Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Babacool brings all the traditions of Middle Eastern cuisine but combines them with a futuristic twist. The restaurant — specializing in sharing plates and natural wines — looks like it could be an impeccably decorated spaceship. It's also affordable, with plates ranging from $3 to $22.
Naturally, we started off with drinks. I got the Hi Gin cocktail, made with Tanqueray, yuzu and simple syrup to refresh me on a scorching hot day and, let me tell you, it did the trick.
My friend got the Spicy Marg with Sauza Tequila, dry curuçao, chilli salt and dehydrated chilli. Honestly, the drinks were so good that we would have tried them all if we could.
Next, we moved onto appetizers. Anyone familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine knows that appetizers mean lots and lots of dipping! We tried the hummus, labneh and mouhamara — all with freshly made za'atar pita.
Now, I don't want to brag, but I've made my way through a hummus or two and I take hummus VERY seriously. So, as a self-proclaimed expert, I can easily say this was some of the best I've had in the city to date. We also got some vine leaves (my fave!).
Moving onto mains, we shared shakshouka, a halloumi salad and shrimp served with star anise, ouzo, feta, and radish. All three dishes were fresh and beyond compare. As I always say, you know a dish is incredible when you delay your last bite just so the meal lasts a little longer.
While the food was exceptional and the drinks were beautiful, my favourite part of the whole night was the staff. Hubert, our server, is the type of server who loves people and loves what he does. He made a great night even better.
We also met Sophie Chenier, who owns Babacool along with her husband Charles Manceau and restauranteur Marco Benatar. Benatar is co-owner of other popular Montreal eateries, like Jatoba and Flyjin.
Tucked away on Saint-Denis, this spot serves up big flavours — from plates to pitchers — with "Asian flavour bombs + Killer cocktails & Sangria," as it says on the restaurant's Instagram page.
Mayhem has made quite a name for itself for its unique flavours of sangria, like Sweet Karma, which has strawberries and Thai basil, Jackie Chan's Punch Mango, made with passionfruit and bird's eye chilli and Bruce Lee-chi with lychee and raspberry.
Plus there are lots of signature cocktails, like the Oasis, consisting of spiced rum, mango, coconut milk, lime and spices.
As for the food menu, it's packed with influences from a range of Asian cultures and cuisines.
"Mayhem, which accurately means ''chaos '', is the name that the chef-owner May chose to give her first restaurant," the website explains. "Chaos depicts the constant waves of ideas running through her thoughts, the mix of flavours, the combination of cultures and the noisy clash of the dining room and the kitchen."
There's even a whole vegan menu!
Chef May told MTL Blog, "Mayhem does not seek to follow the rules but rather celebrate Montreal's multicultural culinary scene."
If you've never experienced Mayhem before, it's definitely something to put on your radar. If you have been, you don't need us to tell you why it deserves another visit. Mayhem has great drinks, great food and an abundance of great vibes.
Mayhem Saveurs Asiatiques
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Address: 4433, rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: The only thing more impressive than the drinks is the mouthwatering food menu.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because SHAY was offering a takeout menu until July when the team officially opened the doors to its dining room and coffee bar. And, if you thought the takeout menu was impressive, just wait until you step inside.
"We wanted to do a very fun, easy-going, but still super cool higher-end version of Lebanese food," owner and operator Olivier Berkani told MTL Blog. The indoor dining room radiates casual class with an air of mystery, and the terrasse is like an outdoor oasis above the busy streets of Griffintown.
If the stunning decor wasn't enough to convince you to head to Griffintown, the menu from Chef Joe Awad and his team will leave you drooling. It's filled with staples of Lebanese cuisine, like hummus, labneh and fattoush salad, but there are also some modern plot twists, like a falafel bao, one of the restaurant's most popular items.
The menu is designed for sharing multiple small plates, so don't worry if lots of dishes catch your eye — you can try them all!
And don't forget about the drink menu. SHAY's in-house mixologist has curated a list of signature cocktails that will be shaken up every season. There's also a small wine list and Arak, a traditional Arabic spirit, to really keep things authentic.
Berkani also told us that brunch is definitely in SHAY's future.
But, for now, we're just happy to be able to grab dinner and drinks at the Griffintown restaurant and keep the good times rolling all night long.
Address: 1414, rue Notre-Dame O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: The only thing more impressive than the decor is the dishes, themselves!
But, in addition to being a glamorous hot spot, Fish Bone also has a creative menu full of delicious seafood items served in unique and unexpected ways. The quartet of four tartare cones — one lobster, one hamachi, one salmon and one tuna — is just one of them.
Another example is the salmon tartare with truffle oil and avocado, which is served atop a coconut shell.
The Maldives Salad is a heaping pile of colour and texture including cabbage, crispy wontons, edamame, tofu, shishito peppers and "sweet angel moon" dressing.
Order the ahi tuna burger and you'll get your tuna with crispy seaweed, avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, and tosazu dressing on a fried Chinese bun that looks an awful lot like a hamburger bun. You'll also get a side of french fries.
If you're a true seafood lover then you are undoubtedly drooling right now — especially if you have a thing for raw bars — so here's the information you've been waiting for: Fish Bone is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The screening will take place at the foot of Old Montreal in the Parc du Champs-de-Mars behind City Hall. The movie will be projected onto the wall of the Palais de Justice tower. In a Facebook post, Ville-Marie said this was a first-of-its-kind event.
The borough has selected the 2011 movie Monsieur Lazhar directed by Philippe Falardeau. The movie follows an Algerian immigrant to Montreal who "is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom," according to the IMDb plot summary. It's rated PG-13.
The event is free, but the borough warns spaces are limited. Prospective attendees are required to reserve tickets on Eventbrite. There are still spots available as of the time of writing.
The projection begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 2. Ville-Marie also promises on-site entertainment from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Attendees 13 years old and older will need to show their vaccine passports to access the site.
Get the details below.
Free Outdoor Movie Screening In Downtown Montreal
When: Thursday, September 2, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Parc du Champ-de-Mars
Why You Need To Go: To mark the end of summer with one last outdoor movie.