Harlow, a new restaurant in Old Montreal from noted impresarios Steve (Stevie B.) Benhamron and Brahms Yaiche, is just about ready in the former À L'Aventure at 438 Place Jacques Cartier.
Benhamron spoke today about the ambitious project and the plans architect Philip Hazan has for the space–which the city of Montreal evaluates at $3.9 million.
The building dates back to the 1830s. When we arrived we were faced with a restaurant that had been on site for 30 years. It lacked a lot of love and was pretty rundown. But what was interesting was it contained different rooms. So the idea is to create dimensions. The dining room will remain a dining room and won't turn into a club. We have four elements in mind: a dining room, the bar, the salon and the terrasse. It's a layered effect.
The 90-seat plus dining room has been completely reframed. All the mechanics are hidden in the drop ceiling and pushed to the curb. The moulding and paneling contains some very cool lighting effects that looks like a giant vanity. It's a design nod to 1930s and '40s. That's sort of the driving influence of Harlow and a direction you'll see the menu (from chef Jason Bivall, late of the Gault) take as well. At the end of the day it's about accessible sophistication.
The photos may evince a work very much in progress but Harlow will be open for a few pre-booked corporate events next week. The restaurant will open quietly to the public, soft launch mode style, on December 13. A more formal announcement will be made to trumpet Harlow's arrival in January.
All interior photos by Randall Brodeur. Exterior photo courtesy Google Street View.