One country's misfortune turns to another's blessing. With the waves of immigrants and refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and resettling in Canada comes an increase in both the supply and demand for the nation's savoir-faire and customs.
In a matter of a few years, our city went from having a handful of Syrian restaurants to a flourishing scene including a spanking-new catering service in Les Filles Fattoush. One relative newcomer to this space is 2015's Lylac. The ample parking space offered by its Ville Saint-Laurent strip-mall setting sure came in handy on this wet Wednesday night.
tagged: TAKE THE CAR
A friend of mine suggested Lylac for iftar – breaking the fast – on the next-to-last night of Ramadan. A trio of Syrians, we felt right in our element upon walking in; a male-only staff and a male-heavy crowd of our compatriots stood out.
The sparsely-occupied main dining room left much to be desired; a minimalist décor and fast-food-style counter makes you think you've entered an Amir or Basha. Luckily, the closed-off terrace fared much better; more colors, more people and better ventilation to help with the shisha – hookah – fumes.
Lylac's long, multi-page menu is roughly divided into mezzes (small shareable starters), oven-baked goods – including pizza? – and finally grilled meats. After a fifteen-hour fast, when faced with this much choice, the brain tends to shuts down. We therefore thought it would be easier to opt for one of the tasting menus suggested by our waiter.
At $25 per person, we got our money's worth. However, the food was somewhat spotty, with both ups and downs. Winners included crispy cheese rolls, a beautiful board of raw kibbeh and a memorable kefta patty stuffed with cheese and mushrooms. Less successful were an oily fattoush salad, an overly-smooth hummus and dry kabab skewers.
The lively, boisterous evening may have gotten the best of the young, black-tee-sporting waiters on duty. As numerous as they were, they were not completely on top of things tonight.
For starters, it took a few minutes of discussion and confusion between two staff members before we were shown to our table. Next, while most of the food did arrive fairly quickly, a couple dishes required several reminders; as our trio of waiters displayed a lack of communication at times.
tagged: OVERWHELMED STAFF
Lylac's name is inspired by the lilac flower, but spelled in a way that evokes the Arabic word for "your night"; an appropriate title since this restaurant doubles up as a lounge where patrons can drop in for a coffee, drink, nibble, meal, shisha, game of cards or all of the above! In other words, one can easily spend his or her entire night here.
As far as our verdict goes, we certainly enjoyed the joint as a hangout spot, but the food in of itself is average. Maybe they don't put their best foot forward in their wallet-friendly group menus, or perhaps our fasting clouded our judgment; either way, our first visit here did not make us clamor for more.
tagged: PLAN B.
Price per person: $24.64
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.