Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
The addition of Time Out Market to the Eaton Centre was probably the biggest story in Montreal's dining scene before COVID-19 changed the world. The food hall concept which started in 2014 in Lisbon has proven very popular and successful as it spread its curated "best of the city under one roof" approach across the world.
After a long, forced shutdown, the iconic space finally reopened in July; unveiling a handful of changes to its roster of restaurant kiosks. To further diversify its offering and attract a larger swath of the dining public, the Market has just added beloved brunch spot Le Passé Composé to its ranks. Today I attended a media event to usher in this newcomer and check out what it has to offer.
Time Out's emplacement on the second floor of the building which last housed Les Ailes de la Mode affords it a unique setting. The atrium leading to the large skylight above lets in enough daylight to brighten up the sprawling indoor space. Surrounding this atrium are multiple seating areas in various configurations, with a dozen restaurant stalls lining up the hall's edges.
The use of oak-tinted wooden tables, black painted ceilings and stone-colored counters and columns combines for a sleek, modern industrial look. But it's not all serious; recently-introduced retro arcade games add a touch of color and fun – something both adult and child can appreciate.
Having never been to Le Passé Composé's flagship restaurant in the Village, today's brunch would be a discovery for me. On offer are beefed-up breakfast staples such as a poached egg with foie gras, a BLT with deep-fried cheddar and French toast cut into bite-size wedges. The twists are both gourmand and sophisticated, as made evident by the use of goose eggs, Gaspor pork, chorizo, panko and sprouts.
Not everything works in my opinion; I found the crispy, fried avocado patties in the bagel over the top and made it impossible to eat. Nevertheless, there are tinges of refinement and decadence which are hard to resist. For drinks, the Market boasts a mimosa station which also serves a virgin Mai Tai.
"brioche bread, seared foie gras, proscuitto chips, onion-beer compote, poached goose egg, creamy foie gras sauce, arugula sprouts, poppy seeds"
"st-viateur bagel, smoked salmon, panko-fried avocado, basil cream cheese, red onion, fried stuffed jalapeno, greek yogurt, coriander sprouts, lime"
"panko-fried french toast sticks, lime yogurt, berries, maple syrup, icing sugar"
With the unveiling of Le Passé Composé, Time Out Market has added another Montreal hotspot to its tenants. Its all-day breakfast proposition is sure to draw attention; not to mention it will be easier to score a table here than at the original Passé, which is booked solid on weekends.
Time Out is clearly on the rebound after the pandemic; I was pleasantly surprised to see the throngs of people who showed up after our closed event. They now have one more reason to be here.
Price per person: $24.50
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.