You know how we feel about excessive traveling to areas outside of our usual boundaries but we do make the exception every now and then. Such was the case when we were invited to the media opening of HOMA’s newest addition, Lapin Blanc. Grant it, we had to use our GPS to find it and it sort of felt like we were discovering a new part of our city, but the Divas made it relatively on time!
Described as psychedelic chic, complete with neon paintings, black and white spirals, you got the sense that you were halfway down the rabbit hole. We ran into media friends and soon we were sipping wine and sampling the appetizers that were being passed around.
A media event is never complete without oysters. Day Jobs & the NightLife, who is from the East Coast, doesn’t like them, something we can’t understand, but that only means more for us. A little squeeze of lemon on the salty bivalves and we were in a happy mood!
We love mac n’ cheese so we were looking forward to trying the mac n cheese poppers and they didn’t disappoint. Deep fried to a crispy shell, the mac n cheese was creamy and the Espellette pepper was a nice surprise, it didn’t add much heat but it was that secret ingredient that made the dish.
A generous amount of pork rillettes was mounted on a crouton with a touch of apricot chutney to balance the salt of the meat. The mustard was a nice familiar combination with the pork and we made sure to swipe a couple of gherkins for good measure!
This was a different take on the usual tartare served on croutons, though after we both tried it, we had different reactions to it. Diva #1 made sure that Diva #2 was fed and brought her one of these appetizers from across the room while she was stuck in a corner guarding their glasses of wine. The only problem was that it was falling apart and not the best result. Whereas hers was how it was meant to be, the potato base was crispy and it held the tartare well.
The rabbit was a real treat and we’re glad they didn’t shy away from serving their namesake. Very large pieces of rabbit were served with what they call “glacée au Coq d’Or”. We don’t know exactly what it is, but it was similar to a BBQ-type glaze and delicious, and we happily licked our fingers clean!
The pumpkin risotto was creamy and comforting, though we didn’t see or taste any of the fresh green peas. The pumpkin taste wasn’t as overwhelming as one would expect which was nice and the mushrooms that topped the risotto were good but weren’t really necessary, the risotto stood out on its own.
Day Jobs & the NightLife, being the social butterfly that he is, almost gave away our seats. Apparently he can’t say no, he’s easy like that. Our first main dish from the menu was the Tonkinoise soup, a little out of place considering the rest of the dishes, but it did have a rabbit element with their rabbit-based broth. They used calamari noodles, and though they were a bit chewy, the soup was tasty nonetheless. The fried chow mein noodles also added a nice touch of crunch.
Bone marrow is not something everyone enjoys but the Divas love it. And we appreciated sitting with fashion bloggers even more because they didn’t want to try the gelatinous bone marrow. So while they ate the grilled bread, we attacked the delicious marrow in front of us, loving the combination of the earthy mushrooms, rich veal jus and the nutty Xérès vinegar. Definitely one of our favourite dishes of the night!
The next main was a surprise, essentially it was cheesy bread, but at another level. The bread held its shape and didn’t get weighed down by the cheese or the sauce. There was lots of melted cheese and the confit cherry tomatoes and veal meatballs were excellent. All that was missing was the pasta, we loved it!
The last main dish was a combination of three mains from the menu. The poutine lapin blanc is nothing like the poutine you crave when you’re hungover. This is gourmet, made with crispy polenta fries, a fresh marinara, and rabbit meat stewed with olives, a traditional combination. They used Manchebello cheese, which was slightly sweet and smooth.
Pork is not something we gravitate to on a menu but this pork dish was very good. Combined with clam chowder that added just the right amount of salt to the dish and Lapin Blanc’s version of a blooming onion, everyone at the table liked this dish, including the fashion bloggers. God bless them! There was something about the way the pork was marinated that made it less boring than the usual pork dishes that we find on menus.
The mackerel dish failed for us. The lentil salad was too cold (it was meant to be cold, we asked) but the mackerel was at room temperature which may have been the result of trying serve to everyone at the same time. We can’t say much on this dish as we never made it passed the first bite.
In what seems like a bad habit forming, as the Divas headed to the car, Day Jobs & the NightLife ran after us, yelling in the street to wait for him. We stuffed his cantankerous little body in the back seat and berated him with his significant other’s secrets that he thought no one knew but him. Oh my!
Aside from being a little too East for us, we really enjoyed the menu at Lapin Blanc. They have some great dishes that are worth a drive to HOMA. If you’re up for a night down the rabbit hole, head over to Lapin Blanc.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: Bison Tartare, Bone Marrow, Cheese Bread, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Homa, Lapin Blanc Montreal, Lapin Blanc Restaurant, Mac n' Cheese, Mackerel, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Octopus, oysters, Pork, Pork Rillettes, Poutine, Rabbit, Risotto, Tonkinoise Soup, Veal meatballs