Hold on to your bobbysocks! British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Montreal celebrity chef Derek Dammann (formerly of DNA) have joined together to bring us the newly opened Maison Publique. An upscale pub located on the corner of Marquette and Gilford in the Plateau, this new restaurant has Montreal foodies chomping at the bit to get a reservation. The Divas had gone to celebrate Bellatrix’s birthday and were eager to try this new trendy restaurant. Chef Dammann is very present in his restaurant; he left the open kitchen and roamed around the restaurant speaking to his clients. This upscale pub only accepts reservations of six people or more, so the Divas and Bellatrix brought along Bellatrix’s mate, Zeus and Sweet Pea. This was not a night that we will soon forget!
Derek Dammann is God! Besides the amazing food, which we will get to in a few lines, Chef Dammann is truly a gentleman. Halfway through our night of debauchery and sins the Divas went outside to get some air because we made the mistake of having too much wine and tequila. We would like to add that Maison Publique’s shots are massive and the tequila was served with salt chips instead of granulated salt. Our drinking left Diva #2 a little worse for wear (she was sloshed) but that did not stop us from having a great night. Outside, the Divas and Bellatrix met a homeless man who at Bellatrix’s request Dammann not only cooked for, but later brought him some dessert. We told Dammann to put his food on our bill but he did not even do that! Dammann was amazing, we all chatted, including Neil, our lovely homeless friend… and it made for an amazing night!
Maison Publique which means Public House (the full term for pub) is decorated in dark wood with a pinned up menu and an amazing staff of friendly waiters and waitresses. The Divas and Bellatrix were loud, rowdy and kept coming and going to visit Neil, but our waitress was more than accommodating and accepted our eccentricities. The staff helped us choose from the many menu items and made the overall experience fun and flawless. The rustic look was beautiful with antlers holding the toilet paper rolls, old skeleton keys locking the bathrooms, etc. We started our night with some bread and butter, this is an additional charge of 3$.
Our first appetizer was the foie gras on a piece of country bread served with pickles. The foie gras was creamy and spreadable, and somehow we even got crabby old Bellatrix to try it, probably because she drank so much wine! It was delicious and for those who are not huge fans of foie gras the taste was not overpowering because it seemed to have been reduced.
The appetizers came out one at a time which is an interesting concept because it ensured that we all got to share every appetizer. From what we have seen in articles describing the restaurant, this is part of the Dammann brain child. Our second appetizer was the bone marrow, it was huge! We really enjoyed the large bone with delicious well-seasoned marrow just bursting out. This was also served with more grilled bread that we quickly devoured with the marrow, a feast!
The waitress then recommended the crab trifle which is a multi-layered dish served in a mason jar. The layers include tasty fresh crab, avocado purée and tomato sauce, the entire dish was topped with sour cream and coriander. This was a fresh dish and the effect was amazing because the trifle was bursting out of the jar. Actually we ended up ordering two and enjoying them both.
No we were not yet full…. Sweet Pea ordered the thinly sliced homemade ham served with raisin bread. The ham was prosciutto like in texture but it was much less salty. The ham paired with the sweet raisin bread and rosemary made for an interesting combination of flavours. This was a large dish and we helped Sweet Pea enjoy it!
Mmmmm! You have to like stinky cheese to enjoy this dish. Little round potatoes were topped with plentiful amounts of cheese sauce, we had never tried this oh so potent cheese but though it smelled funky (like the inside of a miner’s boots), it tasted heavenly. Served with pickles, the acidity of the pickles added to this rich dish, another random find by the Divas.
Ever since she saw it in the restaurant’s reviews, Diva #1 really wanted to try the bison tongue sandwich. This huge messy sandwich was delicious. The meat was so tender, and though most people would not be able to get over eating tongue, it was an amazing meal. The baguette was crispy and fresh, the meat rare and juicy, and the cheesy topping was to die for, truly worth returning for. Who would know it was tongue if the menu did not say so? The meat was so tender that every bite was oozing juice.
Bellatrix and her mate both ordered the short rib, fall off the bone good, this dish truly encompasses high-end British pub-fare. It was cooked to perfection; Dammann’s cuissons can rival any high end restaurant. The rib was lathered in a gravy that was not overpowering and truly revolutionized the ole British “meat n potatoes.” Maison Publique is truly great if you want to try high end English food, it gives the French something to worry about.
Diva #2 ordered the pork belly but she spent too much time outside with our new friends to enjoy it. Diva #1 is picky about her pork but this was one delicious piece of meat. The exterior was crispy and almost bacon like. When you got past the skin you tasted a flavourful tender meat that was almost pulled pork like in texture. It was served with greens in an au jus sauce, we licked the plate clean. Another great meaty meal à propos at a British Pub.
Bellatrix’s mate and Zeus enjoyed dessert on their own. At this point the Divas, Bellatrix and Sweet Pea were outside the restaurant with Dammann, Neil and a handsome man from Belgium who lived next door and came out to see what the commotion was about. Too bad he lived with his girlfriend and was in a committed relationship….we asked. We also befriended an Englishman who was biking by, and we continually incorporated other strangers into our nighttime inebriated stroll. We must have woken up half of the Plateau, but everyone who showed up angrily yelling at us to pipe down ended up joining our group of misfits outside of Maison Publique. It was a jolly good evening and not a night that we will soon forget!
The men left inside the restaurant ordered a ginger cake with English cream. This dessert was not as impressive as the food at Maison Publique, the cake was dry and the English cream was not spectacular. Although the dish looked good, it was unimpressive. Maison Publique is also known for its soft serve ice cream, flavours include vanilla and nutella, but the boys tried ox heart plum swirled with vanilla. It was an interesting flavour, it tasted prune-like and though the Divas may not have opted for this odd dessert it was tasty and original. The waitress had explained that Dammann had received a fresh order of plums and had decided to make this particular soft serve. Nonetheless the desserts could use some refining; perhaps a good ol’ English pudding?
Other interesting menu items included devilled eggs, deep fried pig’s ear, etc, and we’d love to return for their breakfast. While Maison Publique only opened in October of 2012, the Divas are predicting that this restaurant will quickly become a favourite spot; Derek Dammann has certainly become one of our favourite chefs….
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: Always on Thursdays, Bison Tongue, Bone Marrow, Breakfast, British, Celebrity Restaurant, Chalkboard Menu, Chef, Dammann, Derek Dammann, DNA, English, Gilford, Jamie Oliver, Maison Publique, Marquette, Meat, Montreal, Oliver, Plateau, Pork Belly, Pub, Public House, Soft Serve, Tavern