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After doing a little research on restaurant Santa Barbara’s namesake Saint Barbara, I learned that she was a total badass. Not only can she teleport, put out fires with her mind, turn sheep to locusts and strike people with lightening, she can turn people to stone. Definitely cool. Throughout history, she has been strongly associated with artillerymen, engineers, miners, mathematicians and those who work with explosives because of her ability to control and work with lightening. Thinking about our recent visit to Santa Barbara in Montreal, this all suddenly seemed to make sense. Walking into the restaurant, the back wall is covered in various mini busts of religious figures in a way that lends an interesting vibe to the place. Plus the fact that they’re all coated in a layer of pastel green paint. Then, you have brunch items all named after different professions Saint Barbara herself was thought to provide protection for. The plot thickens…
Finally. It’s come time for us to share with you the legendary, all-encompassing, truly epic cabane a sucre au pied de cochon experience. Is there anything else like it? Probably not. After signing up a little later than we meant to for this season’s apple themed menu, we got a call from PDC two months after we were waitlisted asking if we wanted to fill in for a last minute cancelled reservation in the middle of the week.
Noting the popularity of chocolate bars in parts of Asia and Australia, Easy Ying – the owner and the concept creator of Cacao 70 – was particularly surprised that nothing remotely similar had yet surfaced in Montreal’s diverse restaurant and culinary scene. So, he endeavored to create a unique and novel experience for those who had never been while bringing something new to the table for those who have. What differentiates the place from their competitors (say, Juliette & Chocolat) is the fact that all the raw materials used both inside and outside the restaurant are recycled and their selection of chocolate and raw cocoa is seemingly limitless and variety driven (their cocoa comes from Venezuela to Costa Rica to Tanzania to Ghana). While conceding to the fact that the restaurant’s look and concept seems to be more fitting for trendier areas like Mile End or the Plateau, it is their hope that Cacao 70 can perhaps kickstart the revitalization of the West end of St. Catherine street much like Joe Beef, Jane’s and The Burgundy Lion have done for Griffintown. They’re off to a good start, that’s for sure.