Friday, 1 August 2014

Suite 88 - Chocolatier


I've always wanted to go here and I finally went with my sister. When we first walked in, we got distracted by all goodies (chocolate, gelato, cakes). 



Menu
The menu was on the board. After deciding what to get, we ordered and paid at the main counter. 
My sister and I each got Green Tea (Jasmine) and waffle with 2 choices of gelato. 
Click here to view their online menu (available on their website). 

Gelato Flavors: They had a couple of gelato flavors: vanilla, praline, mango, fudge, mango, ginger, watermelon, orange, chili chocolate, etc.



Seating
After placing our order, they told us to be seated and they would bring us the food to our table. 

Their tables were quite small but we had 2 tables stuck together, so it wasn't that bad. 


We were sitting by the window and we got the view of outside. Most of the people were seated outside. 



Tea

First, we got our tea... Can't go wrong with jasmine tea!


Belgian Waffles

Then came our belgian waffles! They were small but so filling! We weren't able to finish them. My sister and I should have shared one.



Something didn't work with me. I found the waffles too sweet but my sister didn't, which is weird because I'm much more of a dessert person than she is. She didn't choose 2 flavors of gelato though. She only had praline, while I chose praline and vanilla. The praline one complemented the waffle better than vanilla. In my opinion, only one scoop of gelato is better especially since the waffle isn't that big. 

Waffle with 2 scoops of gelato (vanilla and praline)
Their service was good too! We didn't wait too long to get our food. I really wanted to love their waffles but sadly I didn't. I'm going to give it another chance and get the waffle without gelato next time.

Suite 88 Chocolatier - de Maisonneuve Ouest on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Fenêtre Sur Kaboul

Fenêtre Sur Kaboul


May 11th, 2014

I love Afghan food and there aren't many Afghan restaurants in Montreal, so when I found out about this one, I just had to go! I went on a Sunday evening with a friend and had no problem finding parking (less than a minute of walking distance to the restaurant).


DINING AREA

I liked the dining area. It was nice and spacious with beautiful interior. I saw a kite, some of their cultural clothing on the walls and other elements representing the Afghan culture. Most importantly, I felt comfortable dining there. We got a table by the window and it was a nice spot, a little secluded from other tables. 





MENU



Menu is available on their website and Facebook page (see photos below).

Halal: The waitress confirmed us that the meat is halal and it's written on their online menu as well.

Photo from Fenêtre Sur Kaboul

Photo from Fenêtre Sur Kaboul

Drinks: 
  • Soft Drinks
  • Coffe or Tea
  • Mineral Water
They don't serve alcohol but you can bring your own wine

Desserts:
  • Creme Rohls
  • Baklawa
  • Rasmalayii
  • Shiryakh
  • Firnee


They start off by bringing some Afghan Bread with butter, two sauces (both a little spicy) and some pickled vegetables. The green sauce was made out of mint. It tasted a lot like how my family makes it but more spicy. 



MAIN DISH: CURIOSITY

I was about to get Mantou (my favorite) but it didn't come with rice, so I opted for their Curiosity main dish. If it's your first time trying Afghan cuisine, then this is perfect for you because you get to try out a variety of things. I took this because it was my first time there and I wasn't sure if I would like their food. 

This is what it came with: bolani, ashak, mantou, quabuli, chapli kabob and Salat e Afghani (salad)

Curiosity

Their manto was a little different than what I'm used to eating. I love mantou especially my best friend's mom's mantou. Theirs was still good.

Mantou

I don't think I've ever tried Ashak before but I loved it. It was delicious! It had more flavour than their mantou but it wasn't spicy, which I absolutely love! The meat sauce on top was juicy and complemented well the rest of the dish. That's one of the main reasons why I preferred their Ashak more than their mantou.

Ashak

Chapli Kabob (beef) was good but spicy. However, it did have a nice flavor to it. 

Chapli Kabob

Quabuli: Rice with raisins, carrots and pistachios. It was pretty good! There wasn't any meat but I ate it with the chalpi kabob and it tasted great. 

Quabuli

I really like bolani (ok I pretty much like almost all of the Afghan dishes except the grilled items lol). I love how their bolani was cooked. It was soft and tasted so good! 

Bolani

It came with Salat e Afghani (salad), which is basically chopped cucumber, onions, tomatoes, coriander, mint leaves and lemon juice on top. I love this salad! I usually make it at home. There wasn't much salad on our plate but it was good enough. I like starting off with salad before a heavy meal like this one. 

Aside from the salad, here's a list of the items in order of preference ("1" being my most favorite):
  1. Ashak
  2. Bolani
  3. Quabuli
  4. Mantou
  5. Chapli Kabob
I'm glad I took this because I know what to get next time I go there. I'm most likely going to order Ashak as my main dish! It's my favorite dish from there!


TEA LOUNGE


After our meal, we were asked if we wanted to be seated in the tea lounge for tea/dessert and I'm glad we did because it was such a nice cozy area. I love the ambience and it's so relaxing! There isn't any shisha but if ever you're looking for a spot just for dessert and tea/coffee, then this is it. 

Desserts:
    • Creme Rohls
    • Baklawa
    • Rasmalayii
    • Shiryakh
    • Firnee

I got the Moroccan Mint Tea, which was so soothing! I'm so happy I got it! I love drinking tea especially after a heavy meal.



Last but certainly not the least... I got Shiryakh and OMG it was amazing. It tasted a lot like ice cream that I have tasted in Pakistan and I immediately fell in love. They make it from scratch, so that's probably why it tastes this good!



I'm so happy I discovered this restaurant. I'll definitely go back. Yes, it's a little pricey but it's totally worth it! 
Food: Their food overall was very good and I love how they use fresh ingredients. You can literally taste the quality of the food. I've only tried one dessert and I fell in love. Can't wait to try their other desserts! 
Service: I love their service! Our waitress was very sweet and helpful! We didn't wait too long for our food and they kept on checking up on us. They were all very nice and welcoming! 
I've already started telling some of my friends to go there next time. I'd love to go back and try their other desserts very soon. I want to try out their creme rohls next time!

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Update - July 5th

I went back with my sister and 3 of my close friends. We were all impressed with their food! I kind of had a pressure because I was introducing this restaurant to them but I was relieved to hear they were all happy with their food.

Some of us were fasting, so they brought dates, which was nice. I like breaking my fast with dates and usually carry it with me but I had asked them beforehand and they said they provide them.

My sister and I decided to get a couple of things to share. Here's what we got: bolani (appetizer), ashak (appetizer) and manto (main dish). This worked out great for us!! We were both very satisfied and full by the end of our meal.

Mantoo (top) and Ashak (bottom)

Two of my friends shared the following: Curiosity and Ashak and they were quite satisfied with their meal. I actually got this when I first went there and it gave me a chance to try out a variety of things. I'm glad I did because I was easily able to make my decision this time. 
Curiosity

One of my friends wanted a vegetarian dish and she seemed to have found the right one: Tarkari Chalow. Although I haven't tried this, it's a great vegetarian option and I love that it provides a variety of items: salad, rice, spinach, eggplant, okra. My friend really liked it!

Tarkari Chalow

Tea lounge

After our meal, we headed to the tea lounge and got dessert and tea. I actually saved some room for dessert because I love their Shiryakh, so I got that along with Moroccan tea just like last time. I wanted to get creme rohl but ended up getting shiryakh. 



My sister got Baklava and it was good. 

My friend got Ras Malai and she said it was good as well.


All of my friends got Moroccan tea and they really liked it. The waitress suggested 3 kettles for 5 of us instead of 1 kettle each and I'm glad we did that because the tea was more than enough for all of us! 




Fenêtre Sur Kaboul on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Uni Sushi

UNI SUSHI

Click here to see their menu (french menu).

What we got:
  • Vegetarian Miso Soup
  • Shrimp Tempura
  • Spring Roll Maki (salmon)
  • Dragon Eye
  • Volcano
  • Pizza Sushi
  • Fried Banana
I liked the Vegetarian Miso Soup
Miso Soup

I love shrimp tempuras but these didn't live up to my expectation. They weren't as crispy as I would like them to be. 

Shrimp Tempura

Pizza Sushi was delicious! My friend made me a try a piece and I loved it so much that I ordered one too.
Pizza Sushi

It was my first time trying Spring Roll Maki (salmon) and I didn't like it at all. 
Spring Roll Maki (salmon)

I didn't really eat sushi but my friends got Dragon Eye & Volcano and they liked it.



My friend also got fried banana and I tried some and it was good.
Fried Banana

Overall, it's a good restaurant. You can taste the quality in food. My favorite was the pizza sushi! Also, the service is good too. Our waitress was very nice and helpful. I would suggest you to get different dishes and share. That way you pay less and get to try a variety of things.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Zyara (Private room)

Zyara - Private Room


I've been to Zyara last summer and I absolutely loved everything about it: food, service, decorClick here to read my short review on the restaurant overall. This year I've reserved their private room for my sister's birthday dinner for about 15 people.
Check out my other blog posts of the same night:


Requirements: 
  • Minimum of 12 people and maximum of 20 people
  • Fixed menu for everyone (their group menu starts at $39)

Reservation & Planning
I initially emailed them with details (including phone number) and received a call the next day. I was informed that it was booked on Friday and Saturday, so I ended up reserving it on a Sunday. I would suggest calling as early as possible to reserve it on a Friday or Saturday. 
Deposit: A deposit of $200 is required to reserve the private room. 
Menu: I chose the Lebanese menu for all of the guests. I was informed that everything except lamb shanks is halal. 
You can visit their website for more information.
Parking
There's free indoor parking and there's a direct access to the restaurant. Just park near the yellow section (J-K) and take the elevator to second floor. If you didn't park indoor or took another exit, simply find the gate J-K and take the elevator to the second floor. 
It was a little confusing for some of my friends but they ended up finding their way through. I personally prefer parking and taking the elevator directly up to the restaurant. I also usually park at the second basement floor (S2) because they are usually less cars parked there.

Entrance
The restaurant is very easy to find once you reach the 2nd floor. When we walked in, the hostess greeted us and we were asked to wait for few minutes. Not all of my guests had arrived at that point, so we had no problem at all waiting. We were seated comfortably. We waited about 5 minutes and headed towards the private room...
This photo was taken in July 2013

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PRIVATE ROOM

The room itself wasn't very spacious but we were all seated comfortably and had no problem moving around. 



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Decor

The moment we entered the room, we were mesmerized by the decor.



Table Setting 

I just loved the table setting overall. It was so classy! The red seats complemented well the black table.


    Painting

    There was large painting on one side of the wall right next to the entrance.



Carved Windows


In the picture below, you can see the reflection of the Middle Eastern style carved windows with transparent drapes placed in front.


Mirror

The large mirror definitely gave the illusion of an open space but it also enhanced the room lighting. 



Lighting

The carved golden ceiling lamps in various shapes were so elegant. 



As it gets dark, they usually dim the lights but we asked them not to. 




My Overall Impression of Decor
I loved the room decor! It incorporated many of Middle Eastern colours (red, gold, purple) and elements (ceiling lamps, carved windows) but it still had certain Western components to it (painting, table setting). 


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Lebanese Menu

Even though the menu was fixed for everyone, it had a variety of dishes that pleased everyone. There were few vegetarian items as well (items in blue). 
  • Cold Mezzas
    • Fattouche: Romaine and frisee lettuce, mint leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes & crispy bread
    • Hummus: Chickpea puree, tahini & lemon Juice
    • Kebbeh Nayeh: Beef tartar, bulgar onions, mint leaves & olive oil 
    • Warak Enab: Vine leaves stuffed with vegetables
    • Basterma: Cured and dried beef slices with Armenian spices
    • Chanklish: Dried cow's milk cheese with thyme and basil, cherry tomatoes & green onions
  • Hot Mezza
    • Cheese Rikakat: Crispy cheese rolls
    • Soujouk: Spicy Armenian sausages, cherry tomatoes, green onions
    • Falafel: Chickpea fritters, tarator & beet sauce
    • Zyara Shrimps: Flambeed Shrimps with arak, garlic & parsley
    • Mixed Grilled Platter: 
      • 4 skewers (shish taouk, kafta and shish kebab)
      • Grilled onions and tomatoes 
      • Zyara pita
      • French fries 
      • Garlic Sauce
  • Dessert
    • Baklavas
You can find the description of the items listed above on their "à la carte" Menu. 


Pita Bread

They started off by bringing pita bread, which reminded me a bit of the one I had at Paramount Fine Foods. It wasn't as soft as theirs but it still tasted pretty good.


Fattouche

The best part of this salad is the crispy bread on top. So good!!!


Hummus

Their hummus was good! I had it with pita bread.

Kebbeh Nayeh
It was my first time eating beef tartare and was a bit hesitant to try it but I'm glad because it was delicious! So light and soft. That's exactly what I would get next time I'm there.


Warak Enab
It was good! Tasted a lot like the ones I've had in the past.

Basterma
It was okay. Not a huge fan of it.

Chanklish
It was my first time trying this and I really liked it!


Falafel
It was a little too salty for me but then again I'm not a huge fan of falafels.  


  • Mixed Grilled Platter: 
    • 4 skewers (shish taouk, kafta and shish kebab)
    • Grilled onions and tomatoes
    • French fries 
    • Garlic Sauce
Cheese Rikakat, Soujouk & Zyara Shrimps

I didn't take any pictures of these items:

Cheese Rikakat was salty but good.
As for Soujouk, it was okay. I don't really like sausages.  
Zyara Shrimps didn't have much flavor to them. 

Mixed Grilled Platter
By the time I got to this platter, I was almost full, so only tried a bit of their shish taouk, which was okay. I usually don't like grilled meat in general. 


Dessert

They finally served baklavas, which were delicious!

We had also brought in our own cake & mini cupcakes. Some of us (myself included) were too full to even have either of those. Normally, I save room for desserts but this time I just couldn't.

Cake Collage posted on my Instagram


My Overall Impression of Food
I really liked the food overall. Everything tasted so fresh! I love the quality of their food. My favorite was Kebbeh Nayeh and my least favorite was Zyara Shrimps. We were all overwhelmed with the abundance of food! I also liked their food presentation. 


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Service

I was so impressed with the service. The waiters were very helpful and nice. We asked one of them to take a picture of the group but instead he took several shots from different angles, which turned out superb! 

However, it wasn't just the photography skills that impressed me but also the feeling of having everything taken care of. Few years ago, there was this one waiter who brought the plates before the cake and we were "surprising" my friend, so obviously she figured it out. Luckily, the waiters at Zyara brought in the cake then the plates and desserts.   

We didn't wait too long to get our food. In fact, the service was pretty fast considering the fact that we were 15 people. You can tell they're good at handling large groups. 

Aside from the service at the restaurant itself, the executive chef/associate who assisted me throughout the planning did a wonderful job. He was very helpful and professional. He answered all of my questions and definitely exceeded my expectations. I was very pleased!


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Lounge
There was a direct access to the lounge from the private room. We didn't have time to go there after since we finished late but I went there last year and it's very cozy and nice. They have electronic shishas now though. I'm planning on going there in the summer. 
The view of the lounge from the glass door of the private room
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My Overall Review

It's hard to find a restaurant with good food and service nowadays but this is absolutely one of them. I love the decor and ambience of Zyara. I've only been there twice so far but enjoyed both times. 

If you're at least 12 people, then I would suggest you to reserve this room. Yes, the menu is fixed but they have a variety of items. I would really recommend the private room for birthdays, bridal showers or any other special occasions. If their menus don't appeal you, then try contacting them to see if they can adjust it to your needs.