One of Montreal's most charming, below-the-radar stretches runs along Avenue Bernard west of Avenue du Parc. Not as posh or well-known as Outremont's other nightlife strip running along Avenue Laurier, Bernard does hold its own when it comes to restaurants.
Two famous empires were founded here – Les Enfants Terribles and Pizzeria no 900 – but the avenue is also home to popular, smaller-scale operations such as Nouveau Palais, Brasserie Bernard and – more recently – Thammada. Tonight, a friend of mine and I found ourselves on the latter's patio, sans reservation, after finding out our initial target destination down the street closed on Tuesdays.
Open since 2019, Thammada is situated on a side alley ending in a cul-de-sac and a fountain surrounded by residential buildings, a beautiful scene reminiscent of European cities. Even the evening's bursts of torrential rain could not kill the vibe at this happening spot, be it inside or outside.
On one hand, the interior was full of life as a middle-aged crowd drank and ate against a 2000s hip-hop playlist. On the other, the courtyard patio seated a younger, more quiet crowd luckily protected from the flashes of rain thanks to solid awnings.
tagged: GROOVY TUNES
With its Thai menu, Thammada can be credited with expanding Avenue Bernard's European-centric restaurant palette. Unlike its cohorts, the menu here is short but covers all the bases.
Exotic cocktails, wines, beers and teas are followed by tapas-style appetizers, a couple of soups, a handful of noodle and rice dishes, ending with two desserts. Prices can be considered steep with several starters nearing the $20 mark, soups – portioned for two – exceeding that and a good number of mains hovering around $30.
A reinvented rendition of this classic aperitif blending sugar with bitters. The twist here is replacing whisky with spiced rum; nice!
I loved how this sour tomato soup with shrimps and mushrooms came in a hot pot. Plus, it tasted great but was a tad watery.
A sort-of letdown tonight came from overcooked noodles and an overpowering sweetness from the tamarind which masked the remaining flavors of this quintessential Thai dish.
We're back in the green – no pun intended – with this rich, creamy and spicy green curry carrying bites of chicken, eggplant and bamboo shoots, then topped with Thai basil leaves.
My first time trying Thai roti, a pan-fried flatbread of sorts. I found it too crispy, brittle and flaky in texture; not exactly my cup of tea.
I do not have much to say about our young waitress tonight. I'll just give her props for proactively helping us stabilize our wobbly patio table and push it in deeper under the awnings when the rainfall got heavier at one point. Friendly, responsive and efficient; ‘nuff said.
Although I enjoyed most of what I saw at Thammada tonight, I can't say it was enough to fully make up my mind about it. I would need to try some of its starters on a future visit, which is where lie its street-food specialties.
As much as I was impressed by the turnout and ambiance on this rainy Tuesday, that was not enough to fill my cup all the way to the top.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $37
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.