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Located immediately next to Atwater Market’s parking lot in its open air market space, the Satay Brothers has been garnering a lot of buzz in the Montreal food scene lately – and rightfully so. Serving South Asian food, the menu is short but sweet and filled with authentic Singaporean items. Alex (one of the Satay Brothers) ordered for us after we asked him to give us the best of what they had.
Shin Yeh seems to be a popular name for restaurants around here! It means “Vivid Leaves” in Chinese. This particular restaurant serves popular Taiwanese food that you should be able to find almost anywhere, at any food stand around the city. The difference is likely in the degree of cleanliness, the atmosphere (a hotspot for business meetings – every table around us was definitely at the restaurant in a work context) – the speed of the service though, is probably the same. Less than five minutes after we ordered, every dish was on the table, hot and ready to eat.
Attempting to ease our bodies back into normalcy, we opted for a light breakfast which consisted of soybean milk and a variety of Chinese steamed buns. There are two types of soybean milk: sweet or salty. These can be ordered either hot or cold. I had the sweet cold version, my brother had the sweet hot version and my parents had the salty one which comes in a bowl with some fried dough, black vinegar, dried turnips and small dried shrimp. I had the taro flavored purple bun whereas the rest of my family shared the brown sugar bun, the traditional steamed bun (white bun) and a deep fried bun wrapped in baked flatbread with sesame seeds on top. (In Chinese, these buns are pronounced “man-to”). These are not very strong tasting and are some of the most inoffensive foods Taiwan has to offer. Man-to and soybean milk can be found almost everywhere in Taipei – these are staples of a typical Chinese breakfast.
Walking into Joe Beef, one immediately senses a kind of warm intimacy few restaurants are able to successfully achieve in terms of both physical space, ambiance and decor. The space out front is quite small; tables are set one next to the other with only a few inches separating diners from one another – for those who sit on the inner banquettes, tables must be pulled out for them to exit gracefully. Even in such close quarters, fellow diners have been the most friendly and cordial I have ever met. The owners have recently closed their luncheonette next door (McKiernan’s) in favor of expanding Joe Beef, creating an oyster bar in its place while at the same time increasing its capacity for more people to stop by. Due to the popular demand for the restaurant’s exquisite food, the terrasse out back has been opened up as well. I had actually never been in the area before and our lovely waitress Vanya was nice enough to show me around. The garden where ingredients are freshly grown and harvested lines the terrasse; adjacent to this, a separate plot of land is sectioned off by a fence – here they house a large metal smoker where they treat some of their meats and fish.
Buns is a small, hole-in-the-wall hamburger joint on St. Catherine street that Montrealers love to love. While Burger de Ville remains at the top of my list, Buns comes in as a close second. The limited menu and the dingy interior adds to the charm of the place, not to mention the chipper single staff member acting as the chef, the cashier and the server all at once (St. Catherine location). Expect to pay little for decently fast service and a juicy burger… what else can you ask for?