There’s a potential new destination restaurant in town, as big gun French establishment Monarque opens its doors today (August 30), a whopping five years after the project was first announced.
It comes from father and son team Richard and Jérémie Bastien, the former being particularly well-known for Outremont go-to Leméac, and Laval’s very soigné Le Mitoyen. Jérémie Bastien has taken the lead on the project, but he emphasizes that it’s very much a team effort — no surprise, given the restaurant’s size, 150 seats (more, if the private dining room is considered). Bastien is serving as executive chef; other key players include pastry chef Lisa Yu, sommelier Olivier Fontaine (ex-Leméac), and director Olivier Visentin (with experience at M.Mme, L’Express, and Leméac, among others).
As previously reported, Monarque’s Old Montreal premises are divided into two main parts — a slightly more casual, all-day brasserie at the front, suited to both meals and more casual visits for drinks. It features a banquette on one side, and a long bar with more seating on the other; it’s 60 seats all up.
Then at the back is the dining room — a more formal 80-seat space with booths and banquettes — alongside it, the kitchen is encased behind a glass wall, and a private dining room inhabits the St-Jacques Street building’s lower level. The menus — which are French but with a few twists — were unveiled last week, and full details on those are over here.
The space itself promises to be impressive — architecture Alain Carle (see also: Milos, Brasserie Harricana) made over the historic building, which was a high-end hotel as long as a century ago. Bastien previously told Eater that the aim was to keep some historic fixtures on display — brick and stone walls, and some beams, with a rustic chic approach balanced out with stylish furnishings, such as Kennedy-inspired seats in the brasserie section.
While it’s too soon for a thorough look around the space, photographer Felipe Collado-Fabbri has a sneak peek available via Instagram, including some food shots, if you scroll through.
STATUS — Monarque opens Thursday, August 30 at 5:30 p.m., and will open evenings only on August 31 and September 1. From September 4, full hours will start — lunch and dinner in the dining room, Tuesday to Friday, and all-day dining in the brasserie Tuesday to Friday; Saturdays will be evenings only. It will be open seven days sometime in the future.