Brunch at Au Pied de Cochon
So, I was at APDC yesterday, for their first-ever round of brunch. As is to be expected, it was great! I got there around 11am, and there were plenty of tables available. But I guess they were also prepared for a huge crowd: they had their food truck outside, serving coffee and hot chocolate and a few brunch-y dishes.
But since there was no wait, I went straight inside, where they had prepared a "dim-sum-style" system. They had plates of food going around in carts, so you could choose according to your liking. It looks like they had the full staff from restaurant and from the cabane (sugar shack, and there were lots of dishes being served. Here's some of the stuff I tried (oh, there were 2 of us, by the way):
- hot chocolate
- Egg benedict, with a slice of smoked salmon and cretons
- prosciutto (they make it themselves in the sugar shack, with the pigs they raise there)
- veal heart with broccoli (the broccoli was prepared with hazelnuts, kind of like he one they once served at the sugar shack - if you had it, you'll remember)
- "tête fromagée" ("head cheese"?), served like a croquette, with a salad.
- steak topped with melted cheese and foie gras
Everything was really good. I wish I had had room to try some of the other stuff I saw go by: lobster bisque, tripe, fried crêpes, viennoiseries, etc.
The only thing I really didn't care for was the ergot: a piece of deep-fried pork foot. After taking out all the bones, all that was left was pretty much pork fat. The tête fromagée croquette was my favourite. The salad with which it was served was particularly good. The egg was also excellent. The steak, it goes without saying was very, very good.
I didn't have room for the croissant, chocolatine, apple pie and the like, so I just had the profiterole filled with banana ice-cream (you had 3 options from which to choose) and topped with caramel (the other option was chocolate).
Overall, a very good experience. And not that expensive, since there are plenty (PLENTY! See picture for a better idea) of small to medium-sized dishes to choose from, and you only pay for what you get.(i.e., it's NOT a prix-fixe, all-you-can-eat deal). All this for two people (and we were FULL by the time we left) came to approximately $60 after tax and tip, which is a tad more expensive than your average brunch, yes, but we also ate twice as much as we would have at a regular brunch.
I would think, however, that it might be a good place fr brunch for parties of 2-4 people, because then you can taste many dishes, and I assume it would the logistics would be harder for larger parties, because the carts need to move around, and there's not that much space between tables.
Of course, this was a first, and I assume they will be making adjustments as it goes, but they are definitely off to a great start!
FYI, according to their website, they'l be serving brunch every Sunday, from 10am to 2pm until the end of January. They do not accept reservations from brunch though.
I understand. I assumed that as well, which is why I wanted to get there fairly early. But I guess they haven't advertised their brunch that much (I think they mean these first few weekends as some sort of "soft opening"), which is why you may still be good for a few weekends.
However, even if there are lines, the wait would not be bad. As I said, the food truck was just outside, and they were serving some dishes, too (different from the ones being served inside), like slices of their tourtière (which, as you may already know, is to die for).
The brunch food truck, FYI, works with a stamp system. Each stamp = $2.50. A coffee or a hot chocolate each count for one stamp. Each slice of the tourtière = 2 stamps. This way, you can eat some stuff outside, then take your tab inside and finish up the meal. It makes for a very interesting system, especially for when there are long waits.
I also succeeded in getting in with my friend, by a combination of both luck and everybody else thinking that it would be full I guess!
We had our lineup of brunch places on the plateau with option a,b, c, d, e in case it was full (PDC, Maison Publique, Chien Fumant, Pyrrhus, Saint Bol) but thankfully the first choice was available!
We just showed up around 12 and there were staff smoking a cigarette outside. They just told me to go in a take a seat! No waiting line!
The concept was Dim Sum, like aline highlighted, except that you actually get to understand what you are ordering (not always easy at Ruby Rouge! :)). Everybody seemed to be there for the first service, Martin, Emilly, Gabrielle, Vincent... Even the Toque guys were there (Normand and Charles Antoine), I don't think its going to stay that way but it was fun to see Gabrielle present her cart of profiterole with the same mirth that we are used to see on TV.
The plates are a bit smaller than Dim Sum (instead of being 3 small portions most of them can be split into 2) but the prices are really low for the quality and the actual portion (from 4 to 8$ a plate generally). I remember having similar portions at La Fabrique for their breakfast but they were charging 10-15$ a plate and it wasn't Dim Sum.
A lot of the classics from the cabane where there and some extra iterations were present. Apparently the menu will change and evolve with time.
We had the following (I may forget some):
*Steak with melted cheese and foie gras
*Toast topped with cheese and choux de bruxelles
*Veal heart with brocolli
*Rasberry (or was it strawberry?) pastry (troittoir)
*Profiterole with kirch cherry ice cream
*Cabane à sucre baked beans
*Fried breakfast potatoes with bologna and foie gras
*Absinthe flambée (as a trou normand at the end)
The steak, cheese toast, baked beans and bologna were fantastic. Prosciutto, maple roll, pastry, profiterole and absinthe were very good. I didn't mind the heart or the tongue but I'm not an offal lover so your mileage will vary. I tasted: it was well prepared and the sauce for the tongue was fantastic but my problem is conceptual so I am not an adequate judge on these matters.
I missed the squid ink risotto and egg benedict but I will be back to take my revenge (is it really a Dim Sum if you don't miss some elements?)
It cost us around 40$ before tip each, which, if you take into account that we took absinthe (the PDC version of a mimosa) is on par with the other gastronomic options (i.e.: Pyrrhus's taster's plate with Mimosa comes to mind) and if you take into account the amount of food you get and the quality, its a fantastic value (I'm thinking of La Fabrique and the Birks Café brunch).
Thanks for the head's up! I wasn't able to go yesterday but my husband went by and got a slice of tourtiere from the food truck. It looked pretty small but he enjoyed it. And the packaging is nice. He also grabbed the menu which looks a little different from the one you posted here, now has some dumplings on it? Will have to try soon.
Yes, you are right. The menu changed. And, yes, I know because I went back this Sunday! :P
This time, I tried:
* the croissant (quite good);
* the squid-ink risotto with mussels (the risotto was very good; not sure about the mussels, which I don't eat- and which were left to my partner-in-crime);
* the egg benedict with smoked salmon (it had been my favourite the week before so I HAD to repeat it - and, again, it was excellent! The egg was cooked to perfection, and their hollandaise is amazing!)
* the tripe (which was excellent! I highly recommend it - even if I'm not the greatest lover of offal)
* the chicken dumpling (good, but I am not a fan of chicken, so, again, not the best judge)
* the foie gras and hazelnut terrine, which was served with some bread (great, but I wish there had been more foie gras...);
* the ribs, which came with some kind of home-made maple-BBQ glaze (good, but not amazing: not much meat, and it was too cold when it came to the table);
* and the lobster dumpling (a big dumpling, with lobster stuffing and served in some sauce - can't remember what exactly - but it was VERY good!).
This time I passed on dessert because I had not loved the profiteroles the first time, but that was an item they kept on the menu.
They had some other dishes which looked really good, but, given I had left feeling extremely stuffed the Sunday before, this time I tried to have a more parsimonious meal.
Again, food + beverages (a tea and a cappuccino) came to some $55 for 2 people, after tax & tip. So, not bad at all.
I was really jonesing their tourtière (which I absolutely love), but had enough to eat as was. Maybe next time...
We were also there yesterday and got a small assortment of dishes (but with a vegetarian in tow we had to take as many minimal-meat dishes as we could). Sorry for the vague descriptions:
- 2x fried Pancake topped with hammy-smoked meat and brie/camembert
- 2x toast with vegetables and cheese (possible Epoisses?!)
- Lobster dumplings (also contained pork bits in a meat broth)
- Brussel sprouts in a peanuty sauce (possible hoisin?)
- Crispy piglet trotters with a maple and mustard dipping sauce
- Baked pork n' beans
- Cinnamon bun
- Enormous apple turnover
- A round of cappuccinos
- 2x Irished-up coffees
Total for 3 was about $85 before tip. Everything was excellent - definitely a great value from most dishes. When we were seated at 1pm there was definitely more staff (including Martin) than clientele. I hope this brunch plan works out for them - it feels a bit like busy work to employ the sugar/apple shack staff during off-season.
We went today and thoroughly enjoyed the concept. It's close by, no fussy reservations made months in advance (last night anyone?) or any lineup, and you can eat as much or as little as you want which is a big change from the cabane. Outstanding things I tried included the almond croissants - so luscious it reminded me of a Dutch banketstaaf which is entirely appropriate as Sintaklaas approaches, the "bines" (pork and beans), the garlic sausage salad which had a great dressing and a lots of ham, and the paté de campagne with foie gras. The lobster dumpling was nice but a bit tough, smoked oyster was great according to dh, prosciutto as good as we expected. The salmon head was delicious and well-prepared, and served alongside it was nice crusty bread. Oh, nearly forgot the poached eggs with salmon and cretons, very nice. We didn't try the absinthe but the preparations were pretty fascinating. Good fun and we are also planning our return visit.
I see it is still listed on their website so I guess they decided to make this an ongoing thing. 10am to 2pm on Sundays. I am travelling by myself this weekend to Montreal. My last trip I did the APDC Sugar Shack for the Apple Season. I am thinking of adding APDC to my brunch options for Sunday. I am wondering if it is worth going as an individual or will I just get full on a dish or two and not be able to try much? I like that they have seatings until 2pm. I will probably sleep in because of Nuit Blanche. I am going to explore this board for other options as well (previous trips included Maison Publique and Le Comptoir for brunch)
You definitely will be able to try more than a couple of dishes; each one really is dimsum-sized, so you could probably have 3-4 + a couple of viennoiseries (definitely get the maple cinnamon buns if they have them). One of the benefits of eating brunch alone is that they have standing-room-only placements right in front of the kitchen, where you can chat with the chefs and sometimes they'll sneak you a couple of freebies. It's a great experience, and I highly recommend it.