[Critique] Supernat: a charming oasis in Hochelaga
Autumn inspires long walks and improvised stops… or not. On this Wednesday in October, our steps led us to Supernat, in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district. A place with favorable echoes that tickles our curiosity.
The rumor went around: a beautiful oasis of coolness had been blooming on rue Sainte-Catherine since May. Two friends, Paul Tran and Olivier Trudeau, one a pulmonologist, the other real estate broker, had realized their project for a wine bar with Japanese flavors, after many incursions and apprenticeships in the restaurant industry on the Western coast. Standing in front of the generously fenestrated wooden storefront—a superb welcoming committee—we have no choice but to enter, as if caught up.
As soon as you get inside, you leave the hubbub of the street for a calm and vibrant bubble at the same time. Not surprising to see several customers sitting in front of their laptops. There is worse for telework, let’s say! The hosts present the day of our visit were great. Smiling, pleasant, they are for a lot in our enthusiasm for this place. It is often repeated: the quality of the service is as essential as that of the food. Especially in those restaurants that don’t offer table service; to be considered and taken care of as a customer is very happy. Congratulations to Supernat for having unearthed these pearls.
A word on space before moving on to the menu. Thought out by Menard Dworkind, a firm that has designed several facilities, including those of Tiramisu, Vinvinvin and Falafel Yoni, it houses, at the entrance, a counter-bar, where a dozen lines of wines in barrels sit. The uncluttered back section, higher up, is lined with tables and seats in shades of orange, green and wood. It is large and welcoming. The barely retouched walls that honor the alteration over time and the choice of warm furniture testify to this desire for simplicity and accessibility, winning choices.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter: what do we eat in this wabi-sabi wine bar? Japanese bites starring sandos, sandwiches on milk bread. The cousin, one might say, of the Quebec « no crust sandwich » or the framezino Italian. Usually, the menu offers six, from the classic egg version to the pork bánh mì version. However, for lunch time, the options are very limited, to our great disappointment. The explanation is due to the lack of staff on site. We therefore prefer to offer less, but better. That is. Can’t criticize that. That said, an addition of vegetables, such as cucumber and mint salad, for example, would be welcome for the lunch offer.
Fortunately, the Tamago sandos available are delicious, read memorable. Between two lightly buttered and toasted breads, a mixture of hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, green onions and honey traps a soft-boiled egg marinated in soy sauce. The runny yolk, the umami of the egg mixture, the crispy bread, a great success. We also recommend one out of greed.
To complete the meal, we take two Vietnamese patties, one with pork and one vegetarian. The first wins the prize in terms of flavor, but in both cases the perfectly hot and flaky dough fills us up. It’s simple, it’s good, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Especially since the chosen wine — Naranja, a Spanish orange in cask — goes perfectly with the meal and the sun that unfolds outside. What a great idea to offer such a selection of wines and ciders! We are delighted to have found a place that understands the pleasure we have in front of a wide choice of good juices by the glass, at prices ranging from $7 to $10. In addition, there is a cocktail menu and bottles of wine, mainly natural, which change according to arrivals.
In the finish, sweets and hot drinks cannot be desired for long. Like the rest, the miso biscuit and the coffees are very well executed. Mention of beans specifically chosen by Zab Café. We leave the place not without remembering that the menu is more substantial on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening and that it will be good to have an aperitif there in any season.
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