Little Italy has its very own gastronomic dessert bar, with Ratafia now open on St-Laurent near Dante.
It takes over the former space of Epoca, and the main focus is a mix of elegant traditional and seasonal desserts. Pastry chef Valentin Rouyé is heading up the kitchen operation, bringing experience from Rosemont’s Hoogan & Beaufort; Rouyé has also worked with reputed patissier Patrice Demers in the past. Then there’s co-owners Sandra Forcier and Jared Tuck, two ITHQ graduates behind the overall project.
On the menu are five traditional desserts, and five newer creations — the more classic options include a kouign-amann with baked caramel apples and medovik, an eastern European layered honey cake. The creations (termed “éphémères on the menu), are, well, pretty creative: there’s dessert “ramen” with a white chocolate-chantilly “egg” with sea buckthorn “yolk”, parsnip noodles, parsnip cake, and a sorrel granita. Then there’s the “choux brest”, riffing on a Paris Brest, with purple choux pastry, a hazelnut and vanilla rye bitters mousseline, haskap berry (blue honeysuckle) jam, pralines, and a dark chocolate feuilletine.
Most of the desserts come in around $13 to $16, and a three-course tasting is also available for $23 (or $42 with wine pairings).
While the menu is mostly sweet, there’s an option for the salty-oriented, with a share plate drawing on products from nearby Epicerie Conserva and Falafel Yoni, consisting of charcuterie, mezzes, and more (a vegetarian option is available, too).
For beverages, fortified or dessert wines are a focus, but with Ratafia open late into the evenings, it’s still a rounded selection, with mostly European reds and whites on hand, as well as sparkling options, digestifs, and beer.
The space has been made over into a tidy, modern dining room, with a simple yet striking design from architecture firm Lovasi; it seats 69 inside, with a terrasse on St-Laurent, too.
STATUS — Ratafia is open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 2 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.