Restaurant: Mama Dumpling (St.Hubert, Canada)

Sometimes we find the things we are looking for when we aren’t quite looking for it as is the case with Mama’s Dumplings, a Chinese dumpling restaurant on the South Shore of the island of Montreal. As dumplings become quite the new thing popping up over the last few years in Chinatown, its been a hunt to find out where to find it on a more suburban setting and then I came across this place and called up my friend who is equally passionate about finding a dumpling place not in downtown. And here we are! At this point, we had gone back a second time, both recapped together. The main suggestion for going to dumpling places is to get a bigger group to be able to order more types to see which works the best to your tastes.

Food

First visit

Chicken - Mushroom Dumplings

Chicken-Shitake Mushroom Pan-fried Dumplings

Pork-Cabbage Steamed Dumplings

Pork-Cabbage Steamed Dumplings

Beef-Coriander Dumplings

Beef Coriander Pan-friend Dumplings

The first visit was just a little trial where we gave each type of meat a try so we took the more basic flavors: Chicken and Shitake mushrooms, Beef and coriander and Pork and cabbage. These are very normal ones. Some types have choices of pan-fried and steam while others one have one or the other option. For each, the wrapper skin is different. For dumplings, that is a huge component to how heavy the dumpling is and how the bite of the whole thing is. its one of the things that Mama Dumpling does well.

Talking about the food here, the first time around the one that stood out was the chicken and shitake mushroom. It had to do a lot with how the pan fried was done well and not too oily. Plus, the mushroom elevates the chicken especially because these ones have some soup sort of thing on the inside like the soup-filled dumplings (shanghai specialty) so its pretty tasty. The beef and coriander tasted almost exactly like the beef balls dim sum. While the pork and cabbage was exactly as you’d expect and the taste is good.

The first visit was a quick run and we managed to eat all three plates with just 2 people. It worked a ton for us so it was obvious that we’d come back for a second run which happened the week after….

Second Visit

Pork and Mushroom Dumplings

Pork and Mushroom Dumplings

Shrimp, Pork, Leek Dumplings

Shrimp, Pork, Leek Dumplings

Pork and Green Onion Dumplings

Pork and Green Onion Dumplings

I’m going to be honest that I can’t remember if the last one was pork or chicken with green onions. Its not like it shows that much difference. With that said the second time around, the three different types of dumplings were better than the first time. The first visits standout was the chicken and mushroom. Anything with shitake mushrooms has a really nice flavor to it so the pork and mushrooms was really good because of that. Green onions in dumplings are best pan fried because it doesn’t only taste good but smells really good also. Finally the star of the show goes to the Shrimp, pork and leek ones where the dumpling itself had a small whole shrimp in there which gave it both a nice texture and a good flavor. This choice is only available steamed and it works so very well. The wrapper was really delicate but not too thin that it’d break either. This second visit was really tasty.

Overall

Mama Dumpling is a nice environment. The description on the menu talks about it being originally a chain from China. I don’t know where but the dumplings that we’ve tried so far is good to great so definitely a place that delivers some nice stuff. The only dumplings we didn’t try yet are the vegetarian ones which I might go back one time with my mom and give it a go as well. There are also some other appetizers on the menu that look really interesting. I can feel there is a strive for authenticity here and being healthier than other places so I’m looking forward to go back and check out more items on the menu. I have a massive unexplicable love for dumplings. Its kind of my comfort food so this find is a great one especially since I don’t have to stick to the same choice available in Chinatown.

Are you a fan of dumplings?
Are there any dumpling places you’ve tried that you recommend in your city or somewhere that you’ve visited elsewhere?

Dinner: Restaurant Le Fagotin

We’re back to Groupon season! Its been a while since we’ve had a fun little friends gathering with my good friend Starry Traveler and her family.  Luckily, Groupon had a neat little offer for a place we’ve never heard of called Restaurant Le Fagotin, so we both decided to buy, reserve and give it a go this past weekend.  Le Fagotin is a bring your own wine French fusion restaurant.

Restaurant Le Fagotin

Decor

Le Fagotin

Right when you look at Le Fagotin to the outside to walking into the main dining room, its extremely homey. Its comfortable and ambient with some light-hearted jazzy music playing softly in the background. Its tidy and has a decent amount of natural light from the outside.  My favorite was looking across onto the fireplace in the wall with a mantel with a sign saying “Bon Appetit”. Part of eating is the atmosphere and Le Fagotin does a great job at setting it right.

Appetizers

Le Fagotin

Bread

Le Fagotin

Spring Salad (with the Table d’Hote menu)

Le Fagotin

Soup of the day: Potage au Broccoli (with Table d’Hote)

To start our meals, we got a delicious baguette.  It was warm and soft.  We loved it.  Everyone took the Table d’Hote Menu at our table except me.  The main reason being my health restrictions.  Potage au Broccoli usually isn’t a problem but at Le Fagotin, they told me that they add a bit of cream in there so it was off the table for me. Another issue I have is with eating raw vegetables so I couldn’t eat the salad also. With that said, I ended up getting a main dish in the menu.  However, without knowing my inability to eat raw vegetables, they were really generous and gave me a spring salad.  I think its a nice gesture which my husband benefited from. The general liking was towards the spring salad which I could agree with since I dipped my baguette in some of the vinaigrette and it was tasty.

Main Course

Le Fagotin

The Chef’s Platter: Pork Chops with Homemade BBQ sauce ($28)

My dish was the Chef’s Platter.  This evening, it was pork chops with homemade BBQ sauce. It had some (what I presume is) scalloped potatoes because it was made with some cream.  The waitress forgot about my lactose-intolerance along with a few veggies. This plate smells delicious.  I don’t know what they used in the sauce or cooking it but it smelled wonderful. It was a little on the salty side and maybe the pork chop had some dry bits but it was overall acceptable.

Le Fagotin

Table d’Hote: Pork Fillet with Apple and Brandy Sauce

Next up was my husband’s plate, the pork fillet with Apple and Brandy Sauce. I had a little taste of it also. So, my main issue with this dish is that the sauce is like eating applesauce and the brandy is not really apparent so doesn’t elevate the taste buds. The pork itself was done well. I just wish the sauce could’ve been done a little bit more flavorful.

Le Fagotin

Grilled Chicken with Apricot Glaze

My friend’s husband took this Grilled Chicken and Apricot Glaze which would have been my choice if the appetizers worked out. I didn’t get a taste of this one but he didn’t say much other than the glaze didn’t really taste of apricot much. However, the presentation does look nice.

Le Fagotin

Rainbow Trout Fillet with Tarragon Aioli

Last dish is my friend’s.  Hers is the Rainbow Trout Fillet with Tarragon Aioli. So, she’s not a fan of aioli so she had asked for it to be put on the side which probably forgotten. I’m not opposed to aioli but since it seemed that Le Fagotin added cream to a lot of dishes that doesn’t normally have, I just tasted the fish.  It had a rather fishy taste.  I can imagine that the tarragon aioli would have masked it and elevated the whole dish but, just the fish was a little lacking.  My friend didn’t like the aioli much so she put it aside and just ate the fish.

Dessert

Le Fagotin

Lime & Coconut Sorbet

My only choice is their sorbet which had various flavors. The choices given was a citrus and pomegrenate or blueberry & basil.  I love sorbets with blueberry and basil however it was sold out right when I ordered so they offered me this choice here: lime and coconut sorbet. Let me tell you, I had doubts about this working but they were able to balance the sour/tart flavor of the lime and combine it with the coconut except they also included coconut shreds which is a pretty nice touch since it added texture to it.

Le Fagotin

Chocolate Pot with Homemade Crumble

My friend had originally the panna cotta (that is coming up) but proceeded to swap with her husband who had the chocolate pot with homemade crumble. This looks delicious and I think for the most part, they enjoyed this one quite a bit. I think the crumble is made out of shortbread but I think the men were arguing that it was graham crackers.  I still disagree with it even if I didn’t taste it.

Le Fagotin

Creme Brulee

My husband had the Creme Brulee, which probably is the show stopper here.  The nice crack of the sugar glaze and the texture looked good. He thought it was the best part of the entire meal.

Le Fagotin

Lemon Panna Cotta

Last up is the lemon panna cotta that I mentioned before. It seems that this might be the lackluster choice of the four. There wasn’t much talk or discussion and it was bounced around. Not a lot of comments on it.

Overall…

While it seems like I was picky about Le Fagotin, it has its pros, plus my meal was pretty good.  I really love the atmosphere they set and the plating looks great. The desserts are for the most part outstanding and there’s still a lot on the menu to explore that peaks my interest. If I were to go back a second time, it’d be for the Honey and Five Spices Duck Breast and Flank Steak with french shallots and cognac sauce. The concept of Le Fagotin for putting together different flavors is a good one, it just needs to be executed a little better. Obviously, tastes are subjective and you can’t please everyone but there lacks a bit of complexity that I would’ve hoped for.

Putting that point aside, if anyone at Le Fagotin was to read this: an even bigger point would be to find a way to make sure that there are always alternatives for sides or appetizers that can accommodate a rather decent amount of people like myself with food intolerance/allergies. I always feel that service is elevated at any restaurant when I know some restaurants have put that extra thought in making sure their food can appeal to a wide variety of public, something I’ve learned even more after I’ve had to deal with all these allergies and can rarely find restaurants that have selections I can eat. That isn’t to say that the service at Le Fagotin in bad because our waitress was very pleasant, maybe a little forgetful in our little details like food allergies or putting our requests of sauces aside, but she was still very nice to talk to.

Point is, I want to go back to Le Fagotin.  There are aspects of it that truly appealed to me.  Just you know, little tweaks, right? Or else I wouldn’t have bothered to write all of this.