The duo behind top Griffintown restaurant Le Fantôme have jumped into casual dining, working alongside Montreal fashion retailer Ssense on a new café.
It’s part of a brand-new flagship store for Ssense, the 15-year-old predominantly online fashion platform which is headquartered out of Montreal’s Garment District on Chabanel Street, in Ahuntsic. The store is in a five-level space in the heart of Old Montreal, and appears to be committed to offering a shopping “experience”, with two levels dedicated to offering personal shoppers to customers (Eater’s sister site Racked has more details from the fashion side of the business).
The café (which has no official name) sits on the fifth level, and will cover all bases from breakfast to lunch and light dinners. Fantôme owner Kabir Kapoor and chef-owner Jason Morris are the joint café operators (though not owners) alongside the retailer, with Ssense billing it as offering a “relaxed yet inventive culinary experience”.
A full menu isn’t available, but it will partially take on Montreal classics (bagels and lox, smoked meat) and give them a twist, while also leaning towards creative vegetarian options. In annoucing the store opening, Vogue spilled just a couple of menu items: a milky brioche toast with honey butter and pine sugar, as well as cold-pressed arugula-yuzu juice.
That means fresh juices are one of the beverage offerings, but the café is also serving Italian beers and natural wine.
The space has room for 34 people at a bar and on a custom-made communal concrete table. The design comes from David Chipperfield Architects, who worked on the whole store. It’s a very heavy design for a restaurant — while lots of grey concrete and chrome certainly fits with Ssense’s aesthetic, the “brutalism but in 2018” style may work a little better on the fashion side than for a restaurant or café. But you can’t fault the consistency, and mercifully, there’s a large clear roof up above to let light in, and to give a little levity to the whole “dining in a bunker” situation.
Kapoor and Morris have had a busy spring — aside from the Ssense project, they’re also opening Pastel in the coming weeks, a major new restaurant for Old Montreal.
STATUS — The Ssense café is open on the fifth level at 418 Saint-Sulpice from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.