A lot of hype surrounded the official opening of Kyo Bar Japonais that was opened in Old Montreal by the Antonopoulos group. Lucky for us, our Sensei was invited to the official opening event and because he loves us, added us to the guest list as his plus two. And though Sensei often complains about Divas (we drink too much, talk too much, negatively affect his relationships with women, etc), he secretly loves us.
This was our first official food event and if you’re going to do it, do it right! Yes we were nervous, barely knew what to expect and knew only a few people there but we were ready to be Divas. So we headed off to Kyo Bar Japonais, located in the Hotel Place D’Armes after changing in the washrooms at work and dashing out before anyone could see us. We arrived to find a red carpet and velvet ropes greeting the guests at Kyo’s official opening and ornate gates leading the gawkers to a beautiful garden on the side of the restaurant.
We got in line to get our bracelets and headed towards the Japanese styled garden that was done up for the event. Decorated with red lanterns, Japanese drums and stilt walkers, the atmosphere was set. We were a little shy since we were at our first event so naturally we went to one of the outside bars and settled our nerves with a glass of white wine each and since it was warm outside and it’s important to keep hydrated, we soon had our second glass of white wine.
As we waited for our Sensei to arrive, we had our first bite of food that was being passed around by waiters. The scallop ceviche was perfect for the warm evening. Fresh, cool and meaty, it was full of flavour and we are usually picky with our scallops ceviche because the scallops are often tasteless. Kyo had already begun the night by impressing us! Other delectable bites of the night included a fried tofu served with a Japanese sauce that was delicious, and formidable grilled beef tongue with a juicy Korean sauce. You know that the Divas can never get enough tongue! The thin slices of tongue were cooked perfectly; the meat was tender and not dry and was sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. The Divas definitely had this amuse bouche several times.
We soon spotted our Sensei in the crowd and joined him. We got another glass of wine and enjoyed the ambiance around us. The food and drinks continued being passed around outside and we decided to head inside to try the sushi. The event was being held both in the Japanese garden and within the restaurant.
Stone walls, lanterns and dark paneling make the restaurant feel warm and inviting. We headed to the sushi counter where the chefs were working their magic. Surrounded by bowls of edamame, the sushi was presented on clean white plates. We had several types of sushi, served at room temperature. Most people eat sushi cold but really, this is the way to do it so you can actually taste the fish. And it was all very fresh, light and delicious. We also indulged in a sake cocktail with tonic and lemon zest which paired nicely with the sushi.
We headed back outside to the garden and on our way, sampled perfect little crispy bites of fried chicken, served with a garlic aioli sauce which lightened it up, though the chicken was not at all greasy. One of our favourite food bites of the night were the donuts. We could not get enough of these addictive sugared pillows and made sure every time a waiter passed with a tray we’d have one. Light and crispy at the same time, the doughnut sat on a pool of yuzu flavoured condensed milk that was finger-licking good.
We also enjoyed the cold ramen noodle salad but apparently we ate it too quickly and did not snap a picture in time! At this time we were in such a good mood, high from the festivities that we forgot that we were food bloggers and not two girls just having a wonderful evening. The event was fabulous, we were very happy to be there and the experience was wonderful.
Finding our Sensei again, it was decided we’d go for drinks to the rooftop terrace of the hotel. Packed, a good vibe and a breathtaking view that makes you fall in love with your city and love the Diva life, it was the perfect spot to end our night. We ordered cocktails and our Sensei was quickly developing ulcers because every time he introduces us to his circle of friends, including a paisan of Diva #2, they instantly love us. We even tried to help him seduce a lady but somehow we failed at that too and she ended up leaving early, maybe even with someone else… sorry Sensei.
Lucky for him, we also ran into Mr. Wonderful and his friends, whom we were soon sitting with and giving our sweet Sensei a break. The Divas like to divert their attention to different victims, and Mr. Wonderful is surely a victim of our many plots. We enjoyed more cocktails and colourful banter, Diva #1 can be a bit avant garde at times. To say that the topics of conversation were memorable is an understatement.
Being Divas, before attending this lavish event, the Divas decided to show up to Kyo and try out their menu on their own. Diva #1 and Dr. Body Shots went to Kyo Bar Japonais a few days before the event and were impressed with everything that they had.
The grilled beef tongue that we enjoyed at the event was also ordered on our first night at Kyo and it was simply fabulous. We were impressed with the portion of beef tongue, quite large for a tapas. The shrimp was another great choice, it was crispy without being over fried and the wasabi mayonnaise was a delicious combination, this appetizer was definitely one of our favourites.
Next came our order of nigiri and caviar, the red tuna (maguro) was fresh and the perfect room temperature. Dr. Body Shots and Diva #1 simply loved the sweet jumbo shrimp nigiri (ama ebi) and we were soon wondering why we had not ordered more nigiri. Last we had the salmon caviar, the Ikura, which we thought was too strong and not particularly our style but we had never tried this type of caviar before. The Divas are not ready for caviar at its purest form; see we aren’t total snobs!
The maki arrived at the end, we ordered the more typical kamikaze rolls of salmon, tempura, avocado with spicy mayo and masago. Fresh and delicious, this has to be our favourite maki. We also tried the more original kyo maki that was a combination of caramelized onions, tempura, cheese, avocado, spicy mayo and the more surprising beef sashimi. The cheese was a touch overpowering but the maki itself was delicious as we had never tried beef sashimi in maki. The Kyo-styled maki is definitely something to try if you want to try something more original and are tired of the typical sushi combinations.
Last but not least Diva #1 and Dr. Body Shots ordered the chocolate bread pudding with a green tea English cream for dipping. The plate was impressive, the litchi halves in their little cocoons added another Asian element to the plate and we were soon devouring the moist little cakes. Diva #1 and Dr. Body Shots had left Kyo feeling full, happy and the Divas were now ready for the opening event just a few days later.
The Divas will definitely go back to Kyo as what we had on both of our visits impressed us and we have our eye on the bacon-wrapped grapes. We may even indulge in a bottle of sake from their extensive list.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 711 Cote De La Place D'Armes, Antonopoulos, Bacon Wrapped Grapes, Bar, Bar Japonais, Beef Sashimi, Beef Tongue, Cocktails, Côte de la Pl D'Armes, Donuts, Fried Chicken, Fried Tofu, H2Y 2X6, Hotel Place D’Armes, Izakaya, Japanese, Kyo Bar Japonais, Kyo Event, Kyo Montreal, Kyo Old Montreal, Kyo Place D'Armes, Maki, Montreal, Montreal Event, Montreal Restaurant, Nigiri, Old Montreal, Old Port, Opening Event, Place D'Armes, Place D'Armes Hotel, Ramen Noodles, Reservations Needed, Sake, Sashimi, Scallop Ceviche, Sushi, Tavern, Terrence Ding Ting, wine, Yuzu