5 Ice cream shops to check out in Montreal this summer

5 Ice cream shops to check out in Montreal this summer

August is upon us, which means that there’s one more full month of summer to melt (pun intended) in all of the frozen treats your heart desires. That’s right folks, the time for ice cream indulgence is here. Here are 5 places to check out before the snow starts to fall again in Montreal. Dalla Rose 1

Dalla Rose 2

Dalla Rose

The new kid on the block, Dalla Rose recently opened down on Notre Dame in St. Henri (right next to Arthur’s, the modern Jewish deli that also recently took up shop). Try their ice cream offerings on their own, or sandwiched between a variety of homemade cookies (the only complaint here is that some of the cookies are a bit on the hard side, making the ice cream sandwich difficult to eat without squeezing out all of the actual ice cream – hopefully this is just the result of growing pains and they will work out the kinks). Flavours include tournesol (sunflower seed), which is especially good paired with vegan chocolate coconut.

Dalla Rose Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Diperie

La Diperie

Less about the ice cream and more about the bajillion different dips and toppings you get to chose to coat it, La Diperie brings out the kid in anyone who visits. Start with basic vanilla soft serve, and choose from at least a dozen varieties of melted chocolate to dip it in (salted chocolate and dulce de leche are both winners). Roll it in a mélange of toppings from crushed pretzels, to Oreo crumbs, and you are in for a treat.

La Diperie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kem Coba 1 Kem Coba 2

Kem CoBa

Kem CoBa has been a fan favourite on the Montreal ice cream scene for awhile now, so much so that there is even a Twitter account dedicated to monitoring the size of the line to get some (be prepared to line up around the block if it’s a scorcher out). It’s worth the wait though for their Asian-inspired flavours of ice cream and sorbet like pandan and chai. Don’t forget to try their homemade soft serve either, which is an ever-changing sorbet/ice cream combo, making for a refreshing, creamy treat.

Kem CoBa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pandan

Pandan Cremerie

Easily the most unique “ice cream” on the list, Pandan is one of only a handful of Thai rolled ice cream shops in the country. Given that all of their ice cream is frozen and rolled right before your eyes, it does take at least 4 to 5 minutes per customer, but time goes by quickly when you are watching the novelty of it all (honestly it’s worth it just to get a video of the process in action). Try the Vietnamese coffee ice cream topped with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.

Pandan Creamery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ripples

Ripples

Located on St. Laurent right across from the infamous smoked meat shop, Schwartz’s, Ripples may look like your typically old-timey ice cream shop, but it is anything but, as indicated by unique flavours like kulfi and pistachio (loaded with pieces of actual pistachio). It may not be the lightest option, but it is decadent, full-fat ice cream at its finest, ultra dense and super smooth.

Ripples Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cadet

Cadet

Cadet may seem like an odd name for a restaurant, but in this case, it’s quite fitting. For starters, this new addition to Montreal’s food scene is obscurely located in an unmarked spot along St. Laurent that was once home to an army surplus store. More importantly though given the French meaning of, “cadet”, it’s the, “second son” to Bouillon Bilk, which has maintained its status as one of the best restaurants in the city for years now.

Having stopped by for dinner a couple weeks ago, I’d say that thus far, Cadet is following suit to become one of Montreal’s top dining spots.

Cadet 1

The menu at Cadet, as many are nowadays, is designed to share. We started with a heaping pile of slightly smoked, vinegary mushrooms with parsley and pickled shallots. Give me a big bowl of creminis and shiitakes, hot or cold, and I’m a happy camper.

Cadet 2

The crab was served simply in its shells with dill, daikon, and just a touch of chives. When crab season is at its peak, you really don’t need anything more complicated than that.

Cadet 3

My favourite dish of the evening was the asparagus, also a fresh, seasonal offering. The best way I can describe it is as grilled asparagus meets upscale Caesar salad. The creamy sauces, one with smoked mackerel and the other with anchovies, gave it that salty, savoury kick that made it difficult to stop eating. The almonds, especially the thinly sliced green ones, were a nice touch as well.

Cadet 4

For our last savoury dish we opted for chicken livers with morels and peas. They were served on “cornbread”, which was actually a yeasted bread with cornmeal, rather than your typical corn quickbread, was the perfect base for sopping up all of the jus.

Cadet 5

Admittedly, even for being a party of only 2, we could have ordered more food, but we were both adamant on saving room for dessert, all of which are made by Bouillon Bilk’s pastry chef. I don’t typically go for chocolate cake because it’s never “chocolatey” enough for me, but this one may have changed my outlook just a tad. The incorporation of caramelized white chocolate, in the white chocolate cream, aerated white chocolate, and white chocolate clusters, was really what made it for me. It was the sweet ending that solidified that Cadet isn’t just living in the shadows as Bouillon Bilk’s younger sibling, it’s worth saluting in and of itself.

Cadet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vanilla Black

Vanilla Black

This piece is long overdue. As in, well over a year overdue. I ate at Vanilla Black in London during my trip to Europe at the end of the summer of 2014. It was by far one of the dining highlights of the trip. When you travel for food, that consequently means it was also one of the overall highlights of the trip. Undoubtedly the menu has changed since my visit, but that’s all the more reason to go and check out what they are currently offering. Regardless of whether or not you are a vegetarian, add Vanilla Black to your must-dine-at restaurants should you ever find yourself in London, and hungry. Tell them Mallory from Canada sent you.

Vanilla Black isn’t named like most vegetarian restaurants, nor does it look like most vegetarian restaurants, but that’s because it isn’t like most vegetarian restaurants. No eclectic décor, no quirky service and thankfully, no uninspired vegetable pasta dishes. Frankly, dining at Vanilla Black is one of the best meals you can get in London, vegetarian or otherwise.

Vanilla Black

Like many vegetarians, Chef Andrew Dargue and his wife Donna Conroy started out as meat-eaters but over time failed to see the necessity of consuming it. Instead, he now takes classic British dishes like gamon and pineapple and transforms them into vegetarian counterparts that are better than the originals could ever hope to be. The re-imagined Ribblesdale cheese pudding, a double-baked soufflé of sorts, with pineapple chutney, smoked potato croquette, poached egg and homemade “ketchup” make for a dish that is ever so reminiscent of a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, ketchup and hashbrowns, but with flavours that are amplified to a more sophisticated level. Not to mention, it is surprisingly filling for a vegetarian entrée.

Vanilla Black - entree

“You would never go to a restaurant and order a dish that is entirely comprised of meat so I don’t want to offer vegetarian dishes that only contain vegetables,” explains Chef Dargue. “I like to make sure that there is a protein, a starch and a vegetable on every plate.”

Well perhaps not EVERY plate, but if that means inventions like brie ice cream with blackberries and quinoa, you won’t hear any complaints from me. Not your typical starter, the brie ice cream is subtle and creamy, more of a semifreddo than an ice cream really. Paired with blackberries in various forms, a quinoa cracker and green onion gastrique, it is surprisingly savoury for something you would expect to be sweet. You wouldn’t think twice about hot, baked brie with fruit compote so why not create a chilled version?

Vanilla Black - appetizer

Sometimes Dargue’s creative dishes don’t go over as well as he might hope but that is the nature of food of all sorts – it is utterly subjective. At the same time, he has a deft hand that understands the virtues of simplicity over an abundance of ingredients, textures and techniques. “I use certain {modernist} techniques sometimes but they are not the centre of the plate,” Dargue says. Instead, he prefers that diners are surprised by interesting bites here and there over the course of meal.

Which naturally brings us to dessert. The smoked paprika fudge sounded too interesting not to try and that it was. Individually, each component on the plate wasn’t miraculous in isolation, the fudge a tad too sweet and the Builder’s tea ice cream a tad too not. However the brilliance of great cooking is the ability to combine flavours in a way that makes them taste better together than they ever could on their own. All in one bite, the perfect spoonful contained a bit of everything on the plate, all singing in harmony.

Vanilla Black - dessert

Unlike most vegetarian restaurants or tasting menus, you will leave Vanilla Black full and happy; because regardless of your dietary choices, you experienced a mélange of dishes that achieved a Taoistic balance between sweet and savoury, light and dense, soft and crunchy, hot and cold. Most importantly, at Vanilla Black they have figured out how to both feed people and nourish them, all the while serving food that meets and exceeds all expectations of vegetarian cuisine.

Vanilla Black

17-18 Took’s Ct, London EC4A 1LB, United Kingdom

+44 20 7242 2622

Mal Takes on YUL

As you may know, or at least have deduced from my Twitter and Instagram lately, this born and raised Calgarian has moved east. For the next 5 years at a minimum (that being the expected completion time for my Ph.D.) I am officially a resident of Montreal – and absolutely loving it!

IMG_0319

The city itself is a cultural mecca all around but can we take a sec to stop and talk about the food? Within a 2 block radius of where I live I have access to:

IMG_0149

A) The best chocolate chip (chunk really) cookies I’ve ever had at Cafe Parvis.

IMG_0301 IMG_0304

B) Crazy good Japanese bites and cocktails at Biiru Izakaya.

IMG_0331 IMG_0339

C) Tacos that rival those from Tres Carnales (I’m sorry Edmonton, you have competition) at Escondite. Oh and cocktails too.

IMG_0313

D) Olives and other salty deliciousness at Taverne F.

E) All the traditional French brasserie goodness at Brasserie T! (not pictured)

IMG_0347

A little further out I’m happy to report that the veg scene is thriving. Great veggie burgers and crispy yet melt-in-your-mouth chickpea fries at Lola Rosa.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 7.58.05 PM

The only disappointment thus far (and I’m aware that I might get the boot for saying this) has been the bagels. Montreal bagels, I don’t get what the fuss is about you. Texturally, you’re fine. Portion-wise, (smaller and with a bigger hole than your NYC counterparts), I can also deal with you. But taste? Well frankly you don’t taste like anything. Whoever decided that Montreal bagels didn’t need salt was not a very wise person. All bread needs salt. Anyways, I can eat you but only slathered in liberal amounts of SALTY peanut butter.

IMG_0312

Or if that doesn’t work, I also have about 15 different types of salt hiding in my cupboards to choose from. Yup, I have a salt collection. Don’t judge. (popcorn night at Chez Mallory will never be boring)

So pretty much over the next 5 years I plan on eating my way through Montreal. And going to grad school. The brain needs fuel though right? Well there’s lots to choose from here! Stay tuned for more of my adventures when I get around to documenting them!

Dairy Lane Cafe

Dairy Lane Cafe

Breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day and when made well, I will argue that it is also one of the tastiest. That’s why it is always a good idea to have a few decent, local breakfast joints in your repertoire for when you don’t feel like cooking up a storm first thing in the morning. Dairy Lane Cafe had been on my radar for awhile but after a not-so-stellar experience at their sister-restaurant, Blue Star Diner, I held off for as long as possible. However, the moment arrived and I was finally ready to visit Dairy Lane, crossing my fingers that they would redeem themselves, and thankfully, they did.

I went for the vegan scramble breakfast plate because who doesn’t like red Thai coconut curry tofu for breakfast? Well, I am sure plenty of people, but I have no idea why. This is going to sound like the strangest description but the Asian tofu mixed with some very Italian ingredients like sundried tomatoes, bell peppers and mushrooms reminded me of some crazy curry/caponata mash-up. Add some creamy avocado into the mix and I am not quite sure where we stand culturally, although the flavours were definitely cohesive. I know, I even surprised myself opting for savoury over sweet to start my day. How I stayed away from the cinnamon cream cheese stuffed french toast, I am still not sure.

Dairy Lane Cafe

My dining partner and Mealshare aficionado, Bre did the right thing and ordered the Mealshare feature. I was debating getting it too but I thought it would be weird if we went for samsies. Anyways, let’s talk about falafel hash for a second. Why aren’t more people replacing potatoes with falafel in their hash recipes? I’m serious, it is so much more flavourful because the falafel are already loaded with herbs and spices. Top it all off with vegetables and a couple poached eggs and it’s almost like a deconstructed falafel wrap on steroids. Plus, if I haven’t already hammered the point home enough, $1 from every Mealshare item ordered (from any participating restaurant) gets donated to feed one hungry person in need. Thus you can make your tummy and your conscience happy all at the same time.

Dairy Lane Cafe

Next time I go back to Dairy Lane I will have to try some of their other veg options; veggie burgers (yes, that’s plural), black bean and corn soup or perhaps whatever other Mealshare item that happens to be on feature. Cold drinks on the patio on a hot summer day don’t sound like a bad idea either. It’s a super quaint little joint but if you can manage to get a table (there are only about 20 seats inside the place), it is definitely worth checking out. I’m glad I finally mustered up the courage to go!
Dairy Lane Cafe on Urbanspoon