Often times when restaurants have a lot of hype surrounding their opening, they don’t live up to their high expectations. Foiegwa was one of those restaurants, it quickly became the new trendy spot in Montreal, Instagram was exploding with pictures of their dishes, and their speakeasy style cocktail bar next door was the newest place to see and be seen. As excited as we were to try them out, at the same time the bar was set high and we didn’t really think that they would reach it…
We’re happy to say how wrong we were! Foiegwa lived up to its expectations as soon as we walked to their modern French bistro décor. Although ambiance and décor is important, the Divas are all about the food so the true test were their dishes. The menu was interesting, some French bistro classics, along with some unique dishes that tickled our fancy.
But first let’s talk about the cocktails, Atwater Cocktail Club (ACC) is their speakeasy right next door, so you know that their cocktails are going to be anything but ordinary. The Thai Kwan Do is a gin based cocktail with curacao, ginger, a sliver of carrot and cucumber – full of refreshing Thai flavours! The Scarlet cocktail is made with vodka, Pimm’s, aperol and blood orange for a burst of citrus – this was our favourite.
Your night should begin at Foiegwa, and end at their adjoining speakeasy bar, Atwater Cocktail Club, where you would continue your night in a more bar-like setting. You can actually enjoy some of Foiegwa’s menu but sit at Atwater Cocktail Club, but we would recommend that you sit in the restaurant for your dinner and then move along to ACC for your cocktails. Fret not, there are a few ACC cocktails at Foiegwa too!
Snails are an old staple of French bistro cuisine that you sadly don’t see much on menus anymore but they were everywhere in the 90s. Foiegwa serves this classic appetizer with the snails, properly known as escargots, still in their shells. Served traditionally with garlic butter, Foiegwa’s escargots had a hint of pesto in every snail. It was the perfect start to our meal!
The beef tartare was perfection, with a hint of truffles and plenty of parmesan. We ordered the smaller size and convinced P’tit Soeur to try it – she just doesn’t see the appeal of raw beef, but we know that we’ll convert her soon! This beef tartare was creamy, with mayo holding everything together, perfect for an appetizer, but it may have been too much as a main. Topped with crispy potatoes, we always appreciate the textural difference of adding something crispy on top of tender, soft, tartare.
When we see bone marrow on a menu we swoon, and we’re not above being completely uncivilized and sucking the remnants of bone marrow out of the bone. If you’re going to put bone marrow on the menu, you have to accept that some people are going to eat it the right (albeit crazy) way. The bone marrow in its bone was topped with a bordelaise sauce – a traditional French wine sauce made with bone marrow, red wine and butter in a demi-glace sauce. A hint of truffle enhanced the taste of the marrow and of course it was served with coarse salt!
Their spaghetti in a black truffle and butter sauce was exquisite. The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente, the egg yolk added another level of richness when we mixed it into the spaghetti and there was plenty of parmigiana reggiano. If you love the taste of truffles, this is the dish for you! Some may find it too rich, but we found it perfection.
Foiegwa should have the word truffles incorporated in its name, as opposed to foie gras because the restaurant is really all about delicious truffles, and trust us, we’re not complaining! P’tit Frère once said that adding truffles and foie gras to cuisine does not denote a good chef because it’s simply adding the best ingredients to your dish, it does not demonstrate skill. We tend to agree but this is not the case at Foiegwa. It isn’t just the black truffle that makes their dishes! We ordered the French green beans as a side dish, served in a black truffle butter sauce, and we loved them. The beans were crispy, almost a touch raw, perfect with the buttery sauce.
We wouldn’t have ordered the cheeseburger if it wasn’t so heatedly recommended by everyone we know who has gone to Foiegwa. They aren’t only a French bistro but an American diner as well – a fusion, so having a cheeseburger on the menu was necessary! You can choose to add foie gras (and you should) or a double cheeseburger (you fatty)! The word that would describe this cheeseburger is JUICY because the meat is tender, and the sauce makes it even juicier! The aged cheddar was potent and a great addition, the au-just style sauce perfectly French. It was a great cheeseburger, we can’t say more, you just have to try it, and it’s perfect with their thin tasty fries!
We were full but we couldn’t say no to dessert, particularly a paris-brest donut, an ode to both the French bistro and American diner that they fused together to make Foiegwa. It was heavenly, not too sweet surprisingly, and very delicious! It was lighter than expected, and a perfect end to a great meal. Our only complaint? he service at Foiegwa wasn’t up to par, we were often hailing over our waitress for another cocktail, or to order dessert, and it’s a small, albeit, busy restaurant.
But your night does not have to end there because next door is ACC where you can continue drinking and enjoying your night. This back alley bar is just around the corner from Foiegwa, through a strange door in that typical speakeasy style that is becoming very popular in Montreal. The ambiance is fabulous, the décor eclectic, and the cocktails potent and unique – just the way we like our bars!
Foiegwa deserves all the love that it has been receiving as of late! We hope that it isn’t just Montreal’s newest trendy spot, but that the love grows strong and that it sticks around for quite some time. As for Atwater Cocktail Club, the cocktails were good, the ambiance stellar, but the clients are the usual young trend setters, a different group than who you will find in the restaurant, but Foiegwa and ACC offer two very different styles of soirée!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
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