Cookies Unite - July Edition

For a second time, I was one of the lucky guests at Cookies Unite July edition!

If you didn't get to read my previous article about the June edition, Cookies Unite is Gita Seaton’s clever idea after taking part in a similar event back in Ottawa. Montreal’s line cooks finally get a chance to be the star of the night and blow us away with their ideas in a carte blanche style dinner for only $30 per person. And to make it even better, it’s bring your own wine!

This time, Mark Tan cooked for us a delicious three service. He is presently working at Hôtel St-James' prestigious restaurant XO.

Pork Belly Steam Bun / Shrimp and Lap Cheong Wrapped in Yuba

What an amazing duo to serve!

The pork belly steam bun was such a delicious and light bite to serve. Forget all the mini burgers I've had before, Mark Tan made it special all over again with the clever idea of using a steam bun and completing the rich pork taste with sweet pecans.

On its side was a roll of shrimp and lap cheong (chinese sausage) wrapped in yuba (tofu skin). What a great mix of Chinese ingredients to discover! I liked it a lot but would have wished for a crispier exterior.

Inasal Chicken and Alsara / Salmon Ribs with Bitter Lemon

Inasal chicken is a popular Filipino BBQ dish. The chicken was quite flavorful compared to your regular barbecued chicken leg. But I've got to admit that all my attention was on the salmon ribs - another trick out of Mark Tan's kitchen!

The salmon covered in a delicious sauce had visible bones just like the meat ribs but these ones were edible. It was quite a new way for me to enjoy salmon and it really made it exciting and complete with the polenta just under it.

Chilled Walnut Soup and Iceberg Granite

After all the great food we were served, I wasn't even thinking about the dessert until it was placed in front of me. A chilled walnut soup with iceberg granite, tapioca and watermelon cubes. Something I would never think of making at home even if I would have all these ingredients sitting around.

Well it was the biggest surprise of the evening and now that I have tasted it, I am a believer and would eat it everyday - especially with this crazy summer weather! The whole room turned into a chaotic mix of spoons trying to reach anything left in the cups and people expressing how much they liked it. That's what I call a complete success!

Conclusion: Another magic night spent at Cookies Unite with a great and friendly crowd, top notch service and what more can I say about July's chef, Mark Tan? One of my most appreciated meals in a long time. Look out for him while he's in Montreal, he is one serious cook! Once again, I recommend this awesome event to anyone looking for a different culinary experience.

One last thing: On my last review, I mentioned how I wished the chef of the night would come out in the dining room to meet the guests and explain what is being served. Well after speaking with Gita, I was told that the concept is a bit different in this case and the diner is invited to go in the kitchen to meet the chef. I wasn't aware of it and I think it's a great idea! So don't be shy on your next visit if you would like to give your comments to the chef or ask any questions.

COOKIES UNITE ADDRESS: 7032 Waverly RESERVATION: geatzy@gmail.com WHEN: Once a month, usually the first Monday ALCOHOL: BYOW CREDIT CARDS: No PRICE: $30