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Critic: Tiny Plateau Snack Bar Noren Packs Big Flavour

And the SAT’s Foodlab is still going strong

Randall Brodeur

— La Presse critic Ariane Krol is keeping it casual this week as she visits tiny Plateau Japanese snack-bar (and Eater Award winner) Noren, which opened last June with a focus on two dishes — takoyaki (octopus balls) and the pancake-esque okonomiyaki. Praise abounds for their no-nonsense, simple approach: the takoyaki (served with four sauce options) are golden outside and tender inside, the pancake is soft and tastebud-saturating, The brothy, pot-au-feu-esque oden is also a winter warmer, matched well with beer. Krol’s only complaint is the struggle to get a seat — there’s only 11 places here. [La Presse]

— Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet drops by the Société des Arts Technologiques restaurant, Le Labo Culinaire (Foodlab to some anglos), where former Laloux sous-chef Adrien Renaud is now at the pass. Foodlab was known for taking a few risks in the past, and it seems to still be that way — candied Arctic char accompanied by sea lettuce melts in the mouth, and clam-stuffed trout is inhaled. Desserts, while creative (a honey cream and a parsnip cake), don’t wow as much, but are fine, making for a three and a half star write-up. [Le Devoir]

— Over at Le Journal de Montréal, critic Thierry Daraize is downtown at the slightly reductive-sounding restaurant East, open about a year now as the Renaissance Hotel’s in-house restaurant. It’s owned by the same folk as Le Siam, in the Dix30 mall on the south shore. The restaurant seems to be a little on the “ALL OF EAST ASIA IN ONE PLACE”, with a mix of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and other dishes. In any case, Daraize approves — dumpling and dumpling-adjacent options like the chicken gyoza and pork bao (buns) are flavourful and well-balanced, and decidedly non-Asian desserts like a bourbon panna cotta get a nod of approval too, though perhaps Daraize should put his critical hat on and point out that these seem grossly out of step with the restaurant’s theme. Anyway, it’s three and a half stars. [Le Journal de Montréal]

— Lesley Chesterman at the Gazette is off this week, so that’s it for week in reviews.


77 Rue Rachel Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 1G2 (514) 397-1141 Visit Website

Le East

1250 boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC H3B 1M7 (514) 657-5000 Visit Website

SAT FoodLab

1201, boul. Saint-Laurent / 3e étage, Montréal, QC H2X 2S6 514 844 2033 Visit Website