Yup, got a little crush on Gordon Ramsay. If you, too, are a fan of the celebrity chef, you probably know that he recently opened a restaurant right here in Montreal, in my Outremont-hood, no less. It’s called Laurier Gordon Ramsay – “Laurier” because it’s on Laurier Avenue, and “Gordon Ramsay” because, well, you know…
A few hours before the staff opened the floodgates at the media and VIP opening last week, I was lucky to get a one-on-one private interview with Gordon – because we are now on a first-name basis. No need to wash his mouth out with soap that day; he was a sweet talker. Gordon complimented me on my shoes, dress, and hair. “Who’s your hairdresser?” he quipped (Javier at Furisme: I gave you a shout-out!), and made jokes about my baby-faced cameraman: “Are you on summer vacation, yeah?” Okay, he did swear a bit, but that’s sort of a trademark.
Ever the businessman, however, as soon as the nitty gritty questions started rolling, Montreal’s newest culinary star grew serious. In our video interview, you’ll see how Gordon was quick to correct me when I called Laurier Gordon Ramsay a “new” restaurant, because it’s not. My bad. Actually, it opened in 1936 as Rotisserie Laurier BBQ, a family restaurant, and it’s been a Montreal institution for many generations of loyal clientele.
Since Gordon and his partners took over the establishment earlier this year, the décor has received a much-needed facelift. Much of the interior looks somewhat familiar, but the whole space is brighter and sleeker with creamy white ceilings and chic leather banquettes. Even the outside traded its yellow hue for a stylish black and white. Gordon called the look “casual glam” or “shabby chic.” Next summer a 35-seat terrasse is promised. That scored bonus points in my book.
Oh right. The food! The chicken, of course, is a mainstay, as is the pork, steak, and many of the sides that people have loved over the years. But the menu has been fine-tuned to meet Gordon’s haute standards, which included no more microwaving the infamous mocha cake just before serving. Opening night was a zoo of, I think, 600 people, so I couldn’t sit down and relax and colour on my placemat, but I did sample the food, which was happy, comforting goodness in my tummy. All at reasonable prices – with a nice affordable wine list to boot. I should mention that I did have seconds of the mac & cheese and spinach & cream. Both “bee-YOU-teh-ful”, as Gordon would say in his accent. Fancy that.
Laurier Gordon Ramsay, 381 Avenue Laurier Ouest, (514) 273-3671