The Divas were invited to celebrate the 1st anniversary of Old Montreal’s La Champagnerie and the opening of their new terrasse. We had been to La Champagnerie last year when it first opened and had enjoyed some bubbly and their tapas style menu. We love a good party, especially a birthday party, not that we need a reason to get dressed up, but if you’re sipping bubbly looking glamorous is a must.
We headed to La Champagnerie on St. Paul East right after work. As the only champagne bar in Montreal, it caused quite a stir when it opened a year ago for champagne aficionados. We don’t know much about champagne, but we know that we look absolutely darling sipping it in the shortest of dresses and the highest of heels.
The outside of La Champagnerie was already packed, their terrace was set up on the sidewalk, reminiscent of European terraces, and we were enthralled. The media event was from 5pm to 9pm with bubbly and canapés, and then the general public was invited to join the party afterwards. Bubbly in hand, we roamed around the bar, chasing the waiters serving canapés, drinking tons of bubbly, all while having a fabulous Diva-esque time.
We didn’t recognize any of the usual bloggers and media personnel that we tend to run into at events, until we spotted our favourite blogger (other than our beloved Sensei), Day Jobs and the Nightlife and his Plus One. They made the night even more fabulous, we spent it drinking, snacking and chatting with them, all while throwing back champagne, laughing loudly and having a marvelous time. The sun was shining, long Montreal summer days were back, and La Champagnerie was truly the place to be. Sadly we had missed the welcome cocktail, of course we had been running late, but we weren’t too disgruntled about it since we tried a diverse variety of the sparking white wines that they were offering.
We had the perfect seats – steps away from the bar and close enough to hear the speeches and watch the sabering of the 9L Salmanazar bottle of champagne to celebrate the restaurant’s anniversary. And what a bottle of champagne, the poor burly bartender worked out his forearms lifting the bottle and pouring it in champagne glasses for the anniversary celebration. We didn’t pity him too much, men are used to working out their forearms…
It was hard to hunt the canapés while keeping our fabulous seats, so we came up with a plan – Diva #2 and Day Jobs and the Nightlife would man the seats, all while keeping an eye out for the handsome waiters and their trays of canapés so that the spry Diva #1 could track them down. Meanwhile, the Plus One would ensure that our glasses were always refilled. Diva #2 and Day Jobs and the Nightlife were happy to note that the younglings were catering to their elders, but Diva #1 simply described the two “elders” manning the table as crabby and arthritic 😉
We never had a chance to try the salmon tartare but we did try the other canapés that were offered throughout the night. The goat cheese arancini was the first canapé that we tried and we loved it! The creamy arancini sat in a pool of a slightly spicy sauce. The exterior was crunchy and the inside was perfectly gooey, the goat cheese really came through and was smooth and delicious.
Day Jobs and the Nightlife and Plus One told us that we had to try the scallop ceviche and we’re glad that we tracked down the waiter serving it. The scallop ceviche rested on a thickened tomato based sauce, the plump scallop was refreshing and topped with a shrimp. The bite was light, cool and paired perfectly with our umpteenth glass of champagne. It was truly a night for the books as Diva #1 ran around the bar bringing canapés back to our table.
In keeping with the raw theme, we managed to snag a couple oysters, another perfect pairing with champagne. Who needs peanut butter and jelly as a duo when you have champagne and oysters? Plump and briny, they were perfect, we could have eaten a couple of dozen on our own. But our favourite canapé of the night was the shrimp tempura. The shrimp were impressively large, the crunchy tempura was not too greasy, and they were delectably served with a soy sauce dressing that added a little bit of salt to complete each bite. The shrimp was tender, juicy, and bursting with flavour and our table shared many of these puffed shrimp.
We love raw meat so we were happy to get some of the beef tartare. Served on a crispy thin baguette slice, the beef was generously piled on the crisp, it was tender, and meaty, though a little on the salty side for our taste. La Champagnerie also offered sabering for patrons interested in wielding a sword and it came with a history lesson. Sabering became popular with Napoleon Bonaparte who loved champagne and would keep cases with his army as he rode into battle. When celebrating a battle’s success, General Bonaparte did not have time to slowly uncork his champagne thus the art of sabering was born. He was a small man with a long sword…talk about a Napoleon complex.
Sadly we didn’t have the opportunity to saber a bottle ourselves but we certainly enjoyed watching one timid girl try it and succeed. In all, we had a fabulous night at La Champagnerie’s 1st anniversary celebration with great food and ever flowing bubbly!
And we couldn’t ask for better company than Day Jobs and the Nightlife and his Plus One, especially when he went on a humorous tirade when he spotted his arch nemesis. We are girls; we are all about having an arch nemsis! Truly they made our night that much more fun, recounting the first time we met and Day Jobs and the Nightlife had played us…nicknaming us the Fool Divas, read about that fiasco HERE. We left La Champagnerie a little worse for wear, early on we had lost count of the number of glasses of champagne that we had, but these events thrive on over indulgence, and the Divas are truly women of excess.
Tagged: 343 St. Paul East, Arancini, Art of Sabering, Bar à Sabrage, Beef Tartare, Bubbly, Champagne, Champagne Bar Montreal, Day Jobs and the Nightlife, H2Y 1H3, La Champagnerie, La Champagnerie Montreal, Montreal Bar, Montreal Food, Old Montreal, Old Montreal Bar, Old Port, oysters, Saber, Sabering, Salmon Tartare, Scallop Ceviche, Shrimp Tempura, tapas, Tartare, unandebulles