Thursday, April 14, 2011

La Bête à Pain: The Staff of Montreal

Fig.1. Just two door over from Le St-Urbain, La Bête à Pain is a great addition to Fleury Street.

As I'm writing this article, I'm eating bread. Not just any bread, but bread from La Bête à Pain. A new bakery which opened this week and is headed by Le St-Urbain's very own, Marc André Royal. (The bakery is situated just two doors west of Le St-Urbain.)

Eating at Le St-Urbain last week (always a great meal in case you were wondering), I was given some bread as is customary in most Montreal restaurants, only, this bread was unlike any I've ever had in this city: Earthy, fermented and teaming with aromas of cereal and yeast. The stretchy dough and crackling crusts made me think of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, it's that good. The bread man, Thomas Bouchez, hails from the Champagne region of Reims, France, just east of Paris. Bouchez takes his bread seriously. The starter dough, or `mother`, is of Bouchez's creation. Royal aptly points out to me that the starter is still very young, and that the older it gets, the better and more complex the bread's flavour will become; a perfect reason to keep buying bread at La Bête. Lunch is also served at La Bête à Pain. Ciabatta sandwiches filled with Matane shrimp (the ciabatta bread, by-the-way, were the thinnest I've ever seen, perfectly suited for sandwiches) and various bread tarts were being served. Lunch items change from day to day, "I'll leave it to whatever the gang of cooks and bakers decide to make" says Royal. La Bête à Pain is exactly what this city needs: a place that respects food and fosters the creativity needed to make edibles exciting again.

Fig.2. A paoched pear, cranberry jam and almond cream tartin. It takes a special mind to come up with something like this.

Fig.3. Bread master, Thomas Bouchez works his magic. It took every ounce of will power I had not to stick my face in the dough. A perfect pillow.

Fig.4. Baskets of bread.

Fig.5. Assorted sweets.

Fig.6. Duck eggs, headcheese, demi-glace, arctic char gravlax, duck magret, organic salumi and various sous-vides all available. Some made in the bakery and some in the restaurant next door.

Fig.7. Thomas Bouchez, a man coated in flour.

Fig.8. Cooling down

Fig.9. One of the pain de campagne didn't survive the ride home in one piece.

Fig.10. What do you do with great bread? You make 'nu bel panino' of course.

La Bête à Pain, 114 , rue Fleury Ouest, Montreal (Ahuntsic area, just west of St Laurent) 514.507.7109

1 comment:

Nathalie said...

I hope, one day, it will be one left so I could finally try one of Thomas's bread and make a nice dinner with Maxime's creton (The savoury master) !!! Because when he comes back home, I never find anything in his bag....
_The baker's girlfriend_