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Lloyd 5 @ 7 at the Marriott Château Champlain is a top choice for Montréal En Lumière

    Marriott Château Champlain
    The Lloyd dining room.

    Montréal En Lumière takes place  February 16 to March 5, 2023, under the theme Discover the best of Montreal in winter! While some 40 Montréal restaurants and venues will be welcoming international and local chefs and producers,  I wish to commend the team at the Marriott Château Champlain for giving the media an advance preview of the special menu at the still relatively new and very swank Lloyd Restaurant.  It seems none of the other participants chose to take that route, which I found very surprising.

    As part of a major renovation,  the hotel took the opportunity to redo its restaurant with a new chef, new decor, new menu and a new name. It has already gained notice as the perfect place to eat before a game or a show, with its direct underground access to the Bonaventure metro station and the Bell Centre.  

    The 200-seat restaurant, which includes a 60-seat private room, was named after architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who inspired architect Roger D’Astous to design the hotel in 1967.

    Montréal En Lumière
    David Benjamin prepares glasses of Deutz Champagne.

    For Montréal En Lumière, Food and Beverage Director Benjamin David and Marketing Manager Anaïs Boyer Lafrenière outdid themselves with a sensational preview, complete with a dynamic and quenching presentation from Champagne Deutz.

    Deutz, formerly known as Deutz & Geldermann, is a champagne producer based in the Aÿ region of Champagne. The house was founded in 1838 by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann and has since been run by successive generations of the Deutz and Geldermann families.

    The Montréal En Lumière menu, served from 5 pm to 7 pm at Lloyd, is $57 per person for five small bites, a five-item dessert tray and two glasses of Deutz champagne. You will want to order your glass when the bites arrive and save the second for dessert time. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

    Bravo to the team at Univin and Spirits (https://univins.ca), a Montreal agency that represents both classic brands from major European producing countries and innovative products from emerging producing countries, drawing on strong and enduring relationships with these regions. They had several team members on hand to not only present the Deutz product but also provide the media with detailed background information. They even gave us small booklets, containing fascinating historical data.

    For the bites, there is a nice selection of Quebec mushroom tartlets, shrimp satay with wasabi breading,  pineapple foie gras, truffle tuna tagliatelle and salmon and crispy caviar.  This is a terrific warmup for a truly decadent tray of sweets: lemon and coffee cake, black forest pie (my favorite), passion fruit and raspberry pie, matchup and blueberry puffs and 100 percent hazelnut puffs. Let me say I was truly and happily full after enjoying these delicacies.

    Montréal En Lumière
    The decadent dessert tray.

    This was my first time at the venerable hotel in many years and the space allocated for Lloyd is exceptional and divided into three sections: a lounge, a community space with large convivial tables and a more formal dining room. “The guest can move from one section to another during the evening to change the atmosphere,” notes Director of Sales and Marketing Steve Boisclair.  ”The three spaces create a beautiful dynamic that makes the restaurant perfectly adaptable to any occasion.”

    In keeping with the hotel’s design, which was entrusted to Sid Lee Architecture, Lloyd’s décor reveals the same soothing Scandinavian spirit and a cozy atmosphere with a touch of mid-century inspiration. 

    The space is soft and bright with light woodwork and a faux skylight that simulates natural light that changes throughout the day. Rich color accents make the space warm and inviting.   Beautiful half-moon banquettes are nestled in alcoves to nod to the rounded shape of the hotel’s windows and allow you to enjoy a meal in peace.

    The Lloyd offers its guests a unique culinary experience thanks to the originality of the creations of the executive chef and the pastry chef, who think outside the box.    Executive Chef Kevin Mougin, originally from Brittany,  France, was inspired by the unique flora and fauna of Quebec and its impressive variety of fresh products. Quebec’s local products are utilized as much as possible here. 

    Montréal En Lumière
    A selection of delicious tastings.

    Straight from French Polynesia, the chef’s menu is tinged with his exotic influences with dishes such as shrimp tartar with vanilla and exotic fruit gazpacho or pressed foie gras with Tahitian chutney.  More classic dishes like the AAA beef flank steak with shallots or the decadent burger with caramelized onions and organic Comtomme cheese from Quebec will please all palates. 

    The lunch menu changes weekly according to seasonal products and the chef’s inspiration and breakfast is offered as a buffet ($28/person) or à la carte, including a decadent avocado tartine on country bread with fresh tomato brunoise and poached egg or the egg Benedict with blood orange and ratte potatoes. 

    The desserts are made by pastry chef Sylvain Vivier,  who studied with the best pastry masters in France and just like the sweets I sampled at the preview evening, I am told they will leave no one indifferent. The Pistachio (pistachio cream and mango confit, mango sorbet, green apple, coriander and olive oil) or the Temptation (shortbread cookie, white chocolate cream, turmeric cookie, raspberry and tomato confit and lychee and tomato sorbet), are the most highly touted dishes.

    The wine list was developed by Claude Laporte, a talented young sommelier who graduated from the ITHQ and worked in France as the first female sommelier at the three-star Michelin restaurant Le Bois sans Feuilles. The restaurant also has mixologists for a complete gastronomic experience.

    Well,  I definitely need to return to Lloyd and sample their regular menu!

    The hotel was purchased by Tidan Hospitality in 2018, headed by longtime friends and business partners Mike Yuval and Jack Sofer.

    Lloyd is located at 1050 rue de la Gauchetière Ouest. It is open Monday to Friday, from 6:30 am to 10 pm and on weekends from 7 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm. For more information. Log on to www.restaurantlloyd.com ,  call  514-878-6799 or e-mail reservation@restaurantlloyd.com

    Mike Cohen

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