Early raves are already streaming in for Foiegwa. The incredibly hyped new "French diner" officially opened at the border between Saint Henri and Little Burgundy on July 7, complete with its adjacent "back alley bar" Atwater Cocktail Club. As you can see here and here on Instagram, both Foiegwa and Atwater boost classic old-school paradigms — the bistro and the speakeasy, respectively — with a modernist's attention to social media, design, and succinct branding. Doilies, escargot, and secret menus are suddenly fit for the most discerning of millennials. The owners, who include Roberto Porres (Barroco, Bocata), Christophe Beaudoin, Toby and Taylor Gauley (Bird Bar), and chef Jérémie Falissard (Barroco) clearly know their audience.
"We think that, in general, French [establishments] are missing the hospitality that diners in Montreal and North America give to the food"
Provided you land a spot in one of Foiegwa's 50 seats, expect solidly executed takes on onion soup, steak frites, a cheeseburger, moules mariniere, croque Monsieur, and the like. Porres tells Eater, "We think that, in general, French [establishments] are missing the hospitality that diners in Montreal and North America give to the food, so we try to present the dishes in a warmer way, with a little bit more taste. It’s France meets Montreal, France meets North America."
There's also a fair amount of American diner inspiration at play. According to chef Falissard, "portions are a bit bigger, more generous." He adds, "You can find onion soup everywhere, but I’m trying to have a nice meaty bouillon, respecting all the processes of it, making sure the onions are cut perfectly, using meat instead of just the bones, and nice cheese. I want people to try it and say they didn’t expect that it could taste like that." See the full opening menu for Foiegwa below.
Note that roughly 60 percent of the above menu is served at Atwater Cocktail Club, which Porres describes as a "French disco-style bar," replete with glass ceilings, and situated with all the proper mystique on a neighboring alley. "ACC looks like a club, but it’s a bar — a very posh kind of bar," according to Porres. He says that the menu is aiming for 500 different spirits, two red and two white wines by the glass, and champagne: rosés, vintages, blanc de blanc and cremant. "I think our main mission here is to make it accessible for everyone. If you want to just come for a drink or a little snack, you can do that. If you want to come and splurge on a nice bottle of champagne and have an amazing experience, you can do that too." Additional Atwater menu details are sparse.
Visit Foiegwa (3001 Notre Dame Ouest) Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Atwater Cocktail Club (514 Avenue Atwater) opens Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. and until midnight on Sundays. No reservations are available at either locale. As always, hit us up via the tipline, if you have feelings about these two new contenders.