Chinatown’s New Tiramisu Restaurant Incorporates Japanese Ingredients into Classic Italian Dishes
Tiramisu, a chic new restaurant serving Italian dishes interwoven with Japanese flavors, has moved to Montreal’s Chinatown. It is located just behind the lion-flanked arches on Saint-Laurent, corner Viger, on the ground floor of Hilton’s new Hampton & Homewood Suites hotel. A representative of the restaurant says it is currently in its “soft opening” phase, with its official debut scheduled for November 26.
Incorporating Japanese ingredients into classic Italian dishes, Tiramisu’s menu includes arancini made from sushi rice and served with miso-based aioli, lasagna topped with tonkotsu sauce and Asian celery; rigatoni arrabiata seasoned with a mixture of Japanese togarashi spices; and a hot yuzu sauce on hand to baste it all. For dessert, diners can choose between a panacotta made with white soy and honey, or – what else, but – a tiramisu enriched with Japanese whiskey.
For those skeptical of this particular example of culinary interaction – new to Montreal, but much loved elsewhere, and sometimes referred to as Itameshi – there are plenty of pasta and pizza options that fit right into the Italian camp.
For drinks, there are sakes and wines, as well as a cocktail list curated by Coldroom, the favorite of Old Montreal drinkers. Here, again, diners can expect Italian standards (eg, a negroni) with a Japanese twist (eg, a smoked plum).
Hotel restaurants have a bad reputation – they are often seen as too corporate, too bland, too far removed from the local culinary scene. But this one comes from a renowned catering group in the city and anxious to ensure that the project meets both local and tourist appetites. The project is the latest addition to the Lucky Belly group’s roster, which also includes Vietnamese Village pub Le Red Tiger, Laotian snack bar Thip Thip and sushi bar Le Blossom. Chef Chanthy Yen, previously at Parliament Pub & Parlor and Cambodian street food pop-up Touk, is the restaurant’s executive chef.
The restaurant has a café component he calls Caffè Misu, equipped with beans from Montreal roaster Café Saint-Henri, as well as Italian pastries and ice cream. And in spring 2022, the catering group (led by partners Dan Pham, Gabriel Huynh-Lapointe and Patrick Ma) will open a sister restaurant, also in the hotel. Carla, a Franco-Vietnamese bistro with a large terrace, will take over the sixth floor of the building.
Tiramisu covers 3,000 square feet with an elaborate design by the Montreal firm MRDK that interweaves dozens of materials for a striking result. Plush velvets, rounded furnishings, retro light fixtures, spotted terrazzo, groovy tile and upholstery patterns, and luxurious marbles blend together for a look that the restaurant says is inspired by the playbook of the Italian design from the 1960s.
Tiramisu is open daily for lunch and dinner at 989 St Laurent Blvd.