Located in Chinatown, local and environmentally-conscious Cantine Poincaré is a hidden gem to enjoy on a chill night out with friends. The selection of craft beers and fermented snacks offers a unique, genuine Quebec pub experience. The McGill Tribune sat down with chef and co-founder Jeremiah Bullied, who also teaches fermentation classes at Concordia University. He spoke on the relationship between Quebec and craft beer.
“I think craft beer in particular is something that really reflects Québécois culture a lot,” Bullied said. “I feel like craft beer is like the wine of Quebec—it is something that people take to.”
The three other owners of the restaurant are experienced in the craft beer industry: The team consists of Hugo Jacques, a sommelier from Montreal microbrewery Isle de Garde; Francis Melançon from Gaspesian microbrewery Pit Caribou; and Samuel Boivin Provost, from the local staple brewpub Dieu du Ciel. Their expertise is evident in the attention to detail in the products they serve. Anyone should be able to find something to enjoy, from their tasty double IPA to their exotic Chardonnay cider.
“A lot of people [who] come in after work or during lunch […] are young, […] have good taste in food and music, [and] appreciate a weird little spot like this,” Bullied said.
Not only does Poincaré have a wide range of unique beverages, they also have a range of fermented and cured snacks. The Poincaré experience is best defined by the seasonal fermented menu, which reflects Bullied’s expertise in fermentation and natural methods of food preparation.
“Fermenting […] ticked a lot of boxes for me […] because it is a low intervention way of transforming food,” Bullied said. “You still have to prepare [ingredients], but they kind of transform themselves, […] and to me. There is an element of magic to that, there [are] a lot of cool flavours and a lot of cool textures that are unlocked.”
The fermented snacks, including pickles and chorizo, are a tasteful companion for any drink or conversation.
“There’s definitely a notion that these are good bar snacks,” Bullied said. “It is something you can dine on casually without having to eat a meal. [Poincaré is a place for] people who […] want to party but with good wine […] in a place that isn’t a club but isn’t boring either [….] Even though it is very casual, there are some fine dining elements, and there really is some quality in [the ingredients].”
Without a doubt, quality is all the owners’ primary focus, and they are committed to giving their clientele the best experience that they can possibly offer.
“In the [service] industry, […] it is about how you make people feel,” Bullied said. “People that come here want to feel cool. They want to feel that they received a product of quality, and attention, and effort. You have to communicate a certain amount of attention to detail, and you kind of have to be having a good time.”
Students in search of a trendy new hangout spot should check out Poincaré for funky and well-made food and drinks in an industrial space.