Where the team behind Montreal’s iconic Joe Beef build a new restaurant, inquisitive diners will come. Now, Dave McMillan, Fred Morin, Alison Cunningham, chef Marc-Olivier Frappier, and sommelier Vanya Filipovic reveal a new endeavour: Vin Mon Lapin. The wine bar opened with little more advertisement than an Instagram post, and is already off to the races.
Like the five-year-old Vin Papillon before it, Vin Mon Lapin promises an unpretentious, cottage-inspired dining space, decadent-meets-earthy dishes, a comprehensive natural wine list by Filipovic, and of course, a queue at the door. Unlike Vin Papillon and the rest of Joe Beef’s family, you won’t find Mon Lapin in Little Burgundy. Instead, for the first time, the team has moved into a space on St-Zotique and Casgrain right in the middle of Montreal’s Little Italy neighbourhood.
Vin Mon Lapin promises an unpretentious dining space, decadent-meets-earthy dishes, a comprehensive natural wine list, and of course, a permanent queue at the door.
According to McMillan, the new neighbourhood represents the next generation of stakeholders and clients in the Joe Beef family. “Vin Mon Lapin is going to be its own entity. I don’t decide what any of my restaurants will be,” he says. “The people of that neighbourhood tell me what it will become. My job is to listen. If everyone asks for steak, everyday, I’m going to give them steak. Just like Little Burgundy dictated what Joe Beef should become. We’re very attentive to what people have to say.”
McMillan is proud to be able to say that all four Joe Beef restaurants exclusively serve natural, biodynamic wines. “We spend so much effort sourcing food; we’re always trying to support local farmers and maintain good relationships. I feel like the wine list should reflect the work we do in the kitchen,” he explains. “A lot of our natural wines come from small farms, people who have become friends over the years. So, when we’re offering plates of farm fresh foods, I believe that the accompanying beverage should be of the same nobility. Natural wine is more interesting, more alive, and simply taste better. They’re just more of a thinking person’s wine.”
Once seated with wine glass in hand, it’s all about the pastoral-inspired plates by chef Frappier and chef Jessica Noël. While the menu changes on a daily basis, expect creative uses of seasonal vegetables (such as celery root grilled cheese) and comforting seafood and animal protein plates like fried oysters, tripe, and, true to name, lapin.
Vin Mon Lapin, 150 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal, QC H2S 1K9.
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