I am a simple girl and not used to have my food served on a golden plate. To be honest, going to fancy restaurants or five-star hotels for dinner not only raises excitement inside of me but also nervous hesitation: Do I belong here? Is it the right fork to use now? I am feeling very much like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” when her escargot went flying across the restaurant: “Slippery little suckers!”
Curiosity usually beats my fears. Because, let’s admit it, sometimes you feel like having greasy fried potatoes in a small corner restaurant, and sometimes you feel like having something you can hardly pronounce in a candle lit dining room of a luxury hotel. What if I told you that you can have fine dining experience in a relaxed cozy atmosphere of a small local restaurant?
L’Affaire est Ketchup is best described as “fancy food in casual setting”. I can wear my checkered sweater, jeans and Timberlands – nobody will judge me – the owners themselves are wearing funky T-shirts and jeans.
Once it was decided that we are travelling to Canada in January, the first thing I did was find an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts unknown” about Quebec and watch it. That’s how I came across this restaurant. I believe Anthony Bourdain knows a thing or two about good food, so if he recommends this place I surely want to try it. I called several days in advance, booked a table and was anxiously anticipating what would turn out to be one of the best dining experiences of the trip.
This place is small with only 8 tables and open kitchen. It’s not one of those “open kitchen” concepts when you can peek inside through the window. It’s just that the place is really tiny and kitchen is located right behind the bar. The whole kitchen is pretty much one electric stove. This electric stove is mentioned in every single review but it is truly amazing how such masterpieces can be prepared with the most casual equipment.
The menu is in French and our kind server translates it for us. Though, even translating doesn’t help in certain cases:
– Guinea fowl meat served with mushroom gnocchi…
– What meat?
– Guinea fowl.
– Guinea what?
– Guinea fowl!
I feel stupid to ask for the third time so I pretend that I got it. The kind server brings a phone and shows the picture of the bird – now you are talking! This bird’s meat was popular among Russian tsars but I’ve never had a chance to try it. So, yes, please!
We also take Longe de Porcelet, that is Fried Piglet Loin, and Foie Gras as a starter. Foie Gras is served with plum sauce and bread on side. I’ve never had it before so I am trying to understand what all the fuss is about. It tastes extremely rich and creamy.
On the one hand, I am enjoying it very much, on the other hand, I can’t get the following little poem out of my mind:
Eat your pineapples
Chew your grouse
Your last day is coming
You bourgeois louse.
Having foie gras, in my mind, is as bourgeois as it gets. Proletarian poet Vladimir Mayakovskiy, whose poems were very helpful in Soviet propaganda, wrote these lines.
Foie gras is something that celebrities have for breakfast or maybe Queen of England. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I will try it one day. But this might as well be the last time after I have done some research on how it is produced.
Our mains arrive in a while, and boy, do they look gorgeous! The aforementioned guinea fowl is stuffed with trout and goat cheese and served with gnocchi and vegetables. Just think of it: a bird that is stuffed with fish! Doesn’t that sound like a wild idea? I have no clue how it works, but it does – it tastes heavenly. Though, if I wasn’t told there’s trout inside, I would have never guessed.
Piglet loin is pan fried and served with mashed potatoes and creamy mustard sauce. Meat is incredibly soft, perfectly seasoned and it is fat in the best possible meaning. This is one of the dishes that you look at and think: this is too much; I will have to box half of it and take it home. In 20 minutes you look at your empty plate and think: how the hell did this happen?
I had no room left for dessert, but this dinner was one of the best dining experience I have had and definitely a highlight of the trip. Thank you team L’Affaire est Ketchup for such wonderful meal and thank you Anthony Bourdain for bringing me here.
Address: 46 Rue Saint-Joseph E, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 3A6, Canada
Hours: Tue – Sun: 6 PM – 11 PM
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AUTHOR: YULIA DYUKOVA
Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.