Café Jouney opened in late 2017, serving healthy, ethnic Lebanese cuisine right in the heart of downtown Montreal.
Patrick Abdelahad, the owner, comes from Lebanon, more precisely, Jounieh, a coastal city on the Mediterranean where his parents own a boutique hotel. He worked there until he was 21, and in 2014, he decided to come to Montreal for an MBA. After only a few months, Patrick knew he wanted to remain in Montreal for good.
Patrick was living in the city centre and he quickly discovered that there was no place serving Lebanese cuisine that wasn’t either fast-food or on a commercial scale, let alone reasonably priced, delicious and healthy.
When he stumbled upon this location, he immediately fell in love with it and saw an opportunity. Together with the talented designer David Dworkind (Super Qualité, Falafel Yoni), he has redesigned the 45-seat space. The decor of Jouney is, in large part, the appeal of the place; as soon as you push open the door, you are pleasantly surprised by what awaits you. David has created a modern, clean-lined and above all, very attractive space. At the base of the long exposed brick wall is the bar, framed in narrow wood and topped with a white stone countertop, plus an assortment of tables and seating including stools, benches and bistro chairs, all of wood. It is a narrow, linear space with tall cement pillars, industrial venting on the ceiling and other metal elements, all very original – and one of the most beautiful cafés in Montreal.
The concept of Jouney is to serve Lebanese comfort food that is both simple and good quality. The recipes have been taken from his parent’s hotel in Jouneih and adapted to the tastes of Montreal. Nothing is fried here, even the Falafels are baked. « I want to offer good quality Lebanese cuisine. Everything is fresh and prepared in-house: vegetables, meat, etc. And we always try to offer fresh food at honest prices. » There are three sections on the menu : breakfast and brunch (eggs, labneh or halloumi); Man’oushe (Lebanese flatbread with cheese, labneh or meat); and sandwiches (falafels, chicken, kafta), salads (taboulé, fatouche, quinoa) and dips (hummus, mouhamara and labneh). We really like the Man’oushe with cheese and the kafta sandwich. Jouney also proposes three desserts – including a wonderful rosewater rice pudding! Our thanks go to Jouney Café for the invitation.
With your Lebanese breakfast, order a traditional Arabic coffee served from a rakwe (long-handled coffee pot). Jouney also has juices, other coffees and teas, and two Lebanese beers – Quebec beers are coming soon. « I’m very proud that people often discover Jouney by chance and then they almost always keep coming back for the ambience and healthy food. » We do love the originality of the surroundings here plus the simplicity and healthy cuisine – ideal for a quick and affordable snack in the heart of downtown.