Address: 994, Rue Rachel Est. Montreal, Quebec. H2J 2J3
Phone: (514) 525-2415
Website: http://labanquise.com/en/ Poutine, a dish originated from Quebec, how can we not have it when we are within the Quebec borders. There are many restaurants serving this comfort food in the city of Montreal. But the colourful sign and building attracted us to Poutine La Banquise when we were randomly roaming the city in the morning. Located in Mont Royal district and next to Parc La Fontaine, this restaurant is in a fashion and entertainment district, serving 24 hours nonstop.
First come first serve. You either stay warm inside studying the menu while you wait or you snooze you lose and stand outside in the cold. The wait line was quite long, at least half a block long!
You are welcomed by the open kitchen and cashier at the entrance. You breathe in the oily fumes of the deep fryer and the grill. At some point, this oily aroma was quite disgusting. A new exhaust fan is needed or a stronger range hood. The floors were greasy, but it was inevitable.
But, it was cute to see a graffiti of the different types of poutine they offer on the entrance wall, described in words or by picture representation. It was quite an attention grabber and gave an idea of what to order for the customers who are waiting to be seated. The decor and the colours were bright. I feel the eccentric and bubbly happy vibe the restaurant provided.
We were seated directly in front of the kitchen. For the full 2 hours we were there, we inhaled the endless oily and greasy fumes. Saying that, the advantage of sitting in front of the kitchen, was to ensure our food was always prepared correctly with no “extra ingredients”. In fact, I witnessed peeled and shredded potatoes brought out in trolleys to be fried. I think there must be at least a couple of kilograms there. SO MUCH STARCH!
They were so busy that we could almost barely catch our waitress to order and for our waters. The restaurant was filled to the max, shoulder to shoulder, and customers squeezing their ways into the booths and benches. Fast paced environment~
La Classique Poutine ($10.75 Large) is the standard poutine of fries with gravy and cheese curds. We ordered it because we wanted to try the original poutine and compare it to the ones we had in Toronto and other parts of the world. The cheese curds were thick and chunky, never melted. Fries were thinly shredded and soft in texture. It lacked the crispy surface I ideally liked in fries. Gravy was extremely light in flavour and runny. The three critical ingredients and sauce did not seem to mesh well together, felt like they were just there and separate. Taste was quite bland. The ones I had in Toronto and elsewhere used a thicker gravy sauce, and the cheese melted with the heat of the gravy and fresh fries, making the overall texture stringy. So I guess I enjoy the altered versions of poutine more. La T- Rex Poutine ($14.95 Large) is the classic poutine topped with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon and hot dog sausage. T-Rex, self explanatory, a carnivore diet, meat only! The toppings added flavour and texture to the poutine. I tasted a lot of the pepperoni, sausage and bacon, making the poutine taste more salty than it should. Three types of meat, out of four were processed foods, healthy level next to none. Also, I could not tell if the sauce was gravy or not, since it was thicker and saltier than normal and colour looks different from the norm. Proportion of the cheese was half less than the classic poutine to give room for the load of meat. In general, I do enjoy this a bit more than the classic poutine.La Reggae Poutine ($15.50 Large) is the classic poutine topped with ground beef, guacamole, diced tomatoes and hot peppers. Our favourite! Avocado guacamole was sweet; tomato was sweet and sour, hot pepper was spicy, ground beef lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. With all the flavours of the toppings mixed together, a savoury palatable mixture created. A burst of flavour and had natural vegetable juice to moisturize the mouth after two dry poutine dishes. We also finally got a bit of vegetable portion.
This was a heavy and hearty meal. We could barely finish the 3 poutines. In my opinion, there was no difference between the large and regular sizes. If you do not want to feel bloated, go for the regular size and try different items on the menu. Remember to drink a lot of water, poutine is quite dry.