Counting calories seems like a myopic, antiquated legacy of 1980s fad diets but that's exactly what one Montreal restaurant is up to with a new health-conscious, reduced-fat menu. De-Light is how the Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile's Le Renoir restaurant brands it. The initiative extends across the luxury brand's worldwide network of hotels and spas, and supplements, not replaces, regular menus at Sofitel restaurants. "De-Light means maximum pleasure and minimum calories. Give in to the temptation of gourmet cuisine without compromising your healthy lifestyle goals. Savor exquisite, nutritionally-balanced dishes featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and offering memorable dining experiences," trumpets Sofitel's website.
Gazette food columnist Julian Armstrong reports that Renoir chef Olivier Perret "has been paring down calories in these special menus for four years" and "changes the dishes twice a year, incorporating seasonal foods." Perret's latest De-Light menu, sampled by Armstrong at a media lunch, features the likes of Quebec cantaloupe with smoked duck magret and sheep’s-milk feta; Icelandic Arctic char wrapped in Swiss chard leaves, served with Quebec carrots "and enhanced with an emulsion of zero-fat yogurt and horseradish." Throw in rice pudding with pears and maple syrup for dessert and the meal's calorie count comes in at 700. Armstrong enumerates other calorie totals on the menu: venison carpaccio with pears and milkweed pods (60 calories); seared scallops with lentils and cumin-flavoured carrots (65 calories); mushroom-stuffed guinea fowl with artichokes (160 calories); marinated British Columbia coho salmon with beets (360 calories). Curious to try Le Renoir's De-Light menu? Call (514) 285-9000 to reserve.