I have been curious about Saint Houblon for several years now, often passing by their Côte des Neiges area location. When I saw them listed on MTLàTABLE a few months back there was no question this was high on my list. I connected with their charming Chief Operating Officer Roxane Brossoit and she could not have been more accommodating. More recently I returned to sample their fabulous weekend brunch.
Saint Houblon was founded eight years ago by Alexandre Verville, who was a student at the time at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He and three partners opened the first location on St. Denis Street, followed by Gatineau Avenue in Côte des Neiges, St. Laurent in Little Italy four years ago and then a micro-brewery in St. Bruno was launched last summer. Verville lives on a farm where he grows fruits and vegetables used in menu items. They also have a food truck.
My dinner at the Côte des Neiges location was on a Saturday night in early November which brought us unseasonably warm temperatures, so I got to sit outside on the terrasse. What a surreal experience that turned out to be!
Saint Houblon is noted for its vast selection of beers and pub fare. The menu changes every six months while the variety of beers rotates.
The Côte des Neiges spot can accommodate 300 diners over three floors and the seasonal terrasse. Situated only a few blocks away from Université de Montréal, there is indeed a youngish vibe here.
My server was Camille, who did a wonderful job guiding me through the menu options Now I am not a big beer drinker, but how could I come to Saint Houblon without giving Camille’s recommendations a try? You get a beer can to the table with your server’s name on it and a QR code which leads you to the full suds menu.
Camille brought over two small glasses. One was called the Marc-Ambré Fleury (close to the spelling of the NHL goalie for Minnesota), beer on tap. It had a nice taste. As for the second glass, sour cassis & raspberry I must say was superb and tasted like sweet wine.
For an appetizer, I tried the duck rillettes (basically a duck pâté with pepper jam, flatbread and arugula. Wow, this was beyond outstanding. Next came a plate of salmon tartare, with green onions, coriander, Gochujang aioli, garlic sauce and tahini and sesame seeds also served with flatbread and some crusty French bread.
I was tempted by their double cheeseburger and fries. So, I decided to have just a bit of the tartare, saving most of it for lunch the following day. The burger did not disappoint me, nor did the crispy fries. For dessert, I tried the almond cake, with strawberries from the farm, and salted caramel ice cream. On future visits, I will try the duck poutine, fried calamari, chicken wings, salmon bowl, octopus and fried Oreos.
As for brunch, it is offered every weekend from 11 am to 3 pm with all-you-can-eat options for $35 by reservation and $40 without. You can also order á la carte.
Manager Justin Bernatchez took care of me, bringing over a quenching pitcher of mimosa to drink. From the menu, I sampled some delicious scrambled Queso (cheese) eggs, bacon, a beef sausage pogo containing beer (I did not even taste it), absolutely yummy garlic and maple syrup potatoes and a delicious breakfast sandwich. There are also a host of vegan options. And try the pain perdu, a small French toast item that was superb.
From the all-you-can-eat menu, there is the Carnivore selection, which includes scrambled queso eggs, Marc-Ambree Fleury bacon, beer sausage pogo, garlic and maple syrup potatoes, beer and tomatoes, baked beans, sausage and leek hash and sometime overnight oats, coconut and IPA strawberries.
There are also vegan options: okonomiyaki, Marc Ambree Fleury tempeh bacon, beer tofu pogo, garlic and maple syrup potatoes, beans, vegan sausage and leek hash, and oats as well (not always available).
Justin noted that Saint Houblon has started to air live sports events on its TV screens, attracting even more new audiences.
Go to www.sainthoublon.com for the coordinates of each location and to see the menu.