Reservations in some of Montreal’s most trendy restaurants can be tricky to secure (and we mean that in a good way), but the most exclusive seat of all might not be in a restaurant at all…
Les Nuits Borgia is an exclusive dinner party hosted every Thursday in a gorgeous Belle Epoque dining room above a chocolatier on Sherbrooke Street West in the Golden Square Mile. The dinners resemble the ever-so-trendy pop-up restaurants that have, well, popped up all over the place in recent years. Hidden Kitchen in Paris had to move to bigger digs in the tony 1st arrondissement while their waiting lists groaned under six months of eager diners (the hosts also became worldwide consultants for Williams-Sonoma). New York’s The Feast recently hosted a pop-up college culinary class based on their success.
Les Nuits Borgia, Montreal’s version of this trend, is both more elegant and more refined—though it probably won’t be long til they have a six-month waiting list, too. The dinners, which seat 22 people by reservation only (see below), are a collaboration between three careerists in the culinary arts who are also longtime friends: Chef Nicolina Servello, Chocolatier Nada Fares from Le Maitre Chocolatier and pastry artist Jami Liverman, as well as local PR woman-about-town, Anisha Rangi.
Les Nuits Borgia is “inspired loosely” by the historical figure of Lucrezia Borgia, a medieval bon-vivant who is also a main character on The Borgias, Showtime’s new show that stars local it-boy Francois Arnaud.
“Lucrezia was a woman that loved life, men and decadence, “ says spokeswoman Rangi. “When we thought of extravagance, we thought of her. Les Nuits Borgia is all about decadence and seduction of the senses…of course with food, not sex!” she clarifies.
Indeed, Montreal Buzz recently had a seat at the table for a Nuits Borgia dinner party; seated between our colleagues at Tourisme Montreal and a top-level concierge for local private-jet manufacturer Bombardier, we plied the night with champagne and a most alluring menu:
- Porcini and Wild Quebec Mushroom Medley on Crostini
- Springtime Fior di Latte Megaglione on a bed of Minted Pea Puree
- Baby Arugula Lemon-Lime Granita Sipper
- Truffle Salt Seared Bavette on Crisp Corn Polenta Cake with Buttered Asparagus and Roasted Radish
- Pear, Endive and Shaved Fennel Salad
- Chocolate Cherry Clafoutis, Vanilla Shortbread, Vanilla Crème Anglaise, Sour Cherry Reduction and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Before we began our meal, Chef Servello spoke passionately about her family’s hobby farm near Montreal, where she learned to appreciate the fruits of the terroir and where she hopes to harvest many of the ingredients used in this meal.
This particular night. I was especially thrilled with the handmade Medaglione with Flor du Latte, a creamy type of Mozzarella, and the refreshing Arugula sipper, an uncommon taste made me think of spring. Chef Liverman’s clafoutis was also memorable, with a not-too-sweet crème anglaise and white brownie to go that was devoured in a midnight fit of appreciation for the evening, and the meal.
Guest Blogger: Melora Koepke
Dinner: $85 per person / $98 per person with wine pairing