Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bloggers' Meeting at The Sparrow

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of joining other Montreal food bloggers for brunch. This was the third time we were meeting, and although not everyone was able to attend every time, we’ve gotten to know each other bit by bit.

This time, we met up at The Sparrow, a restaurant on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. The last time I was in this place, it was a bar/lounge called the Mile End – quite a long time ago, really. Now, it’s a British-inspired pub.

We gathered for brunch at around 2 p.m. It was lucky we had made a reservation, because the place was full. However, it didn’t have that unpleasant feeling of being packed: we had plenty of personal space, and we could talk quite comfortably. The decor was cozy, with an added touch of class brought by the dark wood panels and furniture.

The brunch menu was short, but diversified, albeit always on the hefty side. Service was very friendly: our waitress promptly brought us coffee or tea as members of our group trickled in, and also explained the menu in detail. Our food came within a reasonable delay, and all of it together, which was quite impressive given that there were about 12 of us. Actually, they did forget Laurent’s main order (eggs florentine), but to their credit they brought it out very soon after we pointed the oversight out to them: Laurent barely had any catching up to do.

Of course, it helped that no one was allowed to eat until everyone had taken pictures of everyone else’s food. It’s always hilarious seeing everyone whip out their cameras, and passing plates around. Sometimes, when I’m at a restaurant with just one other person, I’m a little embarrassed to take pictures of the food (especially when it’s a classy place, where people tend to behave). But, strength being in numbers, there was no reason to be embarrassed here.

There were two “appetizer” dishes: donuts or a crumpet. I had the crumpet, because I hadn’t had one in years, and the last one had been of the stale supermarket variety. This one was satisfyingly thick, with a lovely milky flavour, a beautiful colour, and a moist-yet-chewy texture. I could have eaten it plain with butter, although the strawberry jam was quite tasty and homey, with chunks of fruit. I bullied Laurent into ordering the chocolate-filled donuts (which were more like donut-holes, really), and they were fluffy, not too sweet, and not greasy at all.

I ordered the baked eggs with celeriac mash and oyster mushrooms. The eggs were perfectly cooked (and I'm incredibly picky about eggs), and I simply loved the flavour combination. I will definitely be attempting to reproduce this dish at home.

Others had the English breakfast, by far the heartiest dish on the menu: eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, bubble and squeak (which I wasn’t familiar with, but consists of potatoes and cabbage), and blood pudding. I hadn’t had blood pudding in ages, but I seemed to remember that I hadn’t liked it the last time. Plus, I was under the impression that there was at least some sausage-like meat in there, but my tablemates informed me that it was, in fact, just congealed blood. The person who had ordered it was kind enough to let me have a taste, and it really wasn’t bad at all. I have a borderline iron deficiency, so this is the kind of food I should be eating anyway.

There was also a very nice-looking sausage-and-egg sandwich, which was almost more like a very tempting burger. And then more ubiquitous dishes, like French toast (which I heard very good things about), scrambled eggs, and eggs Benedict.

Honestly, apart from the swiftly corrected oversight concerning Laurent’s order, and the fact that the restaurant only accepts cash (it's very reasonably priced, though), I have nothing bad to say about this place. I just really hope it won’t be a victim of its popularity, like so many restaurants are. It was great seeing the bloggers again, and I was very happy to discover The Sparrow. I will definitely be going back.


  1. I think my sister was there - she writes Cookbook Fixation! :o)

  2. Bullying Laurent into getting the donuts ha ha ha...it was a fabulous brunch indeed. Want my french toast pic to add? Email me. Definitely a lovely place to go.

  3. Hello Valérie!!

    The restaurant loks great & the food looks stunning & so inviting too,...

    MMMMMMMM,...Lover the Egg's Benedict!

  4. @Toronto Girl: Yes, your sister was sitting right next to me! Did you come across my blog randomly? If so, it's a neat coincidence! :-)

    Evelyne: My pics of your French toast were too dark to post... Thanks for the offer to share your pics, but it's ok - I'll just wait for your post! :-)

  5. aww, it must've been so nice to meet up with other food bloggers. I laughed out loud when i read the part that you guys passed each others food around to take pictures, hahaha, such a food bloggie thing to do, it's great! and about feeling self-conscious taking pictures at nice restaurants, i totally agree! But i usually whip out my camera nonetheless, since living in a foreign country as an Asian gives me the advantage of looking and acting like a tourist, hehehe.

  6. Haha.. I know what you mean about sometimes being embarrased about taking photos of the food when you are the only foodblogger within miles of the food. people tend to look at you as if you're slightly nuts!
    The restaurant and the food look great though!

  7. Oh yeah, I did brought my camera that day, but I didn't take pictures of other people food as I don't review restaurant on my blog. I did take the Pain Perdu, I'll send you the picture if you want.