If you’re an 80s kid, chances are you’ve reached the stage of life where you’d prefer to curl up with your cat and watch the Mindy Project rather than attend yet another social event where you’ll have to pretend interest in a stranger’s trivial life.
But hear me out. Le Club des Gastronomes is worth braving the cold and forgoing your Weightwatcher burrito for. Yes, the meeting brings together a bunch of strangers, but all are smart, pretty, and driven by a common appreciation for great wine and food. The idea behind CdG is to discover a new restaurant every month, which pairs the menu with some fine, private, imported wine. The wines you’ll get to try are real gems (which doesn’t necessarily mean expensive) because the men behind the project are none other than Vivien, the owner of Comptoir France, along with a few diehard epicurean friends of his. For a reasonable $50, you get appetizers+main+dessert and glasses of vino to match.This week’s edition took place at Plein Sud, a cozy southern French kitchen right on Mont-Royal. On today’s tasting menu? Sauvignon blanc Grangeneuve 2012, Classic Red Ventoux Marrenon 2013 and my personal favourite of the night, a lovely rosé Château Beaupré D2. Fruity and delicate, it was the perfect choice to get everyone feeling social. But just in case you’re the really reserved type, worry not, Vivien’s got your back. He’ll make sure no one stands alone in a dark corner; he personally introduces everyone to each other. After devouring pretty much every single risotto bite I could during the apéro, the chaps in charge of the evening happily invited us all to take a seat for dinner. Sole fillet for me, Daube provinçale for my neighbour (a classic French stew braised in wine and herbes de Provence. The Daube, not the neighbour.). The fish was a win. Tender and juicy, it was placed on a decadent bed of risotto with a touch of garlic. On the vino side, I had already indulged in the Ventoux, so I stuck with the red. Judge me all you want, it was actually a pleasant pairing. Les Classiques is Ventoux’s most accessible range (both in taste and in price), with reds made from Grenache, a grape low in tannin and softer on the palate. If you’re a red newbie like me, I’d highly recommend a Classique as a friendly introduction to the dark side. While half the guests left momentarily for a smoke between courses, we played musical chairs and went to meet the other half of the room for dessert. Over chocolate fondant and generous portions of crème brûlée, we exchanged restaurant recommendations, poked fun at my picture-taking compulsion and, obviously, enjoyed a few more glasses. All in all, I’ve rarely met such a pleasant crowd of people and really encourage you to sign up. Case in point: I arrived around 7:30pm and only left five hours later (and even then, not because I wanted to, but because I was about to miss the last metro). Date and time for the next meeting are yet to be confirmed, so follow their facebook page and stay tuned. It’s a date 🙂
Restaurant Plein Sud
222 Avenue du Mont Royal Est, Montréal, Québec H2T
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