The Montreal Canadiens (well, their corporate parents) have a new restaurant in downtown Montreal, with café and wine bar Bazarette now open right by the Bell Centre.
It’s not strictly the NHL team that’s behind the operation — rather, it’s the CH Group, which is headed up by Montreal beer magnate Geoff Molson. That group also owns entertainment companies Evenko and Spectra, and the Laval Rocket hockey team. CH owns the restaurant in tandem with RECIPE, a corporate hospitality outfit formerly known as Cara. RECIPE has mostly stayed away from this kind of more formal approach, and is perhaps better known as the owner of various chains such as Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, St. Hubert, Bier Markt, and the Keg.
Bazarette is a day and night operation — it opens early, serving coffee from Villeray Italian-leaning café Larue et Fils. Later in the afternoon, it switches to a more formal operation.
While the corporate ownership could raise eyebrows, the menu reads like it could belong to any number of “contemporary” wine bars or small plates-focused restaurants (a representative for Bazarette notes that they’re striving to run it as an independent operation, with its own chefs and sommelier calling the shots). Dishes are described only by their components (such as “burnt squash, labneh, cumin, tournesol”), and come in mostly around the $10 to $15 mark. The menu, served into the early hours of the morning, is fairly rounded and loosely (although not totally) seasonal, spanning from dishes like Brussels sprouts with cauliflower, lardons, and parmesan, to boudin with Granny Smith apple, Asian pear, aged cheddar, and hazelnuts.
The chef behind it is Adam Martin, previously sous-chef at Chez L’Épicier and Hakin Chajar’s Pointe-St-Charles restaurant Miel; he’s joined by Stéphane Letellier (ex-Hotel William Gray) as sommelier and Charlie April (ex-Hoogan & Beaufort, Au Pied de Cochon) as general manager. April and Letellier devised the wine list, which skews natural and consists of private imports.
This isn’t the first foray into hospitality for the Habs-owning CH Group — they opened Taverne Moderne 1909 two years ago, a gigantic sports bar-adjacent venue that was the largest restaurant in the country at the time. The Habs connection is much more apparent at that venue — it’s a sort-of HQ for supporters of the hockey team, with matches screened on huge TVs. Bazarette takes the opposite route — so, don’t expect sports bar vibes and Habs paraphernalia here.
STATUS — Bazarette is open at 1280 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal from 7 a.m. until late each day — café service runs until 3:30 p.m., and evening service begins after.
- Bazarette [Facebook]
- The Montreal Canadiens Open Canada’s New Largest Restaurant Today [EMTL]