Written by Jonathan Brouillette on 20.04.15

Birthdays are worth remembering. Birthdays at Garde Manger are hard to remember. Why? Because the drinks at Garde Manger are quite simply out-of-this-world. However, that fuzzy chaser the next day will be well worth the incredible night people have at Garde Manger.

Start with a wait staff: so warm and inviting, they brighten the sexy darkness of the room. Always available, perpetually helpful, and loaded with a great joke or five, the waiters and waitresses add to every table’s experience. It’s rare enough when a waiter doesn’t stop conversation flat, but when they are quick witted and familiar enough to add to it, they may as well be a magical unicorn! Chuck Hughes seems to have a whole herd of them at Garde Manger.

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And they bring with them sweet, sour, and spicy concoctions so good you wonder if you really need food at all. Pumpkin-flavoured old fashions add a seasonal twist that balances the strong alcohol with the earthy pumpkin. Giant Long Island Ice Teas actually manage to have flavour beyond the epic amount of alcohol within. And the king, nay… the god of all drinks at Garde Manger: The Bloody Caesar. It’s topped with a clam shell of tangy beef jerky and pickled chutney which honestly should be a dish in and of itself. This Caesar manages to perfectly balance the spice with the tang of horseradish for one of our favourite drinks in the city.

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Of course, as good as the drinks are, they tend to require food so as not to get too… happy. Garde Manger is happy to oblige with a menu that changes with the freshness of the market. The jerk crab legs are pure amazing, but be warned, they are deliciously spicy. It took nearly a week for the thought of them to stop giving us the sweats. On the other hand, the delicate sweetness of the scallops in a bacon chutney will leave you craving more. Let’s not leave out their famous lobster poutine that can always be found on the menu. Packed with chunks of lobster and delicious gravy… We’ll let you imagine the rest. And then you’ll want to get your hands on the seafood risotto. Flowing like lava, the creamy rice hides a cornucopia of seafood all immersed perfectly in a taste of pure perfection.  Packed with buttery flavor, this risotto will shine like a lighthouse through the haze of the next morning to remind you of your epic night.

Did we forget anything? Probably… it was one of those nights. Rest assured though, Garde Manger is an excellent restaurant with wonderful drinks. Use it as a launch board for your night or center your night on its hedonistic pleasures.

408 Rue Saint François Xavier, Montréal, Québec H2Y 2S9
(514) 678-5044

Photos: Crown Salts Instagram

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