The "flashy" Apollo Group was making some noise last summer with its new Buvette and Éclusiers ventures. Their BYOW French/fusion bistro Apollo Concept is also participating in this year's Argentinian cuisine edition of Montréal en Lumière, so we figured we would give it a shot.
Save for a large table of 30+ people, the place was rather quiet for a Thursday night, especially it being the 2nd week of Montréal en Lumière. As far as setting goes, it is a big space that does not feel too welcoming, but somehow you are drawn in and you keep looking around, until you notice the kitchen, which is "too" open if you ask us.
The Montreal en Lumière tasting menu consisted of six courses for $65, a decent value we thought. The listed dishes showcased the restaurant's fusion concept by presenting Argentinian elements "à la française".
"Morcilla, provolone, panchuker, empanada de boeuf". While the boudin (morcilla) tasted great with sweetness from the onions and tartness from the sour-cream-apple sauce under, the provolone was merely a slightly melted wedge of cheese, and the empanada was good but unremarkable. The star here was the panchuker; sweet sausage with a fluffy crust topped with a sour cream-mustard sauce.
The soup was good having quinoa, a medley of vegetables (leek, peppers...), and a tasty broth. However, it's nothing you can't make at home. Nothing wrong with it, but we would expect a little more, and certainly when you're paying this much!
"Crème de mais, écume de chorizo". Great dish! The cod was moist with crisp skin, the crème de mais was beautifully sweet and luscious, and the saltiness from the chorizo foam just balanced everything out.
"Purée de patates douces, sauce chimichurri". The filet mignon was cooked perfectly, and sat on top of a delicious puree of sweet potatoes. The red chimichurri rounded everything up to make this dish a hit (although we didn't care much for the broccoli).
The predominant flavour in this cold "soup" was that of clove. Ginger was also apparent and other spices were added to the chayote puree. Since neither of us had chayote before, and this might very well be how it is supposed to taste, the dish gets a miss only because we did not like its taste or texture.
White chocolate mousse in a pool of dulce de leche and a couple of meringue chunks. LOVE the meringues! But the rest of it was so sweet and rich we couldn't have more than a couple spoonfuls. Good flavours, just maybe not after all that food.
tagged: TASTING MENU
Whatever happened to one waiter taking care of you all evening? Tonight we felt there was a lack of continuity, as we were served by three different people. Although they served us very well individually, they did pull a disappearing act on us come bill time.
tagged: WHERE'S THE WAITER?
Our first Apollo group experience was a little spotty. Some dishes were good while others were average or out of place. For now we will give Apollo Concept the benefit of the doubt and assume that the Argentinian theme is possibly outside of their comfort zone, although we applaud them for the effort. We will have to come back and try their regular offering in the future.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $65
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.