Flyjin is the new place to go and be seen in Old Montreal. When the Divas heard that Flyjin was a new trendy restaurant with a great nightlife in the Old Port; we expected more of the same, let’s face it, Old Montreal has tons of restaurants and bars. We were pleasantly surprised to see that we were wrong. The manager at Flyjin contacted us to sample their new menu, and a testament to the restaurant is that we returned twice more within the next 10 days.
Located in Old Montreal on St-Pierre, Flyjin certainly sets the atmosphere from the moment you walk over the threshold and down the stairs leading you to the restaurant and large bar. Diva #2 arrived first and was greeted by Alexandre who graciously took the time to point out the different aspects of Flyjin, including the spray paint of a lunar eclipse in the hallway done by a local artist on gold paper. Beautiful!
The atmosphere of a speakeasy and exclusivity continued with the more intimate seating behind the bar. Cocooned by the stone walls, behind the bar two seats are set every few feet or so, where the main bartender, Nick, took care of us for the night.
He explained their cocktails and suggested two to suit our bitter/sour craving, the Yellow Snake and the Zen Buddha. Each drink was refreshing. The Yellow Snake had a bit of a kick to it, though subtle, and you definitely tasted the Angostura Bitters. The Zen Buddha was more on the sour side with a cucumber and curry blend, which was freshened up with the mint.
Nick then explained which items from the menu we would be trying from the set menu they set up for us. Since it was heavy on the fish side, we opted for a dry white wine and Nick suggested the Oyster Bay.
Our dinner started with the Flyjin tropical salad. You know how we feel about salads, usually boring, but we were pleasantly surprised here. A very large portion, the salad was made up of julienned mango, carrots, cucumbers and refreshing fresh herbs. It was sprinkled with tapioca and the vinaigrette was light, crisp and refreshing. It was a decent salad but the rest of the food was just amazing, so it is hard to recommend this dish.
We were then presented with an elongated rectangular plate with the hamachi. It was served with heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, a fresh tomato based salsa topped with taro chips, and peach truffles which looked exactly like stuffed green olives but were crunchy and added a different dimension of texture. This was the belly portion of the hamachi which was seared and seasoned. It was also cut thick, which we liked, and it was dotted with salmon caviar. The fish was very fresh and delicious and played off the other elements of the dish.
The salmon dish was next, presented with a beet and taro root purée, lightly sautéed spinach and mushrooms and pomegranate seeds. The salmon was cut in large chunks and out of all of the raw dishes, it was the favourite of the night. The salmon was spiced and marinated to perfection, seared lightly on one side. The hot purée was creamy and velvety and the vegetables, which change depending on what the chef finds at the market, were a great combination.
Next we had the Peking duck rolls. We were happy to have this dish included in the tasting menu, considering our fondness for duck. The duck was cooked nicely and paired well with the crisp carrot slaw inside the roll. It came with a dipping sauce that added a nice touch. It was not fried, which was great because it made the Peking duck stand out. Wrapped in a tortilla, it was a fun appetizer.
Our second hamachi dish of the night was the hamachi neck, yellowtail collar. A large portion, the skin was extra crispy and the flesh flaky. This known as the best part of the fish, it is located behind the head and gills. It was saltier than we liked but the crisp skin was addictive, and the meat so tender. It was served with a red and white cabbage slaw, beets that were a little sweet, and a sweet chili dipping sauce. It was a little too salty for Diva#1’s palate but tasty nonetheless. We were told to save room for the best dish and we are glad we listened to Nick.
The black cod was by far the best dish of the night and definitely worth ordering. The fish was soft, flaky and buttery. The edges were slightly caramelized with a marinade made of miso and the truffle oil added extra flavour. It was served with a red beet purée, red and yellow diced beets, and taro chips. It is not a dish that we would have ordered on our own but we will definitely get it again when we return. When Diva #1 returned a week later, she was disappointed to hear that they had run out because it was definitely our top dish of our first night at Flyjin.
We were definitely full after our meal but dessert was next. We took a little break to gossip, plot and finish out bottle of wine. We were presented with six bite size desserts, each better than the last. We started with the passion fruit, which was our least favourite of the six. We moved on to the mango mousse which was light and topped with a sliver of mango, the perfect entrée to the raspberry mango mousse which was one of our favourites, and was topped with a fresh raspberry. The almond cake was next and had the texture of mousse but thankfully, it did not have an overpowering almond taste, just enough to make it light. The truffle had a deep, rich chocolate taste and was our favourite of the night. The last dessert bite was the mocha cake which had a ferrero rocher-like bottom and was cool and light. The desserts are the chef’s choice, change frequently, and are worth ordering.
Our meal was complete and we were more than satisfied. The service from the moment we stepped inside was incredible, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was definitely engrossing. So much so that Diva #1 returned with Vegan Vixen and some delicious men just two days later, this time just for drinks. Flyjin is not just a restaurant, after dinner a lot of the seats are cleared, house music blares; this is the recipe for an amazing night. The DJ is great, the people beautiful and the crowd is not made up of 18 year olds but wonderful people in their late twenties and thirties. We were impressed, so much so, that a week later, Diva#1, Sweet Pea, Rambo and a few others went to Flyjin for P’tit Soeur’s birthday.
We tried more cocktails, the favourite being the Stairway to Buddha which arrived with a cinnamon stick, set on fire in your drink. The drink had spice in it and it was wonderful. We also tried the Deep Clover Leaf with a delicious raspberry purée and Thai basil. The Divas do not experiment with cocktails often but Flyjin has some wonderful combinations. P’tit Soeur ordered the Dragon Passion which really tasted like dragon fruit and had quite a kick to it. We were soon sipping each other’s cocktails and enjoying our night with Flyjin’s amazing vibe.
Diva #1 and Sweet Pea were ordering together and started their meal with a dozen fresh New Brunswick oysters. Flyjin had many types of raw oysters but we stuck to our beloved New Brunswick oysters. At 46$ a dozen, they were pricey, but they were topped with a splash of the freshest tomato compote. Nothing needed to be added to these amazing oysters except a little lemon, they were perfection and the compote complimented the oysters. Flyjin also has Wafu baked oysters but alas Diva #1 and Sweet Pea like their oysters raw, often when you order a baked oyster you never taste the oyster at all, so we played it safe.
We have heard good things about Flyjin’s dumplings so we knew that we wanted to order them, Sweet Pea, Diva #1 and Rambo ordered both the chicken and pork dumplings. They were tasty but nothing in comparison to their fresh fish plates so we were surprised that these were a Flyjin favourite when Flyjin just has so much more to offer.
Diva #1 and Sweet Pea then ordered the salmon sashimi, it was a generous portion soaking in a sweet and sour sauce with taro root chips curled on top. It was so refreshing and a perfect combination with Flyjin’s cocktails. Their raw menu is truly spectacular, every piece of fish is so fresh and the portions are quite large. We devoured this dish and Diva #1 began craving their salmon tataki that she had enjoyed on a previous visit.
P’tit Soeur and her beau ordered the special of the night which was a salmon tartare. Though she threatened that she wouldn’t share, she loves Diva #1 and Sweet Pea, and tossed us a bite. Served on a crispy baguette, the salmon tartare was chunky, fresh and topped with that beautiful tomato compote from our oysters, what tasted like peach truffles topped each slice of baguette and some fresh herbs. We were quite impressed and even managed to squeeze another one out of the little brat.
Our last dish was the Albacore Tataki New Yuzu style. There were both pros and cons to this dish, the dish was presented beautifully, a generous amount of two types of caviar (red and black) ornamented the thick pieces of Albacore tuna. The orange slices were delicious when eaten with the tuna and the slices of pickled ginger added freshness. Unfortunately, the tuna needed marinating because it was rather bland and required all of these adornments to have a flavour. When you tasted the tuna alone it was decent, but incomparable to their salmon. Out of all of the fish dishes at flyjin, this one was the least impressive. On the other hand it came with these majestic little skewered bites of what tasted like grilled calamari with an interesting soy sauce based sauce. This part of the dish was quite spectacular!
What is interesting about Flyjin is that their menu items change frequently, so for example, the Chef will prepare salmon tataki in different ways depending on the freshest market ingredients. Just a week before the Divas had a different salmon tataki than what we tried during P’tit Soeur’s birthday. They were both mouth watering and truly the best of their raw dishes. Unfortunately there was a service mix-up and we were all done eating before our friend received her tataki. The waitress compensated by bringing her some salmon tartare and not charging her for either salmon dish once the salmon tataki arrived. Although we were aggravated because our friend was eating alone, when we were long done, Flyjin did what they could to compensate and for that we were grateful.
What is a birthday dinner without dessert? Unfortunately Sweet Pea chose the cappuccino cheesecake for P’tit Soeur’s birthday. It is unfortunate because P’tit Soeur is lactose intolerant so though it was delicious, she could not eat it. We did not fret too much, we helped her polish it of… we are nice like that.
It was another great dinner at Flyjin, more importantly it allowed Diva#1 to compare both of her meals, once as an invited guest on a Thursday, and another time in a large group on a Friday night. Flyjin impressed her both times, and she would love to return to eat with Vegan Vixen who loves fish. The best part about Flyjin is the nightlife, after our dinner, the tables were cleared and we were ready to party until the wee hours of the morning. Vegan Vixen, JB and others showed up late in the night to party hard. Is it hard to get in after dinner? Sometimes. Do you need guest list? You should get it. Is it worth it? Yes. It is a testament that we returned three times in 10 days, twice for dinner and once more for drinks. And trust us, we will be back again.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: Asian, Bar, Club, Cocktails, Cod, Dancing, DJ, Dumplings, Edamame, Filet Mignon, Fish, Flyjin, Hamachi, Hamachi Sashimi, Horse Carpaccio, House Music, Japanese, Lounge, Miso Black Cod, Montreal, Old Montreal, Old Port, oysters, Peking Duck, Raw, Reservations Needed, Salmon Sashimi, Salmon Tataki, Sashimi, Seafood, Splendid, St-Pierre, Takitos, Thai Basil, Tropical Salad, wine, Yuzu