CBC Homestretch Brunch Club: Parc Café and Brasserie

A few years ago I got to cross off a few items on my “life bucket list“:

1. Live in Paris for a month.

2. Complete a marathon overseas (Paris Marathon 2012).

3. Take advanced pastry and bread making classes in Paris.

After saving up for over a year, I packed my bags and flew to the City of Lights to live in quaint apartment by the Canal Saint Martin, a vibrant area home to creatives for all walks of life. While I was there, I shopped at their open air markets on a daily basis and ate and drank like a Parisian.

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The French have a phrase “joie de vivre“, which translates to the joy of eating, conversation or anything that expresses the enjoyment of life. For one month I got to experience this to the fullest, and when I returned home, that trip taught me to find the same kind of joy in my everyday life. A memory I will never forget.

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Fast forward to the present day and my excitement when I heard that there would be a new French bistro opening up in the heart of 17th ave area.

Parc occupies the former space of Borgo in the newly revitalized Mount Royal Village. The interior is chic and modern and brings in a lot of natural light from the large windows in the front facade. The 120-seat restaurant is set up with mix of low and high tables in the front area for more casual seating, while the back area is great for private functions where diners can watch the chefs working away in the open kitchen.

The centre of the restaurant features a long open bar covered in white tiles to contrast the black ceilings and trim. The black and white checker floor, high ceilings and large mirrors really add to the authentic French bistro style atmosphere.

Since it’s opening earlier this year, I have enjoyed dinner there on three different occasions, so I was eager to return on a Saturday morning when I learned that they had launched their new brunch menu.

We arrived at 11am, and had no problem getting a prime seat on their 20 seat patio. Although it faces a busy pedestrian sidewalk, we still felt we had some privacy with their lush planters which decorate the perimeter of the space.

Our server started us off with a couple of drinks to start, I went with the “Bubbles Sans Troubles“, a cocktail composed of locally made Eau Claire Equinox vodka, Lillet (a French elderflower liquor), basil syrup and bubbly. The husband had a bottle of Analogue 78 Kolsch, a German style beer produced in the BC area.

IMG_6736Parc makes all their pastries and breads in-house, today’s feature was a choice between their light rye (slightly malty, chewy and thick crisp crust) and sourdough (fluffy, airy and slightly tangy). It is served alongside salt from the Brittany region, a pat of soft butter and olive oil from the Nice area in France.

The feature brioche was studded with juicy blueberries and fragrant lemon zest with a light sugar crust on top.IMG_6703A golden interior that is fluffy and light with a rich buttery flavour.After two back-to-back spin classes that morning (jumping back in after a 2 week hiatus), I was ready for a more decadent meal, so I went with the server recommended quiche. The filling is silky and literally melts in your mouth. It’s flecked with chunks of double smoked bacon and there is a delicious creamy richness from the gruyere cheese.

IMG_6733The husband ordered the Parmentier, which was Parc’s take on a shepard’s pie. It served in a rectangular cast iron dish and filled with ground wild boar, asparagus and wild mushrooms and topped with pomme puree and a caramelized generous layer of cheese of top.

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Although we were stuffed, being the dessert person I am, I could not turn down their signature baked-to-order madeleines (a light and airy shell shaped sponge cake). They arrived at our table warm from the oven. They were light and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, reminiscent of a mini donut, minus the greasiness. The cakes had just the right amount of sweetness from the confectioner’s sugar and a light lemon aroma. Pure delight.

IMG_6735Next time, I’ll be sure to try their signature gin & tonic cocktail (fun fact: they make their tonic in-house) and their profiteroles which are filled with a creme fraiche ice cream and topped with an espresso chocolate sauce.

Parc Café and Brasserie | 818 16th Ave SW (in Mount Royal Village)

They are open from 10:30am-2:30pm for brunch on Sat and Sun

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