I’m a breakfast person, which is to say that there are few things I enjoy more in the morning than a steaming mug of coffee accompanied with a croissant or a pair of eggs. That’s why, when our waiter at Le Pois Penché lauded their croissants, I had to order one to nibble on in between sips of my café au lait.
On a purely aesthetic level, this croissant looks tasty and buttery enough, no? Each crescent arrived with a trio of dishes containing blood orange marmalade, butter and fig-almond jam. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I confessed that these were the best part of breakfast. The marmalade had a spicy undertone that made me think it was laced with something like Grand Marnier, and the fig-almond had been sweetened the exact right amount with honey. They were both tremendous, so much so that I couldn’t pick a favorite.
The croissant, on the other hand, was an utter disappointment. For starters, it was cold — not stone cold, but the kind of cold that makes me think they had been pulled out of the fridge moments before. That wasn’t the saddest part; they weren’t remotely flaky enough, nor were their insides as airy as I would have liked. In fact, they were almost dense, like a slightly puffed roll. I felt robbed.
I did better with my entrée (is it still called an entrée if we’re talking breakfast?), the eggs bénédictine ($14.00 CAD). That’s not saying much; the eggs were perfectly poached, sitting prettily atop rosemary-infused ham, gruyère and English muffin halves, but the entire dish was positively ensconced in hollandaise. I tried to scrape off as much as I could but it wasn’t possible. Even if there hadn’t been an unfortunate amount of hollandaise overwhelming everything in sight, it still would have been exactly what it was: a passable plate of eggs.
Describing a place like Le Pois Penché is a little awkward. If I lived in Montréal, I probably wouldn’t go back for the food, or for the unctuous service (our waiter repeatedly called Joann, Melissa and me diminutives like “darling,” even though 1. we were with Keith; and 2. he was probably younger than us all). I would, however, go back for a drink. I’d lean back in one of the red banquettes and check out my reflection in each and every mirrored surface — of which there are quite a few, ranging from floor-to-ceiling columns and wall paneling. I just don’t think I’d order any food.
Le Pois Penché
1230 Boulevard De Maisonneuve Ouest
Montréal, QC H3G