In case you were wondering why I haven’t gone off an impassioned rant about the perils and pitfalls of the dating scene lately… it’s because I have a new man. While I’m sure many of you will be crestfallen at the lack of comedic canon fodder that came from my trials and tribulations as a single girl, I hope you can quickly overcome your disappointment and share in my delirious happiness of having found someone to love.
So, without further adieu, Internet, allow me to introduce you to Michael.
We recently had the opportunity to enjoy our first weekend away in Montreal and the fine folks at Le Germain Hotel Montreal were kind enough to host and help us celebrate our new romance with first-rate hospitality.
Le Germain Hotel is located in the beating heart of Montreal’s downtown core, mere steps from the Museum of Fine Arts (one of my perennial favourite destinations in the city), fantastic shopping on Sainte-Catherine Street, and wonderful coffee shops and cocktail bars.
It seemed only fitting we stay at Le Germain as the hotel recently underwent sweeping renovations inside and out. The revamped, eye-catching facade bears a mural by Canadian artist, Michelle Hoogveld, called, “Dazzle My Heart”. What could be more apropos?
The feast for the eyes continues in the interior spaces of the hotel. Both common spaces, dining areas, and rooms offer the charm of a modern reinterpretation of the sixties-inspired decor. The calming tonal colour palates throughout are given dimension with a thoughtful textural interplay between stone, leather, and ribbed wood paneling.
Nods to mod can be found in the whimsical wall coverings found in the powder rooms which feature news clippings from the ’60s, retro Montreal Canadiens hockey cards, and Expo 67 iconography. We found blissful quiet and tranquility in our Round Bed Room which offered stunning views of the city’s buzzy downtown core, with none of the noise.
The round bed served real “mid-century love nest” vibes and the floating chair made for a comfy reading nook.
I know what you’re thinking, “Okay lovebirds, did you spend ALL your time in the room?” The answer to that would be, “No, we made the occasional outing…to eat…and drink.”
Luckily we didn’t have to venture far for gastronomic and spirituous delights. Le Germain Hotel Montreal is home to both Flaneur Bar Lounge and Le Boulevardier Restaurant. After settling in, we headed down to Flaneur for oysters and cocktails. The menu features everyone’s favourite molluscs are served in one of two grilled preparations or classically on the half-shell.
Michael and I kept it simple with a dozen raw oysters and I thoroughly enjoyed the Mezcal and Cucumber cocktail which perfectly balanced the smokiness of the agave spirit with the refreshing flavour of cucumber and a subtle citrus acidity. My beau sipped on the Pamplemousse Plane which a charming riff on the classic Paper Plane cocktail.
After a round of cocktails and oysters, we headed upstairs to the beautifully appointed Le Boulevardier Restaurant. The menu boasts French brasserie-inspired dishes made with fresh, local fare. The carefully composed wine list is similarly French leaning and we enjoyed a bottle of Roselana from one of my favourite Niagara wineries, Pearl Morissette – a crushable fruit-forward rosé for all seasons.
We tucked in at the chef’s table so we could have front-row seats to the effortless ballet of chefs, servers, and expediters turning out artful dishes in perfect time. We opted to have the team surprise us with selections from the menu. For our first course, they turned out a beef carpaccio that allowed each ingredient to sing in its refined simplicity of beef carpaccio, parmesan shavings, and basil. We also sampled perfectly pan-seared scallops served alongside a corn vellouté drizzled with hazelnut oil.
The mains brought classic French decadence in the shape of grilled beef tenderloin topped with seared foie gras and accompanied by wild mushrooms. The foie gras melted in your mouth and the unctuous tenderloin was cooked to a flawless medium-rare. I was delighted by the toothsome roasted monkfish tail served on a bed of jasmine rice risotto in a creamy bisque and Madeira emulsion. House-made prosciutto chips brought salinity and a welcome crunch.
Now, one thing you need to know about me is that I have a *serious* sweet tooth and am a self-proclaimed dessert snob. The sweets on offer at Le Boulevardier were some of the best I’ve had in YEARS. This is not an exaggeration. Since we dined there, I’ve caught myself (on multiple occasions) slip into a mid-day reverie about the life-affirming desserts I had the privilege of tasting there.
All too often, when desserts look as good as the one pictured above, they’re all form, no flavour. Well, dear reader, at Le Boulevardier the perfection of this presentation was equally matched, if not exceeded by its taste. In addition to this mango, coconut confection, we shared a white chocolate cake with chocolate dacquoise and kaffir lime and pistachio mousse that was carefully molded into the shape of a white chocolate bar.
I’m pleased to report that the hospitality at Flaneur Bar Lounge and Le Boulevardier were exceptional. We were greeted warmly and got to share in wonderful conversation with the owner, chefs, bartenders, and maître d’ throughout the evening.
So, if you’re looking for an excuse to celebrate your honeymoon phase or rekindle the spark after decades of partnership, I highly recommend a weekend in Montreal calling Le Germain Hotel your home base. For more recommendations on how to spend your time in the city, check out my 48 Hours in Montreal post.