There’s a new boutique hotel/Brasserie combo concept in town—namely, the Le Pois Penché restaurant and adjacent Hotel Chez Swann. Last week, a local hotel guru celebrated the relaunch of a restaurant that could be a new Montreal classic, as well as a new alliance with one of the city’s trendiest hotels…
Montreal’s Golden Square Mile was the name of a famous luxury neighbourhood adjacent to Downtown at the turn of the century—into the ‘30s, it was the stroll where the city’s moneyed elite had their mansions and shopped in shops. Since then, with the rise of other ‘hoods, this fabled area has faded over the years. But now, local restauranteur and hotelier Imad Nabwani is aiming to revive the neighbourhood and its name by christening his new company the Golden Mile Hospitality Group—to both conjure up the former glory of this area of the city, and also, hopefully, to usher in a new “golden” age.
“Part of it is to put the Golden Square Mile on the map again, to recapture what has been lost,” said Nabwani, who we caught up with during a VIP-studded opening party in his neo-Brasserie Le Pois Penché late last week. “This is an area that used to be full of history and elegance. We’ll be known for service, food, activities and connection to the community, and to have it once again part of Montreal.”
Nabwani, an accomplished hospitality guru and sommelier and formerly the GM of high-end steakhouse La Queue de Cheval, has recently taken over two properties on Drummond street, in the middle of the downtown action and steps from the Bell Centre.
“This place has been around for couple of years, but it had never really previously reached its potential,” he says of the restaurant. “I want to reintroduce it and emphasize that it belongs to the people. You can come anytime, can eat what you want and spend the money you want—$20 or $100. It’s not about the place imposing style on them, it’s about the place being all things to all people.”
The menu for Le Pois Penché isn’t yet set in stone, but Nabwani confirms that the food will be haute brasserie with an emphasis on the local and sustainable. “The brasserie is not chef-driven, it’s team driven,” he says. “This restaurant will be a celebration of food and full of vibrant energy. Come here and have the best brasserie cuisine in the city. Steak frites, shellfish bar, you name it.” And, he adds, “we’ll have the best tartare on earth”. A bold statement—come check it out for yourself!
Le Pois Penché, 1230 De Maisonneuve West, (514) 667-505
Hotel Chez Swann, 1444 Drummond Street, (514) 842-7070
Photos by Robin Westfield