Good things come in threes.
When it comes to weekend brunch locations in this city, the arrival of Elda Bistro seems to complete a trifecta of choice restaurants at the corner of St-Laurent and Fairmount (see: Fabergé and Lawrence) .
You may remember its address from the dessert bar and candy shop Kilo Café, whose large industrial garage window remained closed more often than not. Thanks to the restaurant’s frontmen Gabriel Rizzotti, David Chbat and Eléonore Escobar, plus Mile Ex (restaurant) chefs Valentin Wajda and Grégory Paul, it is now a 36-seat bistro serving the French-American fare that appears to be on the rise in town: larger-portioned food that’s styled after diner fare yet richer, with the environmental conviviality to match.
Named after Rizzotti’s grandmother, the location’s decorations lean toward what you’d find in old-world European bistros, from its sputtering espresso machine to the artwork styled after painters like Toulouse-Lautrec. That, and the wall of wines they tout by the entrance.
Full disclosure: I am not normally one for brunch. I’m wary of restaurants that have a small menu for morning-to-late afternoon repasts, whether because of the potentially long and hungover wait for a table or the fact that the kitchen may be passing the trim of night services. Thankfully, I experienced neither during my meal at Elda. With great places like this one so close to each other, I suspect the warmer temperatures of next summer will make this corner of the Plateau look like Pokémon Go is cool again for some godawful reason.
Admittedly, I wanted to try their brunch, as their dinner menu had (last I checked) two, maybe three dishes I wanted to try — a charcuterie plate here, tartare and gravlax there – while their mornings promised more intriguing options. While you sip one of their two-step cocktails (opt for the Bellini with pear nectar for $9), I imagine it won’t take long for you to settle for their maple and white wine-braised pork shoulder ($20). Sitting atop a cauliflower scone in a bath of bacon fat and onion foam, surrounded by roasted taters and melon balls, it’s topped with an egg and a fresh cornflower that gives the plate a bright daub of colour. This dish hits every taste bud, but if you find it lacks, try pairing it with a black coffee or Crodino’s bitterness to balance out its sweet and savoury-laden levels. The shoulder dish’s size is only rivalled by EB’s take on a trucker breakfast, la Cabane Rose, which switches out the breakfast weenies for Toulouse sausage on a serving plate mounded with breakfast stuffs.
For those who favour a more delicate dining affair at brunch, recommendations go to their croissant frittata for its artful layout and lacier flavours ($15). The egg is mixed with peas, feta and barley and alternatingly laid out in slices alongside a buttery croissant. All of this sits atop a bed of arugula and a mild pea purée, and decked in cuts of chorizo — pleasing to the eye, pleasing to taste. Those hoping to avoid meat altogether would do well to try their veggie plate ($12, $13.50 with a poached egg) for its house veggie pâté on a beet salad, topped with orange supreme and orange-caramel vinaigrette.
My only misgiving about my meal was EB’s addition of white chocolate shards to their lime and blueberry cheesecake, a dessert already wonderfully balanced in sour and sweet tastes that I ended up leaving the extra candy off to the side.
Moderate price points and great service aside, Elda Bistro’s arrival marks another notch on the Main’s belt for quaint, flavourful ways to spend a lazy afternoon. I may not have been fully converted for brunches just yet, but I’ve certainly another good reason to eat out in the earlier hours. Kudos! ■
5206 St-Laurent, 438-387-6050