Mike CohenMtlRestoRap

Montréal En Lumière will return for its 25th anniversary February 29 to March 10, with gourmet dining starting a week earlier. Food, live music and outdoor skating will highlight this much anticipated winter festival.

There are a number of extraordinary dining experiences you can look forward to. Traditionally I always get in some sneak previews. This year let me introduce you to Rosélys, a beyond superb bistro experience that evolves from morning to evening to the rhythm of local flavors. Inspired by the French and English influences of Montreal’s heritage, the establishment is a wink to the city’s golden years. The creative dishes and welcoming and luminous atmosphere are ideal for any occasion, from a casual business lunch to a grand family dinner, not to mention the Sunday brunch.

roast duck breast - Rosélys

The roast duck breast

Inspired by the Montreal flag, Rosélys combines English elegance with French flair. It is located on the west side of the beautiful Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in the space once occupied by Le Montréalais.

Rosélys boasts a sophisticated, Art Deco-influenced design and a refined bistro experience. The restaurant can seat 100 to 150 diners. There is also a private room upstairs that can accommodate 70 people.

Mark down February 23 on your calendar. As part of Montréal En Lumière, Rosélys will welcome Manoir Hovey head chef Alexandre Vachon for an exceptional dining experience. He will work alongside the restaurant’s chef, Edgar Trudeau-Ferrin, to prepare a six-course menu that can be enjoyed with a wine pairing.

Manoir Hovey is located on the shores of Lake Massawippi in the Eastern Townships. Its restaurant, Le Hatley, celebrates a cuisine that balances seasonal specialties with elegant simplicity. Like Rosélys, their style features both local and seasonal ingredients. This fusion is expected to be harmonious and precise. It’s the promise of an authentic soirée, where the kitchen and the diners will explore in depth a common expertise based on a shared passion for $125 a person. You can book a sitting by logging on to https://www.restaurantroselys.com/special-events-roselys/. Meanwhile, Rosélys will also participate in the festival’s first edition of Brunch en Lumière via the Marché Artisans on  Sunday, March 3 from 9 am to 3 pm.

A meal at Rosélys is an experience and starts with the staff.  Manager Antoine Char tours the dining room to ensure that each customer is satisfied. Servers like Sylvain Joyal, supported by the likes of Stephane Vincent, really make everyone feel right at home. It is Vincent, an employee of 34 years, who gets you set at your table and keeps your cups of water topped up.  Joyal has been on board for 30 years and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the menu and every ingredient.

The East Coast Large Scallops

The East Coast Large Scallops

Whether it is a glass of champagne, wine or beer on tap, there are plenty of drinks to get your meal started in the right direction.

There is a nice array of starters to choose from. We opted to share the grilled octopus and the Arctic char, both of which were prepared far differently than at any other restaurant I can remember. And I say this in a most complimentary way. The former is served with a most delicious nduja (a type of spicy, spreadable sausage) and romesco sauce, accompanied by Israeli couscous and tomato compote. As for the latter, this came with potato espuma (a culinary foam, typically savory rather than sweet, and usually made with a whipped cream dispenser), lemon condiment, caviar and waffle potatoes. If you decide to share these appetizers, servers like Sylvain will ensure that they are prepared and presented to you at the table, divided up and on separate plates.

The main courses consist of pasta, fish, meat items and even a vegan burger. I had my eyes on the roasted duck breast from the moment I opened the menu, since this is not something you can find at many restaurants. It was prepared exquisitely, with salsify three ways, fermented physalis and vanilla bean jus. What is salsify? That is what I asked Sylvain, who explained that it looks like parsnip or carrot. This thin, stick-like vegetable belongs to the Asteraceae family, which also includes dandelions, dahlias, endives, and lettuce. Well, it was outstanding! Physalis? This is a berry in the Solanaceae plant family, which includes tomatillos, goldenberries and ground cherries.

My friend leaned on Sylvain’s expertise and went for the East Coast Large Scallops with Yuzu endives, cream of lettuce, beurre blanc, mullet caviar and “Lardo di Pata Negra.” The latter is a unique cured pork product produced in Italy. It is made from the thick layer of fat directly below the skin of a pig; the fat is carefully removed and cured in salt and spices.

Desserts here are the creation of Jean-Marc Guillot, a world champion pastry chef from France. We sampled the morello cherries and signature chocolate (chocolate praline biscuit, hazelnut crumble and sour cherry sorbet) and the caramelized trilogy and boreal crisp (crème caramel with maple syrup, meringue with boreal spices, Breton shortbread with caramel and fleur de sel ice cream).

Rosélys is located at 900 René-Lévesque Blvd. West.  For reservations call 514-954-2261 or log on to www.restaurantroselys.com or go to opentable.com.


Rosélys boasts a sophisticated, Art Deco-influenced design and a refined bistro experience