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Anyone been to Birks cafe?

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I haven't had a chance to try high tea at Birks cafe yet. Anyone been there?

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  1. I have not gone there but there was a review from Thierry Daraize in Le journal de Montreal this past Saturday and the review listed the food as excellent.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cricri7

      I forgot to say that in his review, Daraize said that the clientele is mostly women.....I am giving guys a heads up:)

      1. re: cricri7

        Not surprising for high tea though.

    2. I also have not been, but Phillippe Molle also gave it a nice review in Le Devoir several weeks back. It's definitely on my list of places to try!

      1 Reply
      1. re: HappyMtl

        there was an interesting article in saturday la presse talking about how meats, fish, some veggies are cooked slowly in plastic at mother restaurant and then transported to birks cafe to be reheated to avoid cooking smells in the store...also the slow temperatures tenderize the meats

      2. Went a few days ago. The ambiance is great. I had the mackerel for starters - it was fresh but lacked flavour. The pasta with wild mushroom and truffle on the other hand was excellent. The ice cream creations are definitely not worth it and at $13.50 a pop, they are extremely expensive.

        A little overpriced although the food is better than other places in the area.

        1. I took my mother there for coffee the other morning. We sat by the twinkling Christmas trees (!) and admired the beautiful glass displays. The lunch menu looked very nice but we were too early, so cappuccinos and a verrine it was. The praline verrine consisted of a sickly sweet mousse surrounding a half macaroon with a couple of chopped hazelnuts thown in for good measure, served in a large thimble.
          2 cappuccinos + thimble verrine = $17 and change
          I've read the very good reviews for the lunch menu and will have to go back to try, but not for coffee!

          1. I had the High tea meal at 6pm on a Friday and the place was not full. we got 3 canapés on toast, a half mini club sandwich, a verrine, a piece of chocolate, a macaron, scones and jam.

            I didn't care much for the Christophe Morel chocolate or the club sandwich but the verrine was very good.

            1. I didn't go for tea but for lunch with my mother and we loved it!! It feels like Breakfast at Tiffany's!
              The food is great, good quality and healthy and the prices aren't outlandish. except maybe for the coffee. I work downtown so I've been on a hunt for a good lunch place in the area and this might be the one!! I reviewed it on my blog, here are some excerpts.
              ...
              Every dish on the menu has been reviewed by a nutritionist so its all relatively healthy and portioned properly for a one person meal. This restaurant proves that healthy doesn`t have to mean boring. We had the table d'hote and I ordered the beef gravlax which came with lentils and whole wheat toast. It was ginger honey flavored and delicious. My mother ordered the squash soup and it was a little spicy and contained cubes of tofu and squash. Both very good entrees.

              Next, I ordered the papillote of sole which came served to me in a plastic wrapping that made it feel like I was recieving a present! The waitress cut open the package for me and in it was the rolled sole which contained tomatoes, olives and zucchini. It was served on quinoa and vegetables. I loved it. It was light but still flavourful. My mom's ricotta stuffed ravioli was also amazing. It was covered with beautiful delicate mushrooms and truffle shavings.

              For dessert, I went for a litchi macaron which was not comparable to Pierre Hermé one, but good and not as sweet as the other ones I've tasted in Montreal. We had cappucinos (5.50$, the only overly expensive item on the menu!) and they gave us lemon madeleines.

              Everything was amazing. The service, the food, the decor.
              ...

              So ya definitely a great lunch place for downtown!!
              Definitely going to try high tea at Birks Cafe soon though.

              1. We had lunch there this week although not big portions all was very tasty. They give a sample of cod mousseline topped with edible gold leaf then we had a delicious squash soup spiced with curry, coriander +cubes of squash, tofu and soya beans. One had smoked salmon with quinoa salad but i preferred the stuffed chicken breast (macademia nuts, shittake mushrooms, fig and chinese cabbage)--melt in your mouth tender. No problems with service, bread and water refills before you could ask, butter wrapped in algae, nice touches and relaxing atmosphere in busy downtown area.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wilmagrace

                  Also went to Birks cafe recently. Agree with wilmagrace's overall opinions - good food, small portions, good service. IMO, a little expensive for the portion sizes, but you are in Birks downtown and the Europea name is attached to it. I had the lamb with pear chutney and my lunch guest had the duck rice noodle salad. The lamb was excellent - perfectly seasoned. The salad was tasty and nicely presented, but my lunch guest expected more than the basic Asian flavours and seasonings (wasabi, sesame seed).

                2. My wife and I dropped in at Birks Café yesterday for high tea. 

                  There was a selection of teas. For $26.50 each this is what we got with tea (there was bubbly available by the glass, but we did not indulge):

                  Open-faced Sandwiches (2 each):
                  - cucumber, with cucumber gelée
                  - smoked salmon
                  - foie gras with cranberry gelée
                  The sandwiches were cut into very neat circles. But, the bread was very dry, and the toppings were unremarkable, including the foie gras. Disappointing.

                  Club sandwiches. The toasted bread was cold and chewy; the filling was meh. Even more disappointing. 

                  4 plain warm scones, served with Devon cream and a jelly. They were not bad, but my wife said that she prefers the scones that I make......I'm an avid baker.

                  A gianduja-filled milk chocolate, which was wonderful, and a bittersweet chocolate that was okay.

                  Two macarons. They were macarons; nothing special.

                  A mango custard topped with whipping cream, served in a glass. Very nice.

                  Chocolate mousse piped into a glass, with what looked like pistachio mousse in the middle. Very dense and rich, but the pistachio was lost. I like a lighter mousse.

                  IIRC, the menu said it included a box of sweets to take home, but we did not get any; did not occur to me at the time.

                  Overall a disappointing experience. Definitely not up to the standards of Européa, one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: souschef

                    That's disappointing! Maître Chocolatier also got poor reviews lately. But where does a girl go for good high tea in Montreal? Is le Gryphon d'Or nice?

                    1. re: carolilas

                      Gryphon d'or is fabulous. See this thread for reports & some pics from one of my visits: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/395649

                      1. re: kpzoo

                        Yep, been to a few places in Montreal. Gryphon d'or is the best i've tried so far. Their scones are amazing and the portions were generous for the price.

                        Great cucumber sandwiches, i like the little salmon cannape. Wonderful shortbread cookies and all the other sweets of course.

                        We were offered to take some home before we even asked, i guess we're not the only ones unable to finish it off.

                        1. re: SourberryLily

                          Ha. They're also awesome in the opposite direction. I once went for very late afternoon tea (they agreed to open for us at 6 pm!) with a group of particularly ravenous friends. We polished off everything, and were happily given whatever bits and pieces of sandwiches and sweets they had extras of. When that was gone and some folks *still* had room, they actually reheated some of their leftover lunch hamburgers and cut them into quarters for us!