Smiles all around at Le Bremner

Photo by Liana Di Iorio

It’s dark, it’s cool and it smells like heaven. Le Bremner, with Top Chef Canada runner-up, Danny Smiles, as the chef de cuisine and being one half of Chuck Hughes’ Crown Salts restaurant, already knows that it’s cool.

Photo by Liana Di Iorio

This place is so cool that it doesn’t carry any juice or Clamato in house, but if desired, will make some for you. For my visit, I went with a glass of Captain Morgan and the house-made cola which was so delicious I almost didn’t mind the $9 hole it burnt in the pocket of my $40 jeans.

When it comes to the menu, it’s set up in a way that you start with cold appetizers, move on to warm entrées and end with hot desserts. The signature dishes of both Crown Salts restaurants, a Chuck Hughes brand, involve fresh oysters, but the stars of the menu for this meat lover were the fried quail and the lamb neck cavatelli.

Quail is an incredibly versatile protein that is delicious any way you cook it, especially when battered, fried and served with homemade ranch dipping sauce.

While some are scared of meat that comes from anywhere that isn’t a breast, leg or butt, I embraced the palette less travelled by and was rewarded with the tenderest of tender shredded lamb neck atop my cavatelli (small, ridged pasta shells) which still has me singing its praises.

As the plates are made to share, I didn’t find myself stuffed, nor did I have to loosen my belt (a major achievement for me), which left plenty of room for what I really wanted: dessert.

When a stack of mini pancakes surrounded by a kiddie pool of sucre à la crème is served to you on a plate of china, you eat it up like it’s the Sunday before you start your new diet.

In all fairness, I am quite partial to things served on floral print plates, but those pancakes had me thinking of how I could raise funds to buy an engagement ring for whoever made them. They were pillowy, light and contrasted well with the delectable though cavity-causing sugar fudge syrup and pim’s butter.

Now, Le Bremner is not your mother’s upscale dining room. With ambient music consisting of Arcade Fire, No Doubt and The Kinks, a wait staff that I could have looked at all night, and the super-chatty Danny Smiles charming the tables with his sweetheart charisma in a baseball cap and tattoos, there is no doubt that Le Bremner is geared toward people who appreciate flavour as well as style.

Le Bremner is located at 361 Rue Saint Paul E.

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