With the advent of so many anticipated restaurants over the last several months, the new year has generated a batch of benchmark reviews from Montreal's food writers. Today it was Jean-Philippe Tastet's turn to baptize another neophyte with a critical once-over. Twice-over, in Tastet's case. The Devoir critic's review today of Hoogan & Beaufort, which opened on December 22 in the post-industrial Technopôle Angus development, is based on a couple of visits. Tastet is persuaded that Montrealers will like the Rosemont restaurant — a lot.
Excellent news for principals chef Marc-André Jetté, and sommelier William Saulnier. Hoogan & Beaufort is worth a detour, whether you live in Lachine or Rosemère, writes Tastet. For starters the space, from architect Kim Pariseau and Appareil, is magnificent. "On se sent soi-même transporté. À la lecture du menu et de la carte des vins, on l’est encore plus." Jetté and his brigade make good use of the kitchen's huge fire pit; indeed, the word "brûlé" is all over the menu. But rest assured, "rien n’est carbonisé, mais tout a pris un goût très légèrement grillé."
Standout apps include white beet soup enhanced with bresaola, a few mushrooms, and a touch of oats and maple. Roast Gaspor porcelet, another winner, comes with turnip, grapes, and a pinch of vadouvan. Line-caught cod with clams, cubes of squash, and orange plunges the critic into ambient bliss (his words). Desserts at Hoogan & Beaufort, courtesy talented pastry chef Nicolas Riendeau, are exceptional, trumpets Tastet. There's a "burnt" lemon curd with shortbread and honey; a cardamom cake with a fresh cheese chantilly, and a remarkable sea buckthorn ice cream; and, finally, a showstopper chocolate crémeux with pu'er tea meringue, and toasted vanilla ice cream.
When Tastet returns to Hoogan & Beaufort the next day for lunch, the kitchen delivers a parade of hits: homemade focaccia with butter, fleur de sel, and freshly ground pepper; king mackerel, yellow beets, Brussels sprouts, oranges and almonds; cavatelli with wild prawns, fennel, arugula, lemon and lobster bisque; and, finally, duck leg, fingerling potatoes, and Maitake mushrooms. The critic is overcome, obviously: "Tout est équilibré, soigné sans excès, savoureux, exactement comme dans une maison où les gens travaillent avec leur tête et leur coeur."