A crisp new wine bar has descended on Old Montreal — the only thing is libations still aren’t allowed on the table.
Buvette Pastek quietly opened a couple of weeks ago, serving breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch, but is still waiting on its liquor permit to debut its dinner service in the low-key, wine-flowing manner co-owner Thomas Vernis has previously described.
The wine bar’s name, “Pastek,” is, after all, a play on “pastèque,” the French word for “watermelon” (not “melon d’eau,” as we say here in Quebec), and an ode to the fresh and fruity rosé, orange, and rosato wines the restaurant hopes to haul out soon for diners.
Pastek joins Vernis’s stable of other Old Montreal spots, including Santos supper club, hamburger joint Unibar, and Tommy Café, a block over. It’s nestled on the ground floor of a Saint-Paul Street building otherwise occupied by a new outpost from hotel-style apartment-rental company Sonder, whose food and beverage program Pastek is also running. (In March, Vernis told Eater the building’s upper floors would be occupied by a boutique hotel called Maxwell; this no longer seems to be the case.)
Overseeing Pastek’s food offering is Devon Skeaff, who brings experience from big-name Montreal restaurants, like Chuck Hughes’s Garde Manger and Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon. He’s put together an attractive menu of sandwiches, salads, and snacking fare, including charcuterie, cheese, seafood conserves, and focaccia. For brunch, the menu is split between savoury and sweet, with “eggs e pepe” toast on one side and whipped ricotta topped with peaches on the other. Once Pastek opens for nightfall, it will lean decidedly more nautical, with the addition of octopus, razor clams, scallops in a Serrano ham sauce, and a shrimp and zucchini scialatelli pasta to the lineup.
It’s all served in a 50-seat space outfitted with bright whites, mellow pinks, soft, round-edged furniture, and a tangle of plant life peeking through its ceiling panels. Designed by studio Lamaisoncharlotte, it imparts a subtlety and lightness not unlike what’s being promised for its wines. Come fall, it’ll lift the veil on a three-season inner courtyard garden. But until then, patrons can see out the summer on a street-side summer terrasse — open starting today.
Pastek is open Tuesday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 209 St Paul West. Hours are subject to change in the coming weeks.