***Sadly this Restaurant is Closed***
We only really got excited about Le Slang Labo à Manger when we heard that Giancarlo Martino (previously of Hostaria and Suite 701) and Carlo Amalfi (previously of Mercuri) were manning the kitchen. Located in NDG on Monkland, Le Slang Labo à Manger is actually a laboratory for the chefs in the kitchen, and for Brynley Leach, their resident mixologist at the bar. The theme of the restaurant is that it’s a food lab, complete with calculus formulas scrawled into the tables and a menu that arrives in a folder as if it’s a secret science experiment.
Sweet Pea kept raving about Le Slang and not one to doubt her, Diva #1 decided to go to with her for dinner on one of their rare nights out alone. Of course with Brynley Leach in charge of the cocktail menu we knew we were in for a treat. We started our night with a smoked Bloody Caesar with caramelized bacon. A lover of Bloody Caesars, this was delightful from the bacon infused Worcestershire sauce to the hint of olive in the Clamato itself. But honestly… it was all about that caramelized smokey bacon!
We have known Giancarlo Martino for a little over a year and he was quick to make us a tasting platter so that we truly got to try a bit of everything. A man after our own hearts, he started the tasting menu with oysters. On Thursdays they offer 1$ oysters during their 5 à 7 with mood-setting DJ Alex Bmoreo from Monkland Village Productions.
The first appetizer can only be described as a bit of heaven. Clams were served on crusty country bread with so many ingredients that you could barely see the bread. Artichokes, bacon, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion pockets stuffed with a cream dressing, parsley and the most delicious Peruvian peppers created a fresh type of bruschetta. The whole thing was tossed in a pesto sauce that tied everything together so nicely!
Next was the burrata, and if you follow the Divas you know that we have a sick love for this cheese. Served on an ever-so sweet roasted heirloom tomato with a basil gel that was very interesting, this appetizer was very different than the typical Italian burrata dish. An olive tapenade, extra virgin olive oil, smoked salt and a few crisps added to this appetizer’s success.
Before we started our main dishes we had to try another cocktail, this time we opted for an Old Fashioned with a twist. They weren’t stingy on the bourbon, but maple syrup and orange bitters added some sweetness to the strong drink. Of course a piece of caramelized bacon lay strewn across the glass for added satisfaction. It’s rare that cocktails go so perfectly with your dinner, we usually opt for wine because cocktails tend to be too sweet or sour which are better before or after a nice meal. Le Slang’s cocktails are perfect to enjoy alongside your meal.
The agnolotti was filled with braised lamb that was very tender and juicy, with wild mushrooms and spinach. There was a generous amount of mushrooms and the spinach was lightly cooked to keep some bite. The au jus cream sauce that topped the agnolotti was made with lamb meat juices, simply decadent, and the edible flowers added a pop of colour to the dish.
Sweet Pea and Diva#1 were getting rather full but when we saw the beautiful platter that arrived before us we couldn’t help but devour everything. Tender grilled lamb chops with the crispest thin layer of fat arrived on a platter with grilled octopus and smokey pork. It is all about the details and the artichokes were also grilled and served with bitter greens and what our waiter described to us as a warm Sicilian salad. Cucumber ketchup that tasted like a pickle compote lay in dollops all over the platter as did those Peruvian peppers that look like red teardrops and explode flavour in your mouth. This platter was absolute perfection!
Sweet Pea and Diva #1 agreed that they were not going to order dessert because they were so full. But Sweet Pea went to the washroom and left Diva #1 unattended for far too long so she ordered dessert. Gluttony always prevails! The dessert platter had a bit of everything, a flourless dense chocolate cake that was almost fudge-like in consistency, Nutella ice cream, espresso ice cream and a cannoli mille feuille that should be illegal, it’s just THAT good. Dollops of chocolate, ground pistachios, berries and a ground cherry made up what can only be described as a chocolate lovers heaven.
Needless to say we left Le Slang in love with their chefs, their mixologist and eager to return with friends. So we did… just a few weeks later! Diva #1, Whitey, Peaches and Katina Chardonnay went to Le Slang for their 5 à 7 commemorating their 1 year anniversary. Besides ordering a ton of wine and 4 dozen oysters when only three of us eat oysters, we also decided to enjoy a few appetizers to help the wine go down smoothly.
We ordered two tartares and we were brought the softest popover parmesan bread to enjoy with them. We rarely take photos of the bread but Le Slang’s popovers were out of this world. The tuna tartare lay deconstructed on a bed of avocado purée with tobiko, coriander, quinoa and a sweet soy vinaigrette for an Asian influence. Paper thin radish slices decorated the plate and added a peppery flavour to the tuna.
The beef tartare with enoki mushrooms sat on a bed of Romesco sauce with a pickled quail egg for added richness. Romesco sauce is red pepper based sauce and at Le Slang it was oh so creamy! Parmesan was grated on top of this Mediterranean-style beef tartare; Le Slang veered away from the usual French-style beef tartare.
And we never stopped drinking so we just kept getting hungrier. Chef Giancarlo recommended a special of the night which was the fried calamari with a general tao sauce, lime and sesame sprinkled on top to complete the Asian motif of this dish. If you read our reviews you’ll know that we’re bored of calamari, it’s been done, again and again. But we trust Chef Giancarlo and Le Slang’s fried calamari with a light general tao sauce did not mean that it was drenched and soggy, instead, it was fried until crispy and the sweet sauce was light so you still tasted the calamari.
Whitey doesn’t eat seafood or raw so at this point the little white Canadian girl was hungry and she was actually drunk. She ordered the Slang burger, but it was a touch too late to save herself! It came with cheddar cheese, pickles made in house, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. This typical all American burger on a Kaiser bun was devoured in minutes. It came with regular fries but for an added cost you could have fries with bacon and maple or fries with parmesan and truffle oil. THE FRIES WITH BACON AND MAPLE WERE A DREAM COME TRUE! Can we ever eat regular fries again?
Our love for Le Slang is clear, the food is absolutely delicious. If we go back to a restaurant before we have a chance to post our first review we clearly have been thinking of the place. Perfect for a 5 à 7, or lengthy dinner, Le Slang Labo à Manger will not leave you disappointed. With a chalkboard menu enumerating their specials of the night, a large terrace, and a helpful wait staff ready to answer all your questions, you won’t regret trying this restaurant in NDG. We already can’t wait to go back!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: Agnolotti, Bar, Beef Tartare, Bloody Caesar, Brynley Leach, Burger, Burrata, Calamari, Calmars, Candied Bacon, Carlo Amalfi, Clams, Cocktail, General Tao Calamari, Giancarlo Martino, Hamburger, Lamb Chops, Le Slang, Le Slang Labo à Manger, Le Slang Montreal, Le Slang NDG, Montreal, Montreal Food, NDG, oysters, Smoked Caesar, Tartare, Tuna Tartare