Paris in Montreal
Traditional French pastries, only better
Despite the fact that Montreal is a francophone city with its fair share of French expats, the city surprisingly has a distinct lack of high-quality, truly traditional French pastry shops. Enter Maison Christian Faure. It not only has the right look, but more importantly it brings the goods.
Let's start with breakfast. For $9.50 you can enjoy a breakfast pastry and hot beverage of your choice, along with a generous glass of orange juice. It may be on the pricey side, but the quality is worth it. The almond croissant I enjoyed on my very first visit was stellar. Covered with sliced almonds and powdered sugar, it was delicately crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, and simultaneously buttery, flaky, and creamy. The best.
One of the aspects of these pastries that I enjoy the most is the restraint on the use of sugar. While commonplace pastries are laden with it, Chef Faure's products are of such high quality that they don't need to rely on sweetness alone. Indeed, it would be a shame to cover up the subtleties of his creations.
This carries over to the pastries for later in the day as well. The glass case is full of oldies-but-goodies like éclairs, milles-feuilles, pots au chocolat, and tartelettes aux fruits. These are no run-of-the-mill treats, though. They not only look beautiful, but they also taste great. Several highlight seasonal ingredients such as strawberries and blueberries. These pastries will transport you back to the French childhood of your dreams.
Pastries are available to eat in-house or for take-out. We couldn't resist taking home a tartelette au citron and a baba au rhum. Both were superb.
Also on offer is an impressive array of superior macarons, attractive cakes, ice cream, madeleines, sablés, marshmallows, and meringues.
If you need a pastry fix between breakfast and afternoon tea, try out the lunch. The sit down menu includes sandwiches, salads, savory tarts, warm tartines, and dishes based on choux pastry. The dining area is advertised as a bar for "snacking". The portion sizes are not ungenerous, but indeed this is not the place to go if you are looking for a hearty meal. Think sophisticated, light, and fresh.
We tried out the choux pastry stuffed with lobster and crab and the Niçoise salad. Both showed attention to detail and were filled with quality ingredients.
If you prefer to take out your lunch, check out the refrigerator case for drinks and savory items like quiches and salads.
Service is professional and friendly. All of the employees show genuine interest in the products and aim to please. Christian Faure's passion for pastry seems to be shared by the staff, and Chef Faure himself has a knack for making everyone feel welcome.
It's a winner
If the start is anything to go by, Maison Christian Faure is bound for success. I can't wait to see how the business evolves.
Maison Christian Faure
355 Place Royale
Metro: Place d'Armes
Dress: Casual or casual chic.
Price: Before tax and tip, pastries cost $4 - $5, breakfast is $9.50, and most lunch dishes go for $10 - $15. Allow around $25 - $30 per person for lunch with dessert, including tax and tip.
Highlights: Beautiful, great-tasting pastries and a wonderful atmosphere.