Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday brunch at Chien Fumant, a winter treat.

Just another beautiful, balmy -40C Montreal morning. Eric and I decided to head out to brunch. We went about our Sunday ritual of trying to pick a brunch place even as we get into the car and start driving. We headed out over sun streaked, Mont-Royal with no particular destination, then Le Chien Fumant popped into my head. 

I had been resistant to try Chien Fumant since their opening a year or so ago. Reviews (from press & friends alike) had been good, to so-so, and the place is not inexpensive (I'm not risking a pricey night out, on a place I hear might be so-so, feel me?)... And then recently my friend Lev uploaded a facebook pic of his delicious brunch at Chien Fumant. Only it didnt look delicious. It told a story of someone who couldn't keep down their late night eats. Nothing sunny or inviting about this one. In Lev's defence, he realized (after a few comments under his upload) that the photo didn't quite do justice to the experience. But it was too late for me. That photo (shown below), had done me in, and brunch at Chien Fumant fell off my radar.

Make you wanna go mmm? Didn't think so.

Until today. -40 degrees with an extreme hunger front coming in. Chien Fumant was the obvious choice I thought, because I did want to try it out eventually, and brunch is perfect for first time try outs. I said I'd only blog about the truly delightful or the downright degolasse and I'm pleased to report this experience fell into the former category. I definitely let too many Sundays slip by without visiting this place.

We walk into Chien Fumant, and yes! it's cozy (only 35 seats), and busy. And it made me instantly wish I had brought my good camera. The place is well styled, from the decor (bottles of booze, hanging at different lengths over the bar, cool lighting), to the odd not antique-ish china plates, and the personal styles of the staff. All funky, but with polished class.  The 16 year old-looking busboy/waiter/barista/ barman, who offered us coffees and refilled our waters with a smile, turned out not to be any of the above, but the unassuming, hard working, owner of the place, Dave. He was working his well oiled machine, and working it hard. Beautiful coffee, slurp-worthy bloody marys, all him. All while checking in on the kitchen and the customers.

The very sweet waitress, with a vintagey blue dress to match her eyes, and an awesome 40's hairdo, told us that the menu was behind us on a chalk board, always Southern style, and changed weekly. Southern style breakfast means two things: 1. It's going to be tasty delicious, and 2. There is no healthy option. Don't even think about it. The only fruit in the joint was the wedge of orange on the glass of my fresh sqeezed OJ (which was a sweet citrus explosion), and the caramelized apples served in a  heap over sausage stuffed french toast. And as for veggies: Fried potato patties, and chives....That's pretty much where they draw the line on those vital food groups. Who can blame's brunch in the south at Chien Fumant, and it works.

The menu was small but we still had a hard time choosing only 2 items to share. We sat at the bar facing the kitchen watching all the food prep, so after 15 minutes we knew exactly what we wanted to eat. Too bad we ordered 12 minutes ago. We had settled on southern style breakfast (2 eggs & the works), and now I knew I wanted (and needed) the cheddar & chive waffle, with pulled pork & pickled onions topped with a fried egg. When we pulled the last minute order swap, the staff was happy to oblige. I can say that with confidence because I watched as the message got passed along, and our french toast order got cancelled (and pulled from the stove mid-cuisson), and no one looked even a smidge annoyed. Classy. 

The kitchen is an open air, small space. We watched as each plate was tenderly prepared with care. Everything looked amazing. The huevos divorcados (great name), and french toast orders that went by looked mint, and I watched the happy patrons devouring their plates, and swapping bites with one another.  
A look down the bar, provided an exciting preview of good things to come.

The food arrived, and it was glorious. The southern eggs breakfast was really a perfect standard breakfast, without being standard at all. Eric could not get over the perfectly fried eggs- while I moaned and groaned in potato, cake & sour cream bliss. soft, salty, crispy & delicious (Eric and I had a minor fork fight for the last bite of potato, thankfully no forks or humans were injured. he won). WOW. My only comment would be that the bacon could have been crispier for my taste (given that I saw them drop it into a deep fryer).

The cheddar & chive waffle was perfectly cooked, soft and doughy, with a crispy exterior. The tasty pulled pork was a very generous portion- they could get away with serving half the amount they do- but I'm glad they don't. It was juicy and delicious, smokey & just right on. Add a fried egg, perfectly executed CF style, a drop of pickled onion, and it's complete. I could think of 100 things to put on that waffle, and apparently so can they- the waffle is a regular on the CF brunch menu.

Chien Fumant is a special Sunday brunch spot. It's no egg white omelette with a side of berries and granola, but it also wasn't as greasy or heavy as expected. I didn't feel like I had to take a long lie down after, or even unbutton my skinny jeans. I plan on returning for dinner (for a full breakdown), hopefully soon- with Lev, and he won't be handling any cameras.

4710 Rue de Lanaudiere
514. 524.2444
Open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner, and for drinks until 2am
Sunday Brunch
Closed Monday


  1. Sick lookin' brunch, girl! And WTF are huevos divorcados? You mean divorciados - or seriously separated eggs? Separated by what? Well, 40's hairdos and vintage dresses are not so much my thing, but Dave sounds like the dude. And your pics sure look a lot better than Lev's! You know me and my preference always for the light choice (tongue in big fat cheek) but in this case I could make an exception.

  2. Yup, my photo was no good. Here's the thing - I did the cheddar waffle, fried egg, pulled pork and sour cream masterpiece, but as I'm not a pro-blogger I don't think to photo-shoot my eats... I just dig in! After mushing it all up and taking one bite, I felt the urge to share my experience instantly and didn't even look at the pic I facebooked. I wasn't thinking through my eyes at that moment, for which I apologize to all my facebook friends and Dave! D - thanks for correcting things. Can't wait to dinner dine with you at the Chien... I'm ready right now!!

  3. Ever time I read one of your blog posts (which I actually do, I think to myself how terribly famous for (blogging, cooking or photographing) or all three you are going to be! I love your writing and I can't wait to catch up and eat together. xoxo monique