I just got back home from a week long stay in Montreal, most of which, unfortunately, was devoted to business. I was able to get in a couple of days of pleasure with my wife and I will report more fully on our trip when I have more time.
I did, however, really want to post about La Ravane, a wonderful little restaurant that we stumbled across on St. Laurent. La Ravane features the cuisine de L'ile Maurice (the island of Mauritius). After reading a bit about the island (located in south-west Indian ocean; colonized by the Dutch, French and British over the last 400 years; experienced an influx of slaves and indentured servants from Africa, India and China; etc.) I can see how the fusion of so many different cultural elements has taken place.
Our dinner started with warm crusty rolls and a pickled shredded cabbage/mustard seed chutney. One taste and we knew that we had chosen the right place for our Friday night dinner!
Then, it was on to the appetizers. We split orders of the Yellow Pea Fritters and the Fried Meatballs. The fritters were small doughnut shaped and nicely fried. They were served with an Indian style raita (cucumber and yogurt) dipping sauce. A nice combination of flavors. The meatballs were small and nicely fried. They were served with an Asian style sweet and sour dipping sauce.
For our main courses we both ordered the chicken curry. We generally order different items and share, but that night we were just both in the mood for the chicken curry. You can get the main courses as combinations that include rice, soup (red bean that night) and, I believe, a salad; but we went a la carte in order to maximize the amount of chicken. The curry was unlike an Indian curry in that the chicken consisted of three medium size drumsticks in a greenish curry sauce with potato, onion and a healthy dose of cilantro. The rice, which we ordered separately, was presented in a ring shape with a parsley garnish. We also ordered the roti which was served hot in wax paper. Upon opening the wax paper we found layer after paper thin layer of delicious Indian-style bread. The chicken was cooked perfectly, moist yet falling off the bone. The curry sauce was delicious, although I wished I would have ordered it with a little more heat (I ordered it medium hot).
For dessert we split the warm cassava pudding which was dusted with coconut. Very nice!
The wine offerings are very limited. Presumably they have been chosen to compliment the food in an efficient manner. We had a Muscat de ????. I forgot to write down the name! I will say that, not being a big fan of sweet wines, it was not overly sweet and had a nice citrus finish to it. I thought that it worked very nicely with the curry and, as a matter of fact, we drank 2 bottles of it. It was $25 per bottle. The most expensive bottle that they had that night was $37.
La Ravane opened last June, I believe. The interior has been very nicely renovated, featuring exposed brick, hardwood floors, glass topped tables and cool wooden chairs. The service was extremely friendly and efficient. The chef/owner Danielle made a visit to each of the tables and talked a little about Mauritius and the food. She told us that she planned to bring in musicians and dancers in October.
Our meal at La Ravane was truly one of the highlights of our trip to Montreal. We only wished that we could go out on the street and drag people in so that they could taste some fantastic food. During the 2 hours that we were there there were only 4 tables of customers. I surly hope that the Montreal Chowhound community will support this restaurant. The food is prepared and served with the absolute most important ingredient to a Chowhound, love and a desire to make each dish perfect.
Sorry about the long review!
3991 Boul. St. Laurent
Montreal, Quebec H2W2A5