I’m loving the food scene in Old Montreal right now, with all kinds of fantastic eateries like 400 Coups, Le Bremner, Garde Manger, Kitchen Galerie Poisson…. The list can go on and on! But one type of restaurant that had been sorely lacking in the Vieux was a fun, intimate and hip spot to grab a hearty, tasty and affordable meal. Then Le Gros Jambon opened its doors, as if my wish was actually a command.
This tiny (I’m talking teeny-tiny, maybe 20 seats, all of them at two bars) diner-style restaurant is the latest offering from the team from another Old Montreal favourite, L’Orignal. Located on Notre-Dame West near St. Pierre St., just around the corner from L’Orignal, Gros Jambon was initially conceived to cater to the crowd who arrived at L’Orignal especially for their late-night menu that only starts as of 11 p.m., but who wanted to eat this fancy bar food all day long (Zurbaines editor Carrie MacPherson and I fit squarely into that mold. We travel across the city for L’Orignal late-night poutine!)
Open from breakfast to late dinner, Le Gros Jambon takes classic diner cuisine and pushes it up a notch or ten, along with your cholesterol levels – this is not the place to visit when you’re looking for a nice salad with a side of dressing. The poutine is a mainstay, but other mouthwatering options include their Nathan’s hotdogs wrapped in bacon and topped with avocado, juicy hamburgers served with fresh cut fries or their popular BLDT, which adds duck to the classic BLT. And then there’s their daily specials. Crispy pork cheek, doughnut sandwich and a smoked meat pizza with deep fried pickles anyone?
While the weekday menu is fabulous, my personal favourite is weekend brunch. Try and grab a seat at the counter in front of the chefs to watch them prepare Eggs Benedict on biscuits, chicken waffles, the breakfast lobster roll or the Elvis, a friend banana/peanut butter extravaganza that made my heart stop just watching someone else eat it. But just take your time, eat it slow, and revel in the pleasure of eating a weekend meal like this!
286 Notre Dame St. W. (near St. Pierre St.)
Open: Mon. to Fri. 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sun. brunch 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.