Maison Publique MontrealPosted By Jennifer Ho Nov 02 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out
With lots of fanfare, Maison Publique finally opened its doors earlier last month. French for “public house” the restaurant is led by Derek Dammann of former DNA fame in partnership with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. It has been made clear that Dammann has full control of the restaurant’s daily operations, from the selection of the ingredients to the planning of the menu to the actual cooking itself. Oliver’s role seems to be more in the background, acting as an investor.
We decided to check it out for brunch on one of the weekends to give it a test run. We had high expectations – with so much press and celebrity buzz surrounding the restaurant pre-opening, we were excited and pretty eager to try the food. Maison Publique has a cozy sort of atmosphere, one that rightly matches the Plateau neighbourhood in which it is located. The space is heavily dominated by wood accents and earthy colors and the menu is written on a chalkboard (of course) towards the second half of the restaurant. The cutely mismatched plates and placeholders under the table for the napkins helped give the restaurant a particular flair and charm.
Getting down to it, we had two orders of the pancakes. Stacked one on top of the other, the three pancakes were interlaced with strips of soft, fatty bacon. All of this was slathered with poached pear butter – the syrup was pre-drizzled on top for you. These were probably the best out of the dishes we tried. They were simple but sweet.
The smoked salmon was a disappointment. After choosing this dish on the server’s recommendation for something light and tasty, the salmon which was house smoked tasted rough and overly salty. Paired with the garlic hollondaise sauce and the poached egg on top, it was a sensory overload. I rarely not finish my plate, but this time, I had to make an exception. Even though I wanted to, my tastebuds couldn’t go there. This one was unfortunately left unfinished.
The Maison Publique (MP) English muffin was simple as well: an egg sunny side up on top of two buttered slices of an English muffin accompanied by a sausage. To be honest, we were a little underwhelmed by this dish. It tasted fine but the diner here too had trouble finishing it up as well. Maybe it’s just English food in general? I don’t know what it is, but the food always seems somewhat done and kind of boring. I know that this particular criticism is not any of MP’s fault – it’s just the nature of the cuisine itself (at least from my experience).
I want to chalk it up to the newness of the restaurant but Dammann has been doing this for years. MP doesn’t have me convinced this is a great lunch spot. I will definitely make it back to try it out for dinner – I have a feeling if anything, this is where it would really shine. For all its charm, we’ll have to see if it translates over to the food itself.
We’ll keep you posted!
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