clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week in Reviews: There’s Room for Improvement at Jiep Jiep

And the spice is nice at Little Italy’s Épicerie Pumpui

Jiep Jiep/Facebook

La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie is the first to break radio silence when it comes to the quality of Mile-Ex’s new pan-Asian restaurant Jiep Jiep, but the the news isn’t spectacular. While the critic is able to appreciate that owner Sammy Chan’s range of experience and backgrounds is indicative how many chefs today are far less of a single track, thereby restricted to a single cuisine—Chan is from originally from Hong Kong but grew up in Quebec with BC-based catering under her belt—Lortie still finds most of her sampled dishes to be lacking when compared to more “traditional” restaurants. This is a recurring comment with the jigae and chicken bibimbap that were sampled, where flavour was found to be lacking “depth”, that they could use “more flavours”. Then again, Jiep Jiep is straightforwardly advertised as being far from anything traditional, being a mixture of Chinese, Japenese and Korean flavours. It appears it’s when the lines are blurred that Lortie finds herself enjoying the meal, as a bowl of Japanese udon with Korean bulgogi is the main winner of the dinner. All in all, while the visit demonstrates a lot of promise to the critic, it appears there’s more work to be done. [La Presse]


Épicerie Pumpui/Facebook

Meanwhile, Le Devoir critic Jean-Philippe Tastet paid a favourable visit to Montreal’s latest Thai restaurant Épicerie Pumpui. Spurred by the recommendations of others, Tastet finds the Little Italy lunch counter spot developed by Jesse Mulder—a follow-up from a much-loved Thai delivery spot Chak Wow—to be a refreshing arrival on a street that’s been otherwise traditionally dominated by Italian fare. That’s not the only thing found to be refreshing, as the level of heat in some dishes prompts as many burnt tongues as there were “tears of happiness”. Hyperbole aside, the spice does need to get knocked down a few notches for the critic and his party to withstand more than a single bite. This doesn’t change how Mulder is staking his claim as a king among curries, however, as each curry is more delicious than the last with the Gaeng panang pla-dook chao wang or royal red catfish curry taking top marks. Aside from slightly over-fried chicken and catfish fillets that have the taste cooked out them, Tastet doesn’t seem to find the recommendations of Pumpui to be completely merited, but still finds everything quite copacetic for his tastes with three stars. [Le Devoir]


Denise/Facebook

Critic for the Montreal Gazette Lesley Chesterman fits into this week’s theme of visiting Asian cuisines by tucking into the dinner service of the Parc Ex restaurant Denise. While the spot’s breakfast may suggest it’s a Vietnamese spot with matching coffee, banh mi, and broth, Chesterman understands the short menu of sizeable portions to be more pan-Asian. Most everything was enjoyed, though a few stumbles took place when it came to grilled tofu with tomato and sautéed shimeji mushrooms, as well as with grilled chicken in a rice wine sauce—both of these items lacked an ineffable punch that the critic was hoping for. Apart from these comments, most everything was gobbled up and coupled with quick points of praise. Considering that there’s only a couple culinary missteps during the meal (and uncomfortable seating), that means the restaurant is rated slightly above average: Two and a half stars. [Montreal Gazette]

Jiep Jiep

149 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension, QC H2R 2W9 (514) 277-1888 Visit Website

Denise

386 Avenue Beaumont, Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension, QC H3N 1T4 (514) 664-4637 Visit Website

Épicerie Pumpui

83 Rue Saint-Zotique Est, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC H2S 1K7 (514) 379-3024 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Montreal newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world