Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
Nothing heralds the arrival of summer and the end of COVID-19 like a mask-less, rooftop gathering of influencers and members of the media.
Such would be how I spent my Tuesday evening at the just-opened Terrasse Carla atop the new Hampton Inn hotel in Chinatown. Organized by Rose PR, the best in the business, the official media launch would mark a return to pre-pandemic days for our sorts.
Situated on the 6th floor of the Saint-Laurent-meets-Viger hotel, Carla's patio allows a sweeping view of Old Montreal's skyline. The sprawling space consists of a wrap-around outdoor section surrounding a covered bar/lounge area, which provided shelter on this windy day. The interior is highlighted by archways, a two-tone color palette, patio-style furniture and tropical plants.
The latest venture from the Lucky Belly Group – of Le Red Tiger, Le Blossom and Thip Thip, among others – Carla falls under the group's umbrella of pan-Asian restaurants. The menu is the brainchild of prime minister Trudeau's personal chef Chanthy Tan, who is also behind Tiramisu on the ground floor of the same hotel.
Whereas the latter features a marriage between Italian and Japanese cuisines, Terrasse Carla combines French with Vietnamese. On offer are bar snacks, salads, bistro classics – think salmon tartare, moules-frites and steak-frites – and a Vietnamese-inspired burger and poutine.
For tonight's affair, we were treated to bite-sized versions of the above in addition to quartered shrimp banh mi slices. Libation options consisted of Quebec's Shape hard seltzer and a couple of custom cocktails.
As always, I will refrain from objectively reviewing a spot which barely opened, let alone judging from its coming-out party. What tonight's affair did do, however, is usher in better times for the Lucky Belly Group, for event-deprived influencers, for Chinatown and for Montreal at large.
After all, the more rooftop terraces we have, the better.
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.