Eater Montreal spoke to Sparrow and Cardinal Tea Room partner Murad Meshgini about the former's kitchen makeover, which includes a new chef, and some other significant changes on tap.
Take it away Murad.
So yeah we have finished our kitchen renovations to update the look, size and efficiency of the cuisine. That went well though of course took a bit longer than planned.
With [chef] Jeremiah Bullied and his team gone, the bar and kitchen and the upstairs at Cardinal are all quite integrated in a way which was not possible when we were basically subletting the kitchen, first to Marc Cohen and Ethan Wills [both of Lawrence] and then to Jeremiah. Some good side effects of this include: now taking Visa and MasterCard, the desserts coming from Cardinal (Kathy Daehler), the nighttime food menu being available at the same time that the bar opens (5pm on weekdays) instead of at 6pm...to name a few.
Meshgini went on to laud his new chef, Jay Taylor, and provide specifics on the new Sparrow food and drinks revamp.
As far as the actual chef, menu and approach, here is the 411: Jay Taylor who used to run Scratch Kitchen is well versed in high-end pub grub (ex. his amazing Devil's on Horseback, an awesome burger with meat ground on premises, fried squid, chicken livers on toast, chorizo and white wine mussels, a steak to rival any in the city I've had, etc.)
Jay is best known for his Indian food (my wife Reema Singh [of Cocoa Locale fame] will not eat on Jean Talon but loves his Indian dishes) as well as some serious interest and skills in the area of Middle Eastern cuisine.
This is reflected in dishes like his butter chicken, a hearty vegetarian channa masala, the smoked pork chop with vindaloo masala and aloo gobi, and my favorite Indian and pub grub fusion: the spicy tandoori chicken wings.
There is an effort also to provide delicious and satisfying but lighter options. For example, asparagus with a poached egg, a warm spinach and lentil salad, and a pan-roasted trout.
The signature dessert is a take on sticky toffee pudding but made with dates. Kathy Daehler will usually provide a changing dessert special as well.
To complement the new food menu, we have a new cocktail menu, some new bottled beers and (most importantly for my wife) some really nice new wines including two suggested and distributed by Theo Diamantis of Oenopole!
Sparrow - New Brunch Menu
Brunch looks to be roughly as follows:
YOGURT & GRANOLA
house-made granola, macerated fruit, honey
apple butter, candied walnuts, maple syrup (option: bacon)
TURKISH BREAKFAST PLATE
feta, olives, tomato, cucumber, soft boiled egg, flatbread, fig jam (option: merguez)
FRIED FARM EGGS with SAGE
sourdough toast, roasted potatoes, bacon or grilled tomato
spinach & green onion pancake, soft boiled egg, beet salad
farm eggs poached in a Morrocan spiced tomato sauce, salad, flatbread (option: merguez)
STEAK AND EGGS
spencer steak, farm eggs, chimichuri, sweet potato fries, tomato & cucumber salad
PB & J DONUTS (3)
One final, vital tidbit from Meshgini.
In a few weeks we will (finally) be open on Sundays, the only night the kitchen is presently not open. Instead of running with the regular menu, however, we will do a Sunday Roast in the spirit and tradition of a British pub. 50 or so portions of the classic roast meal with all the trimmings and a vegetarian option from 7pm until sold out. I loved this on a recent trip to London and am looking forward to having it here.