Way up on the top floor of Montreal’s Société des arts technologiques (best known by locals as the SAT), you’ll find Labo Culinaire or for us anglos, Foodlab.
The concept revolves around having an experimental and adventurous approach to food. The space is very modern and inviting, featuring an open kitchen where patrons can see chef-duo (and the restaurant’s two owners) Michelle Marek and Seth Gabrielse work their magic behind the stove.
In the summer, the space expands to include an impressive roof-top terrace where spots are handed out on a first-come-first-served basis. With large tables, a lounge area and giant sun umbrellas the area is at once open but nonetheless cozy. The space accommodate large groups quite well and there is enough (friendly) staff that you always feel well attended to.
What’s Really Good:
SAT Foodlab caught our eye for two major reasons:
(1) Menu is constantly changing. Every couple of weeks there is a new culinary theme. Since the restaurant’s opening this past January, the menu has featured inspiration from Japanese, Lebanese, Turkish, Spanish, Greek and Italian cuisine to name a few. Other sources of inspiration include specific ingredients and experiences which has so far included winemaking, smorgasbords, maple syrup and pork.
Special limited edition menus have also been known to charm Foodlab patrons, who can expect to have their taste buds teased during particular events and holidays. One more reason to stay tuned-in to their twitter and facebook pages.
(2) Fixed menu + wine pairings. Although you can choose to order some (or all) of the dishes offered – usually this is limited to less than 10 choices – you can also take advantage of their “menu fixe”. This table d’hôte includes an appetizer, a main course, a dessert and two wine pairings and will cost you between $35 and $45. While the moderate price is enticing, don’t expect copious amounts of food. Each dish is modest in size, a generous tapas.
We Were There:
When we stopped by, the theme at the Foodlab happened to be revolving around Italy. We opted for the fixed menu, starting with a delicious orange wine, fresh ricotta and swiss chard. Lovely, and so very summery.
Next we moved on to the grilled sausage with rapini, and a glass of Contadino. While we adored the simplicity of the dish, the plate was lacking where contrasting flavour and texture were concerned.
To finish our meal we enjoyed the stone fruit tart. Overall the tart itself was wonderfully light. The crust was just perfect and the filling of peach, apricot, sour cherries and almonds, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche was very tasty. We couldn’t have been more happy with this stunning desert. It was perfectly appropriate for the summer evening we spent at the restaurant.
Foodlab certainly gets a gold star for their unique and very subtle approach to Italian food – it’s not what most people would expect, but it certainly surprised us in the best possible way. We’re already looking forward to checking out their take on the next themed menu.
Definitely worth checking out. The Foodlab is a great spot to meet a friend afterwork, or bring a date and enjoy a few glasses of wine with a light meal.