As a frequent traveler to Montreal, I love to discover new places to eat and I am really spoilt in this city where the culinary scene is continually changing. I had read some good reviews and seen gorgeous photos about Perles et Paddock when it opened in June 2017, and I could not wait for my next trip to Montreal to get to try it. The opportunity arose a fortnight ago during an extended stay for my eldest daughter’s graduation. I was quite excited, even though I was by myself that day. As there is nothing (in my opinion) sadder than eating and having no one to chat with, I chose to sit at the bar. Also because it is the best spot for people-watching, I must confess;).
Perles et Paddock is Maxime Perrault and Jessica Goulet’s “baby”. I have no idea if these two are in a relationship (and this is none of my business) but they are clearly “partners in crime” in this pretty business. I intentionally wrote “pretty” because what strikes in the first place is the beauty of the restaurant. From the outside, it is a white rectangular one-level building with a large window and a small door (it used to be a garage). But, as soon as one walks inside, one is struck by an impression of space and light thanks to the high ceiling, the glass roof in the center, and the immaculate walls. WOW. It made me think of the Tardis in Dr. Who (one of my favorite series) when every visitor says that “it’s bigger on the inside”! I know only real fans will understand me haha! Of course, I noticed an abundance of plants everywhere (and a tree), like in all the new trendy places. The decor, designed by Maxime himself with the help of architect Maurice Martel and FX Studio is so gorgeous that it has just been nominated at the prestigious “Restaurant & Bar Design Awards”.
The name “Perles et Paddock” (pearls and paddock) is quite strange, isn’t it? I might be narrow-minded, but when I think of horses, I don’t particularly picture them wearing jewels haha! So why this name? “Paddock” because Griffintown district used to have urban stables until very recently. OK, I get that one. “Pearls” because, ahem, well, nobody really knows… There are several alternative interpretations: some say that the restaurant is a “petite perle” (a hidden gem) which makes quite some sense. Others claim that the whiteness of the place is reminiscent of the mother-of-pearl. Personally, I like the “mother-of-pearl” version. What about you?
Perles et Paddock is a restaurant where alcohol is taken very seriously. At the bar, there is at least a dozen gleaming beer taps from which Quebec microbrewers’ beers are delivered. The cocktail and the wine lists are very extensive, too. They make everything in house, even the dried fruits they put in their cocktails! The restaurant opened its doors in June 2017 with small dishes to share then extended the menu to more consistent items. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and indicated by small icons on the menu. The food is under the management of Quebec Chef Paddy Cheang and French Pastry Chef Adrien Thomas.
I, unfortunately, could not test the regular options; I was there on a Sunday when the only menu available was the brunch. But the good side is that I could actually enjoy the natural light, right under the glass roof, at the Bar (on weekdays, the restaurant is only open in the evening). I avoided the too-classic-for-me items like pancakes and French toasts and opted for a very Mediterranean shakshouka. As I explained to Maxime (which put an unintended pressure on him), it is a dish I grew up with, being of Sephardic descent. It was really good, just as spicy as it should be and with plenty of freshly chopped herbs. My grand-mothers used to put merguez sausage in it, but maybe it was a very personal version of theirs. The banana fritters that followed, accompanied by a citrus fruit marmalade were a bit too rich for me. Not the cook’s fault, it was just too much after the copious shakshouka. My espresso was perfect. The barman was really warm and friendly and answered all my questions very graciously. The owner Maxime also chatted with me, he seems like a very nice and professional person.
I had a really pleasant moment at Perles et Paddock. This brunch made me want to come back to test the evening menu, sip a gorgeous cocktail and indulge in oysters and some of the hearty dishes I have seen on their Instagram.
Date of dinner: April 2018
Price range: cocktails 8-15 dollars, beers 5-7 dollars, Starters: 17-19 dollars, Mains 28-36 dollars, Desserts 11-15 dollars, Brunch items from 7 to 22 dollars
Perfect for: friends, families, dates, special occasions (you can privatize a room), a late drink, brunch on week-ends.
Perles et Paddock
403 rue des Seigneurs, Montreal H3J 1X7
Tel : +00 514-931-0004