This year, you can spice things up for Valentine’s Day by travelling through time. Le Roseline, located at 5014 Saint-Laurent, is the product of Jean-Marc Renaud’s work. With an illustrious career working on set design in TV shows and advertisements, Renaud opened a cafe-bar in December 2019 that recreates the atmosphere of Montreal in the ‘30s, giving customers a chance to experience what it would have been like to socialize in that era. Before going into the film industry, Renaud had previously been immersed in the world of dining but grew disillusioned with the field. Le Roseline represents his return with a new perspective on participating within the domain.
“So I said to myself, ‘I should try to go back into the restaurant industry, but with a different eye, a different way of doing it,’” Renaud said. “I didn’t like the energy back then which is why I quit, but now it’s different [….] I am going to combine all my experience doing movies and TV series, and I am going to create [a restaurant], like it is [in] a movie.”
Renaud had a lot of experience with hospitality growing up. His parents converted their family home in the Sainte-Rose district in Laval into a restaurant. The memories he made during this period of his life contributed to the design of Le Roseline as he was inspired to recreate the environment of their hospitable family restaurant.
“When I finished [hotel management school], my parents opened their own restaurant in Sainte-Rose, Laval in our family home,” Renaud said. “It was a Victorian house, transformed into a restaurant, and maybe that’s why you look at the place here and you feel the homey kind of atmosphere.”
Renaud explained that he has always had a passion for design and wanted to be a furniture designer. He drew inspiration from a combination of his family, Montreal identity, and filmmaking expertise to create the atmosphere in Le Roseline.
“It’s a combination of my roots, I am a 100 per cent Montrealer,” Renaud said. “[…] My grandma was a musician, she was in a band in the early ‘30s, so what I created in the middle is inspired by my grandma’s living room, with this kind of carpet [and] with the sofa.”
Renaud also designed a menu that reflects the classic dishes of the time. The restaurant serves traditional dishes with minimal reinterpretation to fully capture the culture of Montreal cuisine at the time, which was heavily influenced by French culture.
“[For example], the omelette norvégienne we do a flambé,” Renaud said. “No place in Montreal does [omelette norvégienne] flambé anymore […but] we decided to bring back this dessert that was very popular in the ‘30s. Even the cocktails, […] we have the Mary Pickford cocktail, we have the French 75, and the Old Fashioned. Mary Pickford was an early actor of the early ‘30s [who] came to Montreal in 1949 [and stayed at the] Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and they created a cocktail for her. We make it here because it is part of the experience [of 1930s Montreal].”
Renaud adds that he hopes customers can get a real feel of what it was like to socialize and relax in the ‘30s, adding that people during that time were more at ease. Open Tuesday through Sunday, Le Roseline hopes to take customers away from the stress of modern day reality.
“It’s really the vibes of the early ‘30s you feel here,” Renaud said. “[… I wanted] to do something to transport people back to the old times [….] [I wanted to] do something that allows people to disconnect with their own reality and go back in time and see how it was [in 1930s Montreal].”