January 24, 2013

Montreal: Satay Brothers

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I'm getting hungry as I type this post. Really, really hungry. You see, Southeast Asian cuisine in Montreal is as elusive as above-zero days in the Canadian winter. Just imagine my exhilaration when I discovered Satay Brothers at Atwater Market during fall! And to my delight, they've recently opened a temporary restaurant at 3911 Saint-Jacques Ouest for this winter.
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Laksa was never a regular fixture in my diet back in Singapore. Perhaps it was partly due to the lack of coconut-milk-laden dishes in Montreal, but Satay Brothers' laksa had me falling head over heels with this spicy rice noodle soup. I slurped up every drop of the oh-so-very-lemak (or aromatic) chicken gravy with much relish. Ask for the triple spicy if you can handle the heat.
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I love love love steamed pork buns. Or as it's more commonly known in Singapore, kong bak pau. Satay Brothers' nailed this Hokkien classic with tender soy-braised pork belly sandwiched in a spongy homemade bun, finished a kiss of sweet hoisin, sprigs of coriander and thin cucumber slices for crunch. A worthy substitute for my favorite Westlake pork buns back at home.
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And for dessert, how about some... Nonya kueh? Oh joy! I ended off both visits with a generous square of kueh salat- a coconutty steamed cake of rich pandan custard atop sticky glutinous rice, warmed before serving.
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Ironically, I found their namesake satay below par. Not that there was anything wrong with the tender chicken skewers- it's just that they weren't quite authentic. The marinade needed more sugar, and I like my meat with more chew. More importantly, the smoky aroma that only a charcoal grill can imbue was missing. On the other hand, I had no complaints about the fresh and tasty peanut sauce.

I'm being greedy here but a square of ketupat (a type of rice dumpling) would make a lovely addition!
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Mee rebus traditionally comes with a robust, sweet gravy that's thick enough to cling on to the yellow egg noodles. Sadly, Satay Brother's rendition was watered-down and bore closer resemblance to a spicy beef soup.  
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There's nothing quite like the taste of home. Thank you Mat and Alex Winnicki, for bringing Singapore's vibrant hawker food culture to Montreal.

Satay Brothers on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Oh man CAD$10 for a bowl of mee rebus which strangely comes with prawns and beef lol, is crazy!

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  2. yeah food is expensive in canada! even cafeteria food will set you back by about $7.

    ReplyDelete