A new “Indian tapas” restaurant in Quebec

A curious animal is about to be born in the Saint-Roch district, in Quebec: Elephant, a cross between a restaurant and a “speakeasy”, which will be deliberately discreet and which will offer a menu of tapas… of Indian origin!
C ‘is somewhere on the street of the Crown that the duo Alexandre Morin (owner of Laurentian Buvette Gourmande ) and Darryl Masih (chef and owner of Indian catering Curry! Curry! ) Will install its new concept of restaurant of 45 seats , by reservation only. “A small, but warm place where we can provide an experience for everyone and which will stand out,” according to Mr. Morin.

The opening is scheduled for early April 2020.

“Indian with a twist”

First, the food. Elephant will offer dishes of Indian influence and a little South Asian style, in the form of tapas and plates to share. Traditional recipes revisited, prepared in an original way, it is said. The menu remains to be finalized and may vary over the months, but we can already promise butter chicken…

“This idea comes from far away. I have the chance to travel a lot and research recipes and new trends. We already do local cuisine at Laurentien. The Asian restaurant market is really saturated in Saint-Roch. Italian pizzerias and restaurants too. The only kitchen we didn’t have was Indian, ”says Morin.

It was by consulting Mr. Masih, a Torontonian who now lives in Quebec City and whose parents are Indians, that this alliance of business and cuisine was forged. “I wanted to know if my directions were right, so he was the right person. He had so much fun with the project that he agreed to go with me. We each have our background , we are really complementary. ”

“It is an interesting cuisine for its taste, but also because it is extremely popular around the world. Except in the region in Quebec where it is more stereotypical. So it will be Indian with a twist, specific to us, with influences from other countries ”
– Alexandre Morin, co-owner

The plans, drawn by the firm BMD Architectes de Québec, will notably offer an open area with a large counter that will include a bar and kitchen area. “We are working on a concept of chef at home, but in a restaurant. First, people will come to settle down and enjoy the local and the atmosphere. But afterwards, we will pretend that we are at home and we will present our food to them. ”

“Forbidden to talk about the place”

Mr. Morin is stingy with details on his newborn (which seems to have to be written “elephant”, with the dot and the lower case). We hold on to secrecy to preserve “the newness of the customer experience”. So, no details on the address, apart from that it will be on rue de la Couronne.

“We will define ourselves as a speakeasy [small place inspired by taverns prohibited during prohibition in the United States], a style of restaurant that we see more and more. It’s known all over the world, but in Quebec, it’s fairly recent. No specific address will be given, as there will be special rules for entry. Even if we manage to find the room, there is going to be a kind of concept, of mechanism that will have to be reached to enter. The experience will really start from the beginning. Then, we will not be entitled to photos, except in one specific place. It will also be forbidden to talk about the place. We want to preserve the experience for all customers, ”says Morin.

Even the outdoor display will be simple: a small discreet logo on the front. However, we assure that it will be possible to consult the menu online in advance.

Love for the crown

If he chose to set up his new business on the same street as his refreshment room, it is because Mr. Morin has the ambition to give a little love to rue de la Couronne.

“This street is sometimes difficult because there are a lot of closed shops, apart from the hotels. Everything closes and turns into Airbnb. The street is really not warm or interesting. So we wanted to create traffic and even have a healthy competition [between Laurentien and Elephant]. I didn’t just want to enlarge the Laurentian. I wanted to open something completely different to attract a different type of clientele and energize the street, ”he concludes.

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