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A New Chinatown Restaurant Incorporates Japanese Ingredients Into Classic Italian Dishes

Look out for arancini made with sushi rice, rigatoni seasoned with togarashi, and yuzu-flavoured hot sauce to drizzle over pizza in a stylish new space

Tiramisu, a swank new restaurant serving Italian foods interlaced with Japanese flavours, has settled into Montreal’s Chinatown. It’s located just behind the lion-flanked arches on Saint-Laurent, corner Viger, on the ground floor of Hilton’s newly constructed Hampton & Homewood Suites hotel. A representative for the restaurant says it’s currently in its “soft opening” phase, with its official debut planned for November 26.

Incorporating Japanese ingredients into classic Italian dishes, Tiramisu’s menu includes arancini made with sushi rice and served with a miso-based aioli; lasagna layered with a tonkotsu sauce and Asian celery; rigatoni arrabiata seasoned with Japanese spice blend togarashi; and a yuzu-flavoured hot sauce at-hand to drizzle on top of it all. For dessert, diners can pick between panna cotta made with white soy and honey or — what else but — tiramisu spiked with Japanese whiskey.

For skeptics of this particular instance of culinary interplay — new to Montreal but well-liked elsewhere and sometimes referred to as Itameshi — there are plenty of pasta and pizza options that fit squarely in the Italian camp.

For drinks, there are sakes and wines, plus a cocktail list put together by Old Montreal drinking favourite Coldroom. Here, again, diners can expect Italian standards (say, a negroni) with a Japanese twist (say, smoked plum).

pizza being held in front of green velvet drapes Insert Identity
someone pouring coffee over tiramisu Insert Identity
lasagna in red-rimmed plate Insert Identity

Hotel restaurants get a bad rap — they’re often seen as too corporate, too bland, and too out of touch with the local dining scene. But this one comes from a restaurant group well-regarded in the city and eager to ensure the project keeps pace with both local and tourist appetites. The project is the latest addition to the Lucky Belly Group roster, which also includes Village Vietnamese pub Le Red Tiger, Laotian snack bar Thip Thip, and sushi bar Le Blossom. Chef Chanthy Yen, previously at Parliament Pub & Parlour and Cambodian street food pop-up Touk, is the restaurant’s executive chef.

The restaurant includes a cafe component it’s calling Caffè Misu, equipped with beans from Montreal roaster Café Saint-Henri, plus Italian pastries and gelato. And come spring 2022, the restaurant group (run by partners Dan Pham, Gabriel Huynh-Lapointe, and Patrick Ma) will open a sibling restaurant, also in the hotel. Carla, a French-Vietnamese bistro with a sprawling terrasse, will take over the building’s sixth floor.

Tiramisu spans 3,000 square feet with an elaborate design from Montreal firm MRDK that intersperses dozens of materials for a striking result. Plush velvets, rounded furniture, retro light fixtures, spotty terrazzo, groovy tile and upholstery patterns, and luxury-exuding marbles coalesce for a look the restaurant says takes a page from the 1960’s Italian design playbook. Have a look:

restaurant with wood furniture, lights, greenery Ménard Dworkind architecture
Ménard Dworkind architecture
Ménard Dworkind architecture
Ménard Dworkind architecture

Tiramisu is open daily for lunch and dinner at 989 St Laurent Blvd.

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