French classics done right.
My lunch companion tells me that if Caf Bicyclette has a decent poutine, that alone will be enough to make him happy about the opening of the little French restaurant, located in La Persaud’s old spot at La Cit Francophone. Doused in warm gravy, and punctuated by cheese curds, the generous serving has crisp fries and a dusting of pepper that gives the dish a tasty baked-potato flavour. The restaurant is already worthy in my companion’s eyes before we even get to our main course.
Next, we share the sandwich au poulet rti (roasted chicken), and the sandwich jambon et fromage (ham and cheese). With ham, cheese, tomato, arugula and a dill mayonnaise, the flaky in-house baked croissant tastes as fresh as the ingredients inside. The roasted chicken sees a hearty portion of a creamy chicken salad mixture – the heaviness is balanced by the lightness of the bread.
I bring another friend the following night when the restaurant shifts from the daytime counter service to sit-down service; the romantic French music and dim lighting lends itself to a quiet evening with good company.
The highlight is the pork dish, which has a heaping portion of green beans and mashed potatoes, topped with an equally large pork chop that nearly covers the plate. The pork is tender and has a kick when I alternate a bite of meat with a bite of the pink pickled onion that comes in the shape of a flower on top of the dish. And the steak frites are on the same level as the poutine – a French classic with no surprises. And, in this case, that’s a good thing. (8627 91 St., 587-524-8090, lacitefranco.ca)