There is always new restaurants opening in Montreal, hence the restaurateur will have to come out strong in order to catch diners’ attention. Antonin Mousseau-Rivard is the man behind the restaurant, Le Mousso, who came from an artistic family. There is only one menu available, and with the concept of “minimalist plates, with ambiance and music.”
The decor of the restaurant is definitely simple, simple, and simple, but with a bit of rustic feel. The two pieces of artworks displayed in the restaurant are painted by Mousseau-Rivard’s grandfather, Jean-Paul Mousseau, whom was an artist.
As the former chef at the Contemporain, the restaurant at Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain, the presentation of each dish is like an artwork, which I felt like there’s a color theme to each dish. There is only one tasting menu, which is a 7-course dinner.
First up, three amuse-bouchees were served all at once, and clearly, the theme was black. This was calamari and fermented garlic served on lit charcoal. The texture was soft, and tasted just like I’m eating squid, but a bit sweeter.
The second amuse-bouchee financier topped with caviar. The textures sort of contrast with each other. The financier was spongy, yet the caviar was creamy.
This was my favorite amuse-bouchee out of all three. It was the maple syrup cotton candy with foie gras in the center. We were told to eat this in one bite upon serving. The cotton candy melted as soon as contacted with saliva, and the sweetness followed by the saltiness and creaminess of foie gras.
The color theme for this dish is yellow. It consists scallops, carrots, and sea buckthorn. My friend and I both thought that the sauce was the star of the dish, instead of the scallops. Don’t get me wrong though. The scallops were crisp outside, and tender inside. However, the flavor of the sauce was just dreamy.
The color theme for this dish is mauve. The char is kind of like smoked salmon, which was served with borscht (a tart soup popular in several East European cuisines, using beetroot as the main ingredient), and along with 4 different purées: beetroot, bacon and onion, whipped cream, and roes. The borscht was very “earthy”. I found it a bit redundant to have beetroot purée when the borscht is already a beetroot-based soup. Even though I don’t like bacon and onion, it was the best out of four when pairing with the char.
Half way through, the waitress asked if we would like to add an additional $10 for this dish, and we said yes. The color theme for this is green. It’s crab meat with green strawberries (which are white!) and sprinkled with verbena powder. The crab was a bit more fishy than I expected. The tartness from the green strawberries added a bit of the flavor to the dish.
The color theme of this dish is white. It’s cockerel (a type of chicken) with mushrooms. The cockerel was tender, and the sauce was surprisingly light.
The color theme for this is red. It’s composed of lamb, sheet milk, and fermented espelette (a type of hot pepper from France). Honestly, neither my friend nor I eat lamb, therefore we took this really slowly. The lamb was really tender, and didn’t have the gamey taste. However, I was glad that there were the sheet milk and fermented espelette. I had to pair it with a lot of those two pastes for each bite. The fermented espelette offers a hint of peach and sea brine, and subtle heat. It resembles the taste of hot paprika or cayenne powder.
The color theme for this is brown. My favorite dish of the night! The blood boudin sponge cake served with shallot ice cream and apple vinegar. The combination and the flavor were mind-blowing. I hate shallots, but the ice cream was somewhat good that I actually wanted another plate! The sponge cake was fluffy, airy, and moist. The sponge cake soaked up the tartness from the apple vinegar, and savoriness from the shallot ice cream. Loved it!
The color theme for this is orange. It’s the last dish/dessert of the night. It’s composed of yogurt, squash sheets, honey comb, and rapeseed oil. The yogurt is light, but a bit too fluffy/airy to me.
Overall, it was truly a fascinating culinary experience, especially visually. Even the plates match with each dish. Every dish is assembled and served in a beautiful handmade plate or bowl that I want to take home. Though the experience was nice, it’s probably not a spot for non-adventurous eaters. There are no substitutions if you do not eat certain food.
Unlike the bustling noise of a regular restaurant, the music in the background somewhat correspond with the food, and enhanced the entire experience. Each dish consists of complexity, eclectic flavors, and contrasts of textures. Will I go back? Of course, but only after they have changed the menu.
1023 rue Ontario east, Montreal
Tel: (438)384-7410 (Reservation strongly recommended)