A big fan of Ethiopian food, M has been longing to find a good place in Montreal to share with the entire world. Just for you, we trekked all the way to Restaurant Nil Bleu on St-Denis to bring you, in 2D, the wonders of Addis Ababa. Encompassing almost 80% of the restaurant’s offering, the tasting menu ($60 for two) gives a generous and lip-smacking overview of Ethiopian cuisine. Whether your guest is vegan or a meat lover, the place caters to both practices. Now, sit back, scroll down and discover a place with attentive staff, comfy couches and most importantly: great food.
Along our wine ($7-$13/glass), our waiter brought us steaming hot towels for our hands. Ethiopian cuisine indeed requires the use of the oldest tools of all – the thumb and the index. Food is eaten with sourdough flatbreads called injera, slightly spongy and made of fermented flour. Let M give you a demo.
Unroll the bread.No. Don’t stretch it.Use the injera to scoop the stew or salad. Voilà! For appetizers, we opted for the vegan trio: a tomato salad with bits of ginger, mixed stir-fried peppers and onions, and best of the best, a homemade chickpea purée. The bouticha (a garlic-seasoned hummus) was incredible. Forget the days of grainy, crunchy and undercooked chick peas. At Nil Bleu, it’s all smooth and buttery heaven. Ethereally smooth and creamy, the hummus was a great contrast – texture-wise – to the marinated eggplants found underneath. If you’re an all-time garlic trouper with taste buds that can detect flavors beyond three cloves, you may notice a subtle nutty side to the dip. Chitchatting our lives while we struggled to finish our second serving of injera, we debated the probability we’d be able to finish the main course. How optimistic we were! A gigantic circular plate, with every kinds of stews you could possibly dream of, landed on our table. Lamb and spiced chicken with berbere sauce, shredded filet mignon in a ginger sauce, zucchinis in a house alicha sauce spiced with turmeric, garlic and ginger, and stirred spinaches all stared at us. Challenge taken, we dug in! Very very full, we still couldn’t resist a sweet bite to end the evening. Our waiter came by with a platter of square cakes on sticks ($3) from which we picked the raspberry dark chocolate buddy. Too sweet for me, but I’m sure others would enjoy.All in all, we had a wonderful evening at Restaurant Nil Bleu. Ethiopian food is a cuisine that merits more attention, especially when places like Nil Bleu make it so accessible. The staff, used to newbies, takes the time to explain every plate and make sure the meals will suit your palate. This seems to be an appropriate place to bring a date to impress (M and I were probably the only non-romantic pairing that evening). Just make sure s/he is not garlic averse ;).
|3706 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L7
To never miss a post again, follow Mtl Food Snob on Facebook!