One of the easiest adventures one can partake in is one that can be found on your plate. So when traveling, I often say “why not?” when given the option of trying something new. When last I was in Montreal, I had the true treat of trying a vegan restaurant called Chu Chai. I am not sure what the exact translation is but I am pretty sure it means “yummy.”
This place is hopping: even with calling ahead for a reservation, there was a tiny bit of a wait. I am not complaining as it was well worth said wait. The selection is everything you could imagine at your local Thai joint, only there is NO MEAT, not even in the duck. The best word to describe the food is “vibrant.” The servings are not over-sized but more than adequate. A shared appetizer and main course would have been more than enough, but of course we ordered an appetizer each, because “why not, we are on holiday.”
The Kari Puff is a crispy pastry filled with vegetables and yellow curry. It has just enough of a kick to warm your palate. The pastry was just crispy enough and tasted just indulgent enough to satisfy my curiosity.
With this appetizer we also had the Poe Pia Tod, otherwise know as Fried Imperial Rolls. They were super-crispy and light, a classic and delectable Thai dish. Neither too sweet nor too spicy, this dish was that one extra bite to get us ready for our main course. We discovered that even something classic can be new when trying a different restaurant’s take on it.
For our main course, we had the Poulet Cari Rouge Lait de Coco, also known as Chicken Red Curry and Coconut Milk, with a side order of sticky rice (Riz Collant). Can I say amazing? The “chicken” was silky, the sauce was smooth and aromatic and I was very impressed. Although we kicked up the spice in this dish, the heat didn’t overpower the flavor, but rather, enhanced it.
I wish I had of left room for desert; they were ever so tempting. Next time I am in Montreal, hopefully it is in the spring and we can sit outside on the patio. There is so much on this menu left to explore that each trip would be something new. Since Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, my expectations are high and Chu Chai exceeded them.
I just want to take a moment to reflect on the decor of Chu Chai and the mural that they had painted along the long running wall. It was so great to see installed art in a restaurant. I don’t want to give anything else away other than the atmosphere is just as good as the food.
4088 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, Québec H2W 2M5 (The Plateau Mount-Royal)