Last Saturday it looked like the weather would be warmer than a typical spring day, but enough wind kept things cool. After the sun set, it was yet again another late-winter chilly night, so we decided to warm ourselves with a couple of drinks and some English grub at Burgundy Lion. They don't take reservations on the weekends so be prepared to wait for a table, especially on busy nights. We're sure you won't mind a 10-15 minute wait while enjoying a drink at the lively bar.
As you walk in you're greeted with plenty of dark wood that gives you that warm pub vibe, and the sparky Anlgo yuppie crowd invites you towards the large bar to the right. There is plenty of sitting space downstairs and upstairs, but it gets filled pretty quickly. The bar unmistakably makes you feel you're in a pub with its position, wood finish, plenty of beers on tap, and the long whiskey list.
The menu is your typical English pub grub: pea soup, kippers, bangers, fish n' chips, stews… it is not short on options and you can tell you will have a hearty meal just by reading it! We were excited to try their kippers and slaw, but were disappointed to learn they didn't have any. I'm hoping it's because they're so good they ran out of them.
This dish was a total miss. It was simply sliced & (what felt like) boiled zucchini with caramelized onions swimming in oil under a cheddar blanket. It was under-seasoned and bland.
The oysters tasted like the smoked canned variety, with a batter so thick (although nicely crunchy) it disguised the oyster taste. One of us made the remark “it could have been anything under that batter”. The saving grace for this dish was the slightly spicy tomato dipping sauce with a sweet vinegary taste that came on the side.
The highlight of the evening food-wise consisted of deep-fried rabbit shoulders served with a gravy-mustard dipping sauce along with a side of mac n' cheese. The dipping sauce added a good combination of moisture and flavour to the otherwise dry batter, while the mac n' cheese was tasty and well executed.
Two large slices of roast beef, some roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding, with prepared horseradish and gravy alongside. The beef was cooked nicely and had good flavour, albeit a little colder than what I expected. The veggies were all undercooked and the mash and gravy were unremarkable. The badly cooked pop-over (I'm not calling it a Yorkshire pudding because it isn't) was cold, dense and not fully cooked; total disappointment from an English joint.
The bartenders were friendly as usual, and they do their best to tend to you with a smile even at their busiest times. When we were seated, the waitress was a little indifferent and just wanted to get our order. Maybe it's because it was busy and loud, but I still like a little more attention and interaction. We didn't need anything else after that so I can't comment on how attentive the service was during the meal. I did get annoyed though when, after one of us finished eating, a busboy lifted his plate while the other was still working on his.
The Burgundy Lion is a definite go-to spot to enjoy a few drinks with friends, but if you're looking for a fine taste of England, you can pass on it. We haven't had much English food before, but we know it can be better than what we had that night. We're giving Burgundy Lion a “retry” only because we had better food and service on a previous visit, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $29
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.