The space at the corner of St. Hubert and Roy had been an unpopular diner for a long time (spending a lot of its time with papered windows). Thankfully, it's been elaborately renovated and reimagined into "Le Roy Pendu," a small, cozy resto/bar with over-the-top rustic Spanish décor and dainty French tapas.
We'd been planning to check it out for some time -- it seemed like a nice place to have a drink (floor to ceiling windows on 2 sides of its corner spot -- and so we were eventually drawn in by the 2 for 1 beer special (between 5 and 8). The atmosphere is warm, with lots of wood, comfortable stools around intimate high tables.
Once seated, we decided to try a selection of tapas, and were not disappointed. The menu is simple -- the "A" chalkboard features 6 sides / salads / appetizer tapas ($4.99 each), the "B" features meats and seafood (about 12 choices, $5.99 each), the "C" features 4 desserts ($2.99 each).
We ordered 4 times, deciding as we went along. The service was casual and friendly, and the dishes came in good time. We started out with the fennel salad (and have been inspired to try to make this at home!), simple and delicious, long strips of thinly sliced fennel with vinegar and nut oil. Exceptional. We also had the pork brochette (slightly sweet and perfectly cooked -- medium rare), the trout gravlax (simple and delectable, perfectly accompanied with a smear of cream and a sprig of dill) and the beef tartare with a buttery tarragon mousse. They were all delicious morsels. The portions are small -- small bites to be savoured -- but were big on flavours.
Next, we had another round of pork brochette, and the steak de hampe in porto sauce (a chewy, meaty cut) and mushroom risotto. Next we had salmon rillette, which was light and fresh and came with 3 little golden baguette toasts. We had an odd dessert which was surprisingly savoury under its caramel butter sauce -- kind of like rubbery bread. It went nicely with a glass of Calvados.
We were also treated to 3 live musicians -- again, a surprising addition because the resto is not packed. At first, we worried that the music would overtake the small space, but these 3 artists were the perfect accompaniment! Perfect volume, 3 totally distinct styles (piano ballads, Spanish guitar and jazz piano).
Everything in this place has been thought out and designed to the last detail (check out wild dungeon-like bathroom decor), but it still manages to keep a casual, homey, welcoming feel. It's not inexpensive, but not expensive, either -- and the food is worth it. We did wish that the food emphasized more of the restaurant's Spanish inspiration. But maybe this will be a rotating tapas menu? We hope so.
Well worth dropping in for a beer and a taste. Hopefully it will become a neighbourhood fixture.