When I heard Gordon Ramsay was opening up a restaurant in Montreal, I immediately added Gordon Ramsay’s first Canadian venture to my ever growing list of “Must Eats When In Montreal”. Smoked meat, bagels, poutine AND Gordon Ramsay in one city? Too amazing for words! So when I had the opportunity to hit up Montreal for 24 hours, the first place I went to was Laurier Gordon Ramsay.
Nestled amongst the Christmas lights of Laurier Avenue West, this former rotisserie family restaurant in Outremont was the perfect place to cozy up in on a cold December night. I’ve dined at Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in Prague and his At The London in NYC, but as I stepped inside Laurier I admired the completely different atmosphere. Unlike the elegant lounge of Maze or the five star world of At The London, walking into Laurier felt as though one was walking into a friend’s home. From the elegant black and white exterior to the warm wooden paneled dining room and solid wood tables, Ramsay kept it simple, and catered to the local neighbourhood (rule #1 from Kitchen Nightmares).
Little touches such as the jar of homemade pickles on each table and the metal bucket of fresh roles and logo branded butter are unique but not pretentious.While an extensive wine list makes me realize I’ll be spending more on wine then I will on my meal, with such reasonable prices (an average main is about $15 CAN) I’m enticed to splurge a bit more. Everything on the menu looks deliciously heart warming, and I finally settle on a classic French onion soup, which should be a testament of the menu’s focus on local comfort food.
The French onion soup is perfection from the crusty layer of Gruyere cheese to the well seasoned beef broth and soft carmelized onions soaking the fresh croutons below, there is comfort in every bite.
The main course was even harder to select: tourtiere? Beer battered fish ‘n’ chips? Chicken pot pie? Wood planked salmon? Oh if only there was more time! However, the specialty of Laurier is their rotisserie which features grain fed, naturally raised Quebec chickens (Kitchen Nightmares rule#2: use local produce!), and so I finally decided that this is the optimal choice.
Now it may seem strange to compare Swiss Chalet with Gordon Ramsay, but just imagine if Swiss Chalet was actually made with real chicken. Imagine if you had this fresh, cooked to perfection chicken whose juices are held in by thin, crispy, well seasoned skin, complete with crunchy coleslaw and hand cut fries alongside silky gravy for dipping. I will now forever love Gordon Ramsay because he has made me the most divine Swiss Chalet dinner, ever.
Our group ate, drank and relaxed for about 3 hours, and not once did we feel rushed by the waiters to leave, something that I really appreciated.
With reasonable prices, local produce and a warm, inviting atmosphere, Laurier confirms one thing: Ramsay abides by his own rules, meaning no matter which restaurant of his I dine in, the experience will always be amazing.