I often passed in front of La Boîte Gourmande, just 2 minutes away from Laurier metro, on Laurier street. I knew it was an urban cafeteria, but I recently found out that they had a brunch menu similar to the Sparrow’s. They have an entrée, a main meal, a dessert, a cold and a hot drink for a fixed price. They had 3 different options available on the Sunday I went: a croque-monsieur on a croissant (ham & cheese grilled sandwich), an omelette or a French toast.
I mentioned that it’s a cafeteria and it works just like one. To start with, you get a tray with some utensils and a glass of water at the end of the counter. Then, you order your meal to the cooks behind the counter. In the end, you pay at the cash register and sit down either inside or outside. Thus, don’t forget to tip when you’re paying.
They have an adorable terrace on the corner of Rivard street, which is surrounded by greens with a small tree near its entrance. I just find it disappointing that you have to pass through the main door to access it. I was glad that our main meals were brought to us outside. It was already a hassle of bringing my plate full of goodies to the table.
Lesley had a pressed egg sandwich, which can come with one or two eggs. She only had one on a bagel as her choice of bread. It also contained tomatoes, lettuce, goat cheese and bacon as the meat option. It came with some fruits on the side. I was surprised when she later told me it only cost her 4.75 dollars. I had a similar meal at Tiffanys that roughly cost 8 dollars!!! Hers looked way more delicious than the one I had.
I hesitated between the omelette and the French toast but finally opted for the former as I wasn’t in the mood for something too sweet. I appreciated that I also had a choice for the bread between ciabatta, baguette or bagel. I opted for the baguette, my all-time favourite for its crustiness on the outside and its softness inside! I had probably 2, if not 3, eggs in my huge omelette, which contained roasted peppers, goat cheese and green onions. Thankfully my baguette was cut in half, which allowed me to put my two halves of my omelette on each half of bread. Even so, I had too much omelette. My plate came with a side of fruits and some potatoes. My omelette was extremely good, with the peppers adding some flavour and the goat cheese melting at every single bite. The potatoes were delicious and they would have been better with some ketchup, but I was too lazy to go back inside to get some.
When I mentioned I took one of the fixed brunch menus, I was given the following at the cash register: a berry smoothie juice, a cup of plain yogurt with granola on top, a tiny portion of pecan & plum cake, and a tea (or coffee). I had my yogurt as an entrée, ate my omelette while sipping my tea and drinking the smoothie, keeping the cake for last. The latter was exquisitely divine. I am not a big fan of anything with pecans for their crunchiness, which hurt my sensitive teeth. Though the plum pieces complimented the cake perfectly, which wasn’t extremely sweet and the pecan pieces were small enough to not hurt my teeth. The smoothie was fresh and fruity, but not cold enough to my taste. The yogurt was plain, not sweet at all.
They have a lot of homemade desserts and nice snacks. I returned last Friday and had a strawberry and mango pound cake. The waitress asked if I wanted some fresh cream over it. Astounded, I accepted the offer as I was eating there. It was so heavenly, as if a grandmother baked the cake which she let cool and added her homemade cream.
They have cooked meals during the lunch hour, which is also available for take-out. The menu varies by day, it looks healthy and filling. They have different soups for the day, but you can also buy some frozen soup to prepare for lunches. They have many frozen goodies, including a banana chocolate popsicle! They also have salads, sandwiches, smoothies and juice. So if ever, you’re in the area and want a nice healthy lunch or snack, stop by and you won’t regret it. You can also buy coffee and tea by the gram. The tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis tea house. They also sell tea cups, infusers and thermos.
It’s only 16.95 dollars with taxes for everything I had. Unfortunately, it’s not like the Sparrow who offers free refills, but as they give you a smoothie and the tea is included, I think it’s a good deal. If you’re not a big eater but you’re curious, you can ask for the half portion for only 10 dollars. As you know me well by now, I took the regular size and yes I finished it all. The price range is pretty big as the pressed egg was roughly 5 dollars. I think for 10-20 dollars, you can eat well. It gets an 8.5/10, their food is good and their brunch menu at a fixed price is filled of goods.
I was delighted that we didn’t get kicked out despite finishing our meals. It’s the perfect place if you haven’t seen a friend for a long while and want to have a long chat without being rushed. My only complaint is that since you self-serve yourself for the most part, an easy passageway for the terrace accessible from the inside would have been appreciated. It might not sound like an important detail, but for me it is, especially since I know I can be pretty clumsy. I was nervous that I would mysteriously trip and my tray would go flying, making me cry all the tears of my body.
Brunch is only available on weekends, while you can have lunch or coffee/tea with a homemade snack during the week. I definitely recommend it for family brunch. It is very friendly with many children and their parents.
La Boîte Gourmande
445 Laurier East, Montreal, QC
H2J 1E5 514-270-5222