Montreal’s Monkland Village neighbourhood in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce became a touch sleeker with the recent addition of Hopkins restaurant. A collaboration between chef Liam Hopkins, former head chef at Antonio Park’s renowned Westmount restaurant Park, and creative director Nicolina Servello, Hopkins offers sophisticated, fine dining takes on traditional French bistro cuisine in an elegant atmosphere.
The experience of dining at Hopkins begins with the staff, a carefully selected, attentive group who take care to introduce each dish knowledgeably upon serving—a priority for Servello. “I want to have an experience when I go out,” she says of hospitality’s importance. “I want to sit down and be sort of brought into another culinary world where they’re explaining the ingredients.”
“The food, the design, the service, it works in sync.” says Servello. “This is a well-oiled machine.”
Servello drew her inspiration for Hopkins’ sleek design from the foyers of elegant European hotels. Every component of the restaurant’s interior is meticulously arranged: grey enamel tables with gold bases, mirrors lining the ceilings and the wall behind the bar, and copper light fixtures with round yellow bulbs casting a flattering glow. The dining room’s comfortably minimalist look, notes Servello, intends to keep the diner’s attention on chef Hopkins’ creations. “At the end of the day, it really was all about a space that was clean aesthetically for the food to shine,” she says. “I’ve said it from day one, [Hopkins] is a Michelin star chef.”
The menu here is confidently meat-forward. Although vegetarians may opt for delicious, meaty seared mushrooms, and a tasty “garden” of creatively prepared vegetables is on offer, chef Hopkins’ touch with animal proteins is artful—duck ravioli, for instance, is a symphony of tender confit thigh, jus, duck pancetta, and a wisp of crisp skin uniting in each perfect bite. A bone marrow flan sees the rich marrow whipped and caramelized to a crème brûlée-like crackle, and the seared red snapper comes well complemented by its sunny corn purée and tumble of pea tendrils. Lunch and brunch are also on offer, wherein one may enjoy a whimsical “McTartare” burger (Hopkins gives beef tartare the fast food treatment) or a hearty dish of duck and rabbit cassoulet. No element of the dining experience has been overlooked. “The food, the design, the service, it works in sync.” says Servello. “This is a well-oiled machine.”
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