Two months in, the food critic for La Presse is the first to assess M.Mme, the Mile End wine bar from the principals behind Toi Moi & Café next door. The Laurier restaurant has generated talk for two reasons: a prodigious wine list, culled from over a dozen agents, and the presence of executive chef Stelio Perombelon. In a positive write-up today in La Presse, Marie-Claude Lortie applauds the re-emergence of the man who helmed Les Chèvres to much acclaim so many years ago. "Stelio Perombelon est de retour," the critic states, simply.
M.Mme will excite oenophiles with variety and unusual vintages, Lortie assures, but the kitchen's role is her primary concern. First up: a squash cromesquis with mullet roe on a sucrine leaf. The fried element of the amuse is "exactement craquante comme il se doit." It gets better from here, with a starter of leeks, served with a bavarois of morels on kale juice, apple, green onion, and kale chips. Next up, cauliflower, gently steamed, with Meyer lemon powder, celery powder, squid ink mayonnaise, lemon vinaigrette, and clams. The medley works, Lortie writes, as a balance between salty and acidic that forces diners to rediscover the taste of cauliflower, barely raw.
The final dégustation course is a fish crudo with radish, melon, daikon, nasturtium, and curry oil. Lortie loves the maritime, vegetal elements at play — "L'ensemble est à la fois onctueux et frais". Vegetable-based desserts are en vogue at Montreal restaurants, and M.Mme contributes to the trend with a parsnip cake and candy cap mushroom profiteroles. The cake is less successful, but the profiteroles, served with miso caramel and bacon bits, are impeccable. "Bravo," raves Lortie. "Une belle façon de clore un repas singulier, intelligent, créatif, savoureux." The critic will return, "avec de grands amateurs de vin."