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Genevieve PM Roy
snowvillagecanadaAmarula ice restaurant in Centropolis Laval
Winter and gastronomic lovers are in for a treat this year as the promoters of Snow village and the Auberge Saint-Gabriel have partnered up to present the opening of the Amarula Ice Restaurant . North Shore residents can easily access and enjoy this unique dining experience, the second if its kind in Montreal, conveniently located on Avenue Pierre Peladeau in the heart of Laval’s Centropolis.
Auberge Saint-Gabriel has “loaned” its resident chef, Eric Gonzalez, for the two months that the ice restaurant will be in operation from the 4th of January to the end of March. The restaurant offers an original weekday lunch menu and a gourmet three - course dinner. A fan favorite is their weekday “brunch on ice” that is very popular with families and couples eager to try the slightly chilly, but unique dining experience.
I went to discover their three course dinner last week. Upon entry, my guest and I were given a warm welcome by the hostess Mrs Jennifer Falardeau. She led us to the back of the restaurant where the Amarula ice bar was snugly situated in a niche of the round shaped restaurant. Surrounded by decorative Amarula liquor bottles, we were presented with a vast selection of red and white wines, including a delightfully fruity and well balanced 2010 Spanish Solaz, that really brought out woody nuances of dark berries and various spices. I liked the fact that all of the wines served at the bar were sponsored by LCC and are to be easily found and purchased at the local SAQ liquor store.
The Founder/Co-Owner of Snow Village, Mr Yanick Tremblay, came out to greet me and gave me a personal tour of the restaurant and welcomed me to visit the back kitchens after my meal. He reassured me that the structure of the snow dome was extremely solid and that the walls were 10 feet thick! It took 6 days of continuous work to mold and build the dome. Left on its own to slowly melt, the structure could easily still be functional up until mid July. Yanick told me that daily inspections are made to study structure movements and also to ensure that all safety standards are met. I also learned that it is actually slightly cooler inside the restaurant than outside and that only LED lights can be used in the decor to prevent any leakages from a heat source.
The decor of the restaurant is quite light and sober, artificial white fur lines the numerous seats and wooden boards are mounted atop ice sculpted tables. Urban music softly plays in the background while diners happily eat their meals while admiring the sculpted elephants and Amarula fruits carved into the dome’s walls. On site, the cast of very serviceable and attentive waiters are more than happy to bring you as many soft, heated faux - fur blankets to keep your shoulders or knees warm, or even to prepare and bring you heated hot paws (available at a minimal cost). I do however suggest that anyone thinking of visiting the restaurant should plan ahead for warmer weather and still consider wearing warm shoes, gloves and winter pants, just to be on the safe side.
The highlight of the evening was the delicious three course meal on offer. At the fixed price of $69 per person, dinner customers will also receive a complimentary entry ticket to the Snow Village based in Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau.
On regular days, customers can choose from two options for each category set. (Due to the proximity of Valentines’ day, a special adapted menu was available and I got to try a fantastic winter crab mousse with avocado puree topped with a bright orange grapefruit emulsion as a starter.)
Leeks and potatoes soup, jellied lard ** Instead, I received a consistent and very smooth beetroot soup with goat cream and pecans. A nice, warm entree to start off the meal.
Salmon gravlax with pomegranate & clementine: Beautiful presentation! The fish is cooked in salt for 3-4 days and the saltiness is parried by the clementines which are acidic, but also very sweet.
Main Dish ———–
Auberge-inspired duck leg confit, cassoulet-style: A treat for meat lovers! Served piping hot in porcelain dishes, you get a very tender duck leg accompanied by pork flank and sausages on top of white French beans. A very hearty and traditional meal.
Mushroom, arugula & parmesan risotto (Vegetarian dish): I personally loved the creamy texture and ample portion of Parmesan cheese in this dish. King Ring and other wild mushrooms are also served along with the risotto, piping hot in its ceramic pot.
Black chocolate cake, Marinated pears in ginger & salted butter caramel: ** We each received a solid chocolate heart bowl filled with truffles and raspberries topped with a nice finishing touch of gold flakes.
For those wishing to bring their young children with them, A Kid’s Menu consisting of Mac & cheese & Chocolate cookies is also on offer for 16 $.
Due to the delicious food, unique decor, ambiance and great service, I’m glad to say that the entire experience of eating in a non conventional restaurant, was overall very enjoyable. I’m glad that the Amarula Ice restaurant was a perfect choice for my first ice dining experience.
The Amarula Ice Restaurant in Laval will be open seven days a week until the end of March serving original weekday lunches, 3-course gourmet dinners and offering a most unforgettable dining experience north of the St. Lawrence.
For more information please visit: http://www.snowvillagecanada.com/ice-restaurant/laval/