We aren’t quite sure why January 22nd was the day for nightlife events in Montreal; somehow we were invited to three events on the same night. After much deliberation, we chose to go to the Renoir, Sofitel Montreal event to benefit cancer research. Chef Olivier Perret from the Renoir was touched by cancer and planned a gastronomical event. He brought together 7 top Montreal chefs in an elegant dinner to benefit cancer research.
The tickets were sold at 250$ each and offered 7 services, coupled with wine. Each course was going to be prepared by some of Montreal’s top chefs. A scary concept considering the old axiom: “too many cooks in the kitchen.” A silent auction and raffle were also part of the night to help raise money for cancer research. The funds of the night would go to research at the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and the Cedars Cancer Institute, noble causes if we ever knew any. Both Divas work in medical research, so we chose this event because it is was for a great cause and let’s be honest… the list of chefs was tantalizing.
So let’s talk about the food and those who crafted it. We are VERY sad to say that we missed the first course, we were told to be there for 7:30pm, we arrived at 7:45pm and the first course was already being taken away… so much for fashionably late. Not to mention that we had received several emails stating that the event was starting as early as 6:30pm but some emails said as late as 9:00pm. Somewhere along the way there was a loss of communication. So we were a bit rushed when we arrived during the speeches.
Though we missed the foie gras course and the goat cheese lollipops, from the empty plates that went by us, it seems that everyone loved it. Chef Matthieu Saunier from Osco Restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel made three delightful little amuse bouche as the first course of the evening. Lobster ravioli with foam tarragon butter, a goat cheese lollipop with a tapenade and tomato jelly, and fig with foie gras, pecan and spicy honey made up his dish. The fact that we missed this course is inconceivable, we tried to beg for it but we were informed that the Chef had gone home *sigh*
Chef Matthieu Saunier, Osco: “Lobster ravioli, piperade, foam tarragon butter”
“Goat cheese lollipop, tapenade & tomato jelly”
“Fig, foie gras, pecan and spicy honey”
On to the next course, Chef Alexandre Gosselin from Chez Victoire Bistro du Quartier wowed us with his half smoked arctic char with crispy cipollini, cucumber, yogurt and dill. We have been to Chez Victoire so we expected to enjoy his dish. A beautiful presentation is always grand but we had tried smoked arctic char in the past and were often left feeling disappointed. Fret not! Gosselin provided the perfect piece of raw fish, with hints of smokiness that helped enhance the yogurt and crisped cipollini. The Divas love raw and we enjoyed this dish.
Our second dish sounds almost too simple to be divine but trust us it was quite original. Fisun Ercan from both Su and Barbounya restaurants set out to wow the patrons of Le Renoir. With kale being the new favourite green amongst foodies, she did well with her crispy kale chips with a smoked spicy tomato sauce, Buffalo yogurt and garlic. There is always garlic in ethnic cuisine! Diva #2 loved Su but we have yet to make it to Barbounya; this dish was all the motivation we needed to start planning a dinner there. The kale chips were crispy and bursting with flavour on top of a drizzle of the smoked tomato sauce in a pool of Buffalo yogurt. It was a remarkable dish without any particularly gourmet ingredients, just simple food made well, which is the cornerstone of Turkish cuisine.
Then came the anticipated dish from Antonio Park of Park Restaurant. This chef has been flying up the ranks and impressing foodies and restaurant goers alike. It seems that if you haven’t tried his sushi, then you aren’t anybody. We eagerly anticipated his dish because sadly we missed his restaurant’s event on the same night, to come to the Renoir. Out came two perfect little sustainable “Chinook King” salmon nigiri. Fresh wasabi, organic Tamari maple syrup, an edamame sauce and vegetarian kabayaki made up this beautiful nigiri. We have no clue what most of those ingredients are but they came together to create a bite of the freshest fish with a sauce that only enhanced, and did not mask its taste. Chef Antonio Park has never let the Divas down, and as always, he exceeded expectation.
At this point we were looking around the media section to see if we recognized any fellow bloggers from other events. We started talking to Carrie from Zurbaines, her boyfriend, and Lolitta from Fashion is Everywhere. Carrie is a lifestyle blogger and Lollita is a fashion blogger, we moved our table of 2 to create a larger table of 5 and spent the rest of the night with them. It was really fabulous, we drank, chatted and they helped make a fun night into an exceptional evening.
Our main meal was a roasted milk fed veal filet with a side of bone marrow made by the Renoir. The Divas love bone marrow, and Chef Oliver Perret of the Renoir even went as far as removing the bone marrow for us, and delicately placing it on a crostini on top of the bone. It was nice to not get messy because god knows we would have slurped that bone to not waste any marrow. The dish was served with roasted potatoes and a Jerusalem artichoke purée running into the veal’s au jus sauce. Diva #2 loves Jerusalem artichokes so she was giddy like a school girl. Last but not least the dish had Périgord truffle shavings which added another dimension of richness. Simply marvelous! Our only complaint was that we were asked to share our main which was rather odd; usually you share appetizers, maybe even dessert, but receive your own main dish.
The menu said that a pre-dessert was next, and we are all for dessert before dessert. It was simply described as “all chocolate” and once it arrived at our table, we understood what that meant. A perfect chocolate sphere covered in gold flakes was bursting with chocolate mousse when you cracked its shell. Decadence does not begin to describe the richness of the chocolate. If there wasn’t enough chocolate, the perfect sphere was sitting on a piece of chocolate. This creation was put together by Chef Christophe Morel from Morel Chocolat and we were awed.
Our last dessert arrived and it was pink in support of breast cancer. It was rose petal ice cream served inside a crispy meringues. Fresh raspberry sorbet with a light but ever so flavourful lychee custard topped this dish. And if it wasn’t pink, sweet and wonderful enough, waiters drizzled a raspberry purée on each dessert. This dessert was from Chef Oliver Potier from Farinex, it was one of the most original desserts that we have ever tried. The combination of flavours was subtle and unique, the presentation breathtaking, and the dessert very refreshing and Spring-like. Bravo!
As the night wore on, we drank some more, chatted with the fun people that we had met and discussed what the Divas love best: food, restaurants , fashion and life in Montreal. Like good ethnics we soon noticed the center piece of the table, a majestic and ripe pomelo, and we wanted it to be ours. It was too large to fit in our evening hand bags but fret not dear readers, we had no trouble taking it home at the end of the night. Actually to give the staff at the Renoir credit, they encouraged us. We even took photos with other bloggers and the pomelo center pieces. In our defense, every day at 4:00pm in the office the Divas make a fruit salad to satiate our hunger in the afternoon. The pomelo was the perfect addition to our fruit cup.
The night ended earlier than we had expected, we texted some old friends (some of which should not have been sent), planned for some future bad decisions and generally misbehaved. On our way out we met 514 Eats, another group of bloggers that we follow, which added to the fun of the night. The food was delicious, the company superb and we did it all for a good cause. The Divas need balance in their lives so doing something good every now and then will hopefully outweigh all (probably just some) of the bad. Our Sensei would have been proud, we did not drink too much or get loud and boisterous, we were almost the epitome of class, but let us not go too far. Tah tah for now, we are off to eat our pomelo …
Tagged: 1155 Rue Sherbrooke, Alexandre Gosselin, Antonio Park, Arctic Char, Barbounya, Bone Marrow, Cancer Research, Cedars Cancer Institute, Chefs, Chez Victoire, Chez Victoire Bistro du Quartier, Chinook King, Chocolate, Chocolatier, Christophe Morel, Downtown, Event, Fashion in Everywhere, Fig, Fisun Ercan, foie gras, French, Fundraiser, Goat Cheese Lollipop, Gold Flakes, golden square mile, H3A 1S2, Jean-Kristof Dufresne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lobster Ravioli, Mathieu Saulnier, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Olivier Perret, Osco, Park, Pâtissier, Périgord Truffle, Pink, Pomelo, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, Raspberry Sorbet, Renoir, Renoir En Rose, Renoir en Rose Montreal, Renoir Montreal, Rose Petal Ice Cream, Salmon Nigiri, Sherbrooke, Sofitel, Sofitel Montreal, Su, Top Chefs, Truffle, Veal, Zurbaines