I have always been keenly interested in trying Filipino food because I love new cultural experiences. It’s one of the many reasons that I love living in Montreal!
When Junior arrived in Little Burgundy, the reviews were positive so I kept it on my radar. Two years in and it’s still going strong. One day, the Facebook page won me over with a photo of some gorgeous fried shrimps so we hopped in the car, ready to order each and every one of their seafood dishes. Sadly, we learned they had run out. We left disappointed. We returned again a week later, this time with our friends Christina and Andy, only to be turned away again due to a private party at 8pm. I explained our situation to the waiter. He apologized but said there was nothing he could do.
We stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes feeling defeated. To our surprise the owner popped his head out. He ushered us in, explaining that he wanted to accommodate us regardless. How amazing is that? Our tummies rejoiced.
We were seated near the window with a view of Notre Dame street. The vibe is really down to earth-nothing fancy, with paper place mats and colourful chairs. Various sauces adorn every table.
We began with a salad. I really enjoyed this dish- big slices of mango mixed with tomato and onions, tossed in fish sauce, among other things. I loved the tanginess of the raw mango slices. The jicama was a nice, unfamiliar taste that offered a welcoming crunch.
We also tried the ceviche. I can’t say it was our favorite. There were not a lot of pieces of seafood and it was bit rubbery. It also lacked flavor. However the taro chips were a tasty, unique accompaniment.
Next, Christina’s idea, the fish, was stellar. Butterflied, then fried to perfection, it was a beautiful combination of savoury and tangy. This fish was the clear winner, we could have ordered another.
The shrimps were fun! Chris and I grew up as witnesses to the eating habits of our parents (shrimps: skin, head, eyes and all!). Were we up for the challenge? Really, it was the only way to eat these little delights because otherwise, it just wouldn’t have been authentic. I tried one peeled, without the head for comparison and they really did taste better whole, especially with the spicy condiment.
Beer Guy had an amber Ghost Farm Oatmeal Pale Ale (OPA), a unique and delicious beer. It was velvety smooth like an oatmeal stout with lively hoppy accents that complemented the savoury dishes.
Thank you to the owners for allowing us to sit in during the private party. We got to witness a kamayan dinner party, where traditional foods are served over banana leaves instead of plates, and guests eat with their hands. Looks like fun!
We really loved the food and the ambience at Junior. The waiter and waitress were extremely attentive and friendly. Also, Junior is one of the more affordable restaurants in the neighbourhood. I highly recommend giving it if you want to try something a little different in a relaxed atmosphere.