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La Référence

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The gang wanted to try a Congolese restaurant. I have to admit I was quite skeptical at first, being from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I wasn’t sure if I was going to discover something new. We would never have noticed the place if I didn’t pay attention to the addresses. A small door which opens to stairs that leads to the restaurant, a big room. We entered and weren’t too sure if we could seat ourselves, not sure who was working or who was a client, little awkward moment. There were cards on the table that said the restaurant could be reserved for a reception or even a wedding. (Please no Congolese wedding could fit there, with over 200 people and I’m not joking!!!)

The waitress asked us what we wanted to eat, but how could we know as we didn’t have any menus that she brought us later on. The menu is in Lingala (principal language in D.R. Congo), except for a few things and the main categories in French. It’s not very smart for those who don’t understand Lingala. Do they only expect Congolese to eat here? I understood most of it except for some words that I’d never heard of.  Note: selfishness!

We decided to have a meat, a vegetable and a side dish plate. We ordered ntaba ya soupu which is goat and some sauce, kamundele which is grilled pork on skewers. We ordered fumbwa, sundried leaves chopped in pieces and cooked with peanut butter, and some fufu which is boiled starch of either cassava or maize. Unfortunately, there was no more fufu so we changed it for fried plantain (banana used for cooking). I suggested fufu to eat with the fumbwa, the kwanga (paste with cassava leaves boiled and preserved in leaves) is a good choice but I dislike its bitter taste. The fumbwa was not the same colour as my mother usually makes it, but it tasted just as good. The plantains were surprisingly good. Most Congolese tend to make them too soft by using ripe plantain but I prefer the non-ripe ones that are green. These ones were the right shade of brown, soft and a little crunchy. The kamundele was delicious, probably my favorite specialty. Nicely grilled and marinated, it was mouthwatering. The goat in the sauce wasn’t very appealing and it didn’t taste as good. It was the only plate that wasn’t empty when we were done. There was more fat than actual meat on the goat. I won’t say it was horrible but I wish we hadn’t ordered it.  I was extremely disappointed there was no more fufu, what Congolese runs out of it, especially a restaurant?

Plaintain

Fumbwa  

Ntaba   

Ntaba   

Kamundele 

We weren’t served any water, we had to ask for some while eating our meals and they brought us water bottles that were charged. Personally, I wasn’t surprised at all and wish they had done an effort. Every single restaurant brings you a glass of water, especially when you ask for some. Seriously, are they that cheap to charge us for water?  Though if I had known, I would have taken a soft drink instead.

We had calculated our bill to be around 30 dollars so we were surprised when we saw it was 50. Like I thought we were brought twice some goat, as the waitress understood regular goat and goat with sauce so that’s an extra 12. The water bottles were 2 dollars each so an extra 6. Also the price on the menu for the goat isn’t right, it’s actually 2 dollars more which explains why our bill is 20 dollars more than we expected. We didn’t argue because we ate all the meats. At first, I thought we had kamundele brought on a plate and with skewers after. The goat without the sauce was delicious. I think we were cheated, but I can’t say I’m not surprised.

It gets a grade of 5.5/10 for the not-so amazing service, despite the delicious food. Would I recommend this restaurant? Not really, but I don’t know any other Congolese restaurant. If I find another one, I’ll let you know because Congolese food is delicious and not because I eat it almost every day.

The best Congolese food remains my mother’s cooking, but my father does a good job also! Love you mom and dad!❤

p.s. Ru did such a good job taking pictures of our leftovers, they still look as tempting.

Menu in Lingala  

Card with general info 

Stairs leading to the restaurant 

La Référence

808 Beaubien East, Montreal, QC

H2S 2M2 514-466-4335

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