Île Flottante : Exquisite tasting menus in Mile-End
Île Flottante is a contemporary restaurant that has taken over the former premises of the Les Deux Singes de Montarvie, and is a welcome addition to the Mile-End ‘hood. With their delicious cuisine, Île Flottante’s ambition is to showcase cuisine in new and original ways.
Les Deux Singes had been in business since 2011 on rue St-Viateur where it was popular and had steady customers, but when Trip Advisor listed it as Montreal’s best-loved restaurant, everything changed. «By the end of 2016, we knew that changes were needed in the restaurant. The space next door became available so we jumped at the opportunity,» says co-owner Nada Abu Younes.
Together with the expansion, co-owners Nada and Sean Murray Smith decided that reinvention was the way to go, both in terms of name and decor.
« Île Flottante is Sean’s favorite dessert. It is also stands for Île de Montréal where his father worked during Expo ’67, and it is also a nod to Île Ste-Hélène, which is part of the restaurant’s identity. Sean has always dreamed of having a restaurant called Île Flottante, so we took advantage of the renovations to fulfill all this, in one fell swoop.»
Once the space had been redesigned by architect Alain Carle, the new Île Flottante opened in late 2017. The decor has a marine look with light-coloured hardwood «deck» flooring and walls painted navy blue. The dark tables and chairs are a simple addition and don’t disturb the elegant and contemporary space. The paintings of modern art on the walls add colour and interest. Île Flottante’s staff is friendly and welcoming and altogether, the surroundings equal the quality of the food. It has doubled in size, with 48 seats now available, including four at the bar. The room is divided into two spaces and the kitchen is entirely glassed in, yet still allows us to admire the talents of the chef and team while they prepare the dishes.
The food choices are based on tasting menus, with a special emphasis on vegetarian dishes. There are three tasting menus to choose from with 3, 5 or 7 tastings. The menus propose meat, fish and other selections in relation to availability and freshness. Sean and his team are behind the menu choices and the menu can change a bit each day, based on their whims and product availability. The tasting menus are very elaborate, and the dishes beautifully presented, each original with its own distinct flavours. This is the discovery part we mentioned above and Île Flottante is well worth trying.
The wine list proposes a nice selection of bottles from small and medium-sized producers. Levi Gobeil is the one to thank for this successful wine list which, like the menu, will change according to availability. The cocktails are the creation of the entire team at Île Flottante and there are new offerings nearly every week.
«I love the flexibility of our menus, the fact that people can play around with menu formulas and that the dishes change often. The restaurant’s ability to cater to the wishes of our guests is even more apparent than at Les Deux Singes de Montarvie.» Île Flottante is a restaurant where eating well is definitely on the menu and the diversity of the tasting menus allows clients to try a multitude of things. A wonderful opportunity in Mile-End!
Written by Kashanti Sandy