Robin des Bois: socially conscious+ volunteer-run

Posted on November 23rd, 2009 by .

“We’re an epicurean community centre,” explains Robin des bois (Robin Hood) founder, Judy Servay, with a grin. Like the famous philanthropist the restaurant was named after, not only are they staffed by volunteers, but they give their profits to people in need, and proceeds go to local women’s shelters and youth groups. If you’re strolling around the Plateau area in Montreal and want to grab a bite, drop by Robin des Bois and make a difference in someone’s life at the same time.

A unique concept, Robin des Bois’s goal is to encourage the spirit of volunteerism. More than half the staff working there are volunteers, supervised by professionals. It’s a wonderful way for people to connect with their community and to contribute to a great cause. I can tell you that the service was warm and friendly, and no one dropped my plate or put too much salt in the soup.

Caroline, who took care of our table, volunteers every week. “I like coming here and interacting with the public. Plus, on Wednesday nights, there’s a DJ spinning to liven things up a bit!”

This isn’t the first time I’ve eaten at Robin des Bois. I keep coming back because I like the idea of being served by volunteers. I think when people who don’t normally work in the industry are at your table, the contact is warmer and more genuine. I must admit that sometimes they are much more attentive than ‘professional’ servers.

The kitchen is staffed by volunteers, but fear not — professional chefs oversee all their work. In any case, I didn’t see billows of smoke coming out of the kitchen!! The cod cakes were golden and crispy, there were generous portions of meat in the duck salad and the lime meringue pie was delicious.

Robin des Bois offers a varied menu, and keeping in line with spirit of sharing, there are a few dishes that are meant to split with someone else. They come with side salads (fennel and orange, apple cider and red cabbage slaw) or veggies (pickled beets or fries with homemade mayo) — a nice option if you want to sample a little bit of everything.

Insider tip: Check out the ‘release room’ where for a measly 5 bucks you can throw your plate against the wall. Smash a dish and give a donation. It’s a great ‘release’ and much cheaper than paying for a therapy session. Here’s a pic of my experience.

Robin des bois
4653 St. Laurent Blvd. Montreal, QC, H2T 1R2, Tel: 514 288-1010
Open Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays

Dress code: casual chic
Reservations: recommended
Average bill (before tax, tip and alcohol): $22

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