A Search for the best lunch in Old Montreal was not an easy feat.. with new restos popping out of the woodwork. After some Facebook suggestion hunting, I was led to HOLDER several times and decided to choose it as our Spring lunch pick. Holder has an unparalleled ambiance with brilliantly painted columns that mimic oxidized copper, it’s a very large restaurant that you can really sink into.
I often use a good-taste-guide to direct me through the menu. I don’t let the waiter do this because his motivations wont be the same as a customer’s so I choose a foodie customer who I trust and then have the Sommelier pair me up with wines. My resto guide this trip was Ambre Gaëlle. She was quite insistent on the lobster ravioli and boy was she right!
Always start with a salad
You’re about to attack your digestive system, arteries and filter organs with an assault of alcohol, saturated fats and sugar so why not give your body something healthy and prepare your palette with a fresh start! I never go heavy with salads… if you do this, you will end up dragging your feet or rather fork during the main meal. Go light, (even if it’s free).
I chose a classic buffalo Mozarella salad with tomatoes and pesto. The pesto tasted like they literally pulled up fresh herbs and shot them in a moulinex with pine nuts, it really had a lovely raw and chlorophyl kick. My review partner, Alistar, had the gravlax. Salmon is already salty and very delicate and we found the gravlax to be too salty and not so delicate. The pieces of salmon had a chunky texture instead of raw and fragile. We still enjoyed it but feel it can be improved.
Follow with a suggested favorite
I went with the lobster ravioli which was doubly referred! Our HOLDER waiter and my menu guide referred it. I was quite excited to see that my pasta not only came with an all-time-favorite butter sauce, it came with a light drizzle of truffle oil. I was concerned about the truffle oil because they can be quite overpowering. Truffle oil can take over a dish faster than the Roman Empire! I was pleasantly surprised that the lobster raviolis were not drowning in a cream sauce or a truffle conquer, but a light mysterious envelope of flavor. My food photographer, Alistar, ordered duck confit. The confit was amazing, salty and melted right off the bone (A total WIN) but the roasted potatoes were a heavy-ish side and could have been replaced with a another root veggie. While roasted potatoes are a confit classic side, a nice selection of mini heirloom carrots or a mashed potato swirl would have done nicely as well.
Finish with an unusual dessert, life is short!
I have tried every dessert at HOLDER; well every dessert except for the quirky upside down pineapple cake! This dessert makes a killer instagram ha, you know that is part of the fun… it looks like a chubby little boat with a caramel keel that has been capsized in a sea of sweet cream. One bite of this sweet and cozy little cake and I suddenly resented the earlier agreement to share desserts! It’s the perfect size for one. About 4-6 big spoonfuls and it’s gone.
Which wine? Chablis MAIS OUI!
After years of hating some whites and loving others but never understanding which was which, a good white wino friend Matt, educated me on the matter.. Chablis is basically French Chardonnay so of course it’s better; but it is also better because it’s less citrus and sharp and more mineral and smooth. It’s like the white gold of white wines and I love it! We didn’t take a photo of the wines because they just don’t make awesome photos. The same way no one needs to see 100 pictures of your baby in the same outfit. We try to keep our food instagrams minimal and relevant. The other wine pairings were cabernet francs and ice ciders. They were nice too but the Chablis was memory-licious and has created a go back soon trigger for my palette at HOLDER.