Since its opening over a year ago, Beer Guy and I have been curious to check out this Haitian restaurant, co-owned by Regine and Win of Arcade Fire (the concert last week at the Bell Centre was terrific by the way, great energy!)
We walked right by the restaurant. We backtracked and stepped inside what looked like a haunted house from the outside. We were greeted by a gorgeous interior, complete with enormous chandelier!
We were led upstairs to extra seating space as the main downstairs area was packed, even thought it was Monday night. Our waitress was bubbly and welcoming and reminded me of Genevieve Borne, the 1980s VJ of Musiqueplus fame (Xennials will know who I am talking about).
We started with drinks. I asked for something light and refreshing and was recommended the ‘mant’, I’m guessing a play on the word “menthe”. Delicious. I could have had 2…or 3…or 4 but alas I am a light weight.
The menu is pescatarian friendly, with some vegetarian options. I was impressed by their choice of menu items and found it hard to narrow it down but we figured it out with the help of our waitress.
I’m familiar with accras as deep fried fish fritters but the option on the menu was vegetarian. They are described as haitian donuts, but they remind me of falafel. They were well seasoned and we loved the outer crunch. The highlight of this dish was the home-made mayonnaise that accompanied the accras. I couldn’t convince them to give me the recipe.
We also ordered the ceviche. I almost fell off my chair with this dish. Creamy from the coconut milk and bright from the tartness, it was topped with perfectly fried, crunchy onions. They were very generous with the amount of seafood in the dish. Also, the seafood was marinated to perfection, not rubbery at all. Fried plantains accompanied the ceviche. They were overly dense, I was hoping they’d be lighter.
Next, we needed a salad to cut through the richness. The avocado salad was impressive, to say the least. Normally when I order avocado with my food, I’m lucky if I get a quarter piece. We were blessed with mounds and mounds of it, topped with a perfectly balanced vinaigrette. The highlight of this salad was the little bits of crunch provided by the fried beets and puffed rice sprinkled on top. I’m sad I couldn’t capture a good photo but a photo wouldn’t have done it justice anyhow.
To end the meal, we ordered lambi with rice. Don’t be fooled, this is not a cutesy word for lamb. Lambi is conch. Remember those huge spiral shaped shells we used to hold up to our ears to hear the ocean when we were kids? The mollusk was cooked in a beautiful curry. Ask Beer Guy, I am rarely impressed by Montreal curries but this one was out of this world. I couldn’t tell what spices they used but I can say that the island vibe was alive in this dish! Bravo!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you are looking for something a little different. They offer great, authentic Haitian food. If you enjoy a fun island vibe (who doesn’t?), then this is the place for you. The restaurant is also very affordable, and the portions are large. I give Agrikol two thumbs and two big toes up!