also had a spongey consistency, similar to cheese curds. Finally the salad was topped off with fresh raspberries (one of my favourite fruits) and a balsamic vinaigrette. I thought that the presentation made this dish so much better than it would have been if it had just been thrown together. The ingredients are sparse, but all the different colours and placement made eating it so much more enjoyable. In terms of taste, it tasted as you would think, no surprises there. tfung ordered a bone marrow for his appetizer.

Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow

It was fittingly presented in a bone, likely to be a femur. The bone marrow was mixed in with escargot and celery pieces to give it some crunch. tfung wasn’t too impressed with it, even though it was quite tasty. He said it wasn’t as rich as he would have imagined, which was actually good because his main dish was incredibly rich and flavourful. To add flavour, they included garlic in the dish, but wasn’t too overpowering. For our mains, tfung had Guinea Fowl with Polenta and I had Scallops with Mushrooms.

guinea fowl 2

Guinea Fowl with Polenta

guinea fowl

Guinea Fowl with Polenta

The guinea fowl was incredibly tender yet still had a good chewy texture. The skin was also still intact, which added a more bold flavour as it was roasted. Topped off with foie gras and a rich reduction, this made for a hearty dish. IT was jam-packed with flavour, but in a good way. They added walnuts and figs to balance this, which was an excellent touch. Personally I love fruits in main courses as it adds sweetness and a different texture than vegetables can. Especially with fruits like figs or plums. The polenta was done to a smooth texture, and of course was what toned down the flavour in this dish, as it doesn’t carry much taste.

scallops

Scallops with Oyster Mushrooms

Although I usually am not impressed with scallops and think that they’re not worth the price at a restaurant, I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by this dish. The sauce definitely made this dish. The waiter had hinted that a lot of butter was put into it, so it made sense it was so fragrant and rich. It was a butter-mushroom infusion, I believe and was absolutely amazing with every bite. Definitely if you don’t like mushroom, you shouldn’t get this dish. Again the presentation is incredible, and I did get quite a few pieces of scallops. With the scallops, there were grilled zucchinis and oyster mushrooms which were obvious additions due to the mushroom sauce. The scallops were cooked to the point where the inside was almost raw. Only one side of the scallop was seared which I found interesting and unique. I wouldn’t say that the textures or colours in this dish were particularly enticing, but I really enjoyed it. As a tradition to this restaurant, the servers will personally explain every and each dish on the menu as well as any additional specials they had that night. They also never forget to tell you the prices of the specials, which with all the information they have to know, I found to be quite a feat to achieve. On my second visit with my good friend C., we went with a few more friends, and was a bigger party. We were basically seated at the same place I was on my visit with tfung, so I felt a sense of familiarity.

2013-10-05 20.57.23

Tomato Salad

To start, I shared a tomato salad with my friend. Again, they had different coloured and types of tomato (romano, cherry) which I love. There was also a small sprinkling of arugula accompanied with small spheres of canteloupe. Visually, it wasn’t as good as I thought they could have made it. Tomatoes are fruits/vegetables (depending on which side you’re arguing from) that can be extremely vibrant. Yet they chose to use some bland colours and it just didn’t do it for me. Taste-wise, it was also bland. They didn’t pick the tomatoes that encompassed different and distinct flavours. Especially the yellow larger tomatoes, they had almost no taste. Maybe it was my obsession with tomatoes, or maybe I had too high expectations. Either way, I was definitely disappointed by this.

2013-10-05 21.25.10

 

For my main, I went for the good old ricotta cheese ravioli on top of some pieces of lamb, served with tomatoes and pine nuts. Ravioli can be tricky to get just right and for some reason, I’ve had some really bad ravioli before. These ones were definitely what I would consider to be up to par and as they should be. The pasta was soft enough to not be difficult to chew through but definitely had texture. The cheese wasn’t too overpowering which was wonderful for me since I’m not a cheese lover. *insert boos and tomato throwing here*. The lamb was tender, not too gamey but wasn’t too overly infused with flavours to completely overthrow and off-balance the whole dish. I actually really liked that there wasn’t any one main player in this, and that they all worked together. When I ate it, I made sure I had a piece of everything (except maybe the tomato since that was a little sparse), and it was quite good.

I feel that although I was disappointed with the tomato salad, the restaurant’s expertise with food overall is definitely to be trusted. There is no doubt that the dishes they produce are of high quality, and they change the menu often enough to keep things interesting. At least for the frequency that I come, it wasn’t that I was met with the exact same menu. I’d say about half the menu had changed, and the ones that remained had been tweaked.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 9.3/10
Atmosphere: Expensive, simple
Price: $40-60 per person

Bouillon Bilk on Urbanspoon

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