This sounds cliché,but I’ll say it anyways...I love brunch!
On weekends, brunch is one of my favorite meals of the day. Since I have a lot of late nights and early mornings throughout the week juggling school full-time and work, I love sleeping in on the weekends. I mean, there’s no better feeling than cuddling with your sheets on a Saturday morning and not have to worry about waking up to an alarm…Am I right?
Some travel for adventure, others travel for sightseeing but for me, I travel for food. For years, a lot of my travelling has been geared by my personal desire to try local eats in the city. Prior to booking accommodations, I’m busy calling restaurants to book reservations or generate a list of spots I want to check out by scrolling through Instagram and searching local hashtags (no surprise there!).
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to re-visit Montréal with the W Montréal. I can go on about my love for this beautiful city but you’ve probably heard enough in my previous travel posts. Prior to my trip being confirmed, there were a couple of restaurants on my “must-go-to” list. One of them being Lili Co. A hidden brunch spot with bold flavors located in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal (previously located in Mile End).
Lili Co. The name is exactly what it sounds like: "Little Company". From what my memories last recall, it was a hole in the wall restaurant located in Mile End with an eclectic interior and a line up that circled around the block during weekend brunches. Their menu items were drool-worthy with unique brunch options that change regularly depending on what the Chef is in the mood for. As all restaurants, there are a couple of staples items on the menu that don’t change much like their signature Octopus Club Sandwich! (I managed to find the photo I posted on Instagram from my first visit there in 2014 with a few of my closest friends: Kim, Nick and Sheep).
Lili Co. 2.0 is a bright, open-concept restaurant with lots of seating. They have bar seating around the kitchen, cocktail bar and some by the window facing the busy streets of Plateau Mont-Royal. If bar seats are not your vibe, they also have booths on the side and in the back. My friends Alexa, Michael and I were lucky enough to grab seats overlooking the kitchen (if you ask me, they are the best seats in the house!). I enjoy sitting at bars facing the kitchen at restaurants solely because I get to see the cooks in action. Watching the cooks’ hustle in the kitchen reminded me of my days as a cook working long hours on the line. I miss it.
From the menu, we ordered my personal favourite, Octopus Club Sandwich, Banana Pancakes and last but not least, Banh Xèo: Vietnamese Crepe! Personally, I would've never thought of incorporating Octopus in a club sandwich but when combined with crispy thick-cut bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and four slices of buttery toast, it worked wonders on your palette. The meat was tender, not chewy and flavour profiles were well balanced. I dream about it till date.
Pictured above, the Banana Pancakes were stacks of fluffy pancake heaven drizzled with Dulce de Leché butter and maple syrup, topped with candied cashews! Normally they top it off with candied walnuts but the chef informed us that they were out of it for the day and improvised with candied cashews instead. Cashews are one of my favourite nuts and when candied, it added just the right crunch you needed when digging into a stack this high.
Lastly, the Banh Xèo took all three of us by surprise... in the best way possible! This was my first time eating a vietnamese crepe and it reminded me of a dish back home in India called 'Dosa'. They're both rice flour based "crepes". The banh xèo consisted of nordic shrimps, scrambled eggs, shiitake mushrooms, mint and cilantro topped off with a few bean sprouts. The Chef combined bold vietnamese flavours with modern market-fresh ingredients and it was nothing short of tasty!
Our meal ended on a high note as our bellies were filled to the T. If you had the option of visiting one restaurant in Montréal, I would highly recommend Lili Co. The chef is exceptional and I can guarantee that his creations are unlike anything you've tasted before.