How We Feel About Pearls for Dinner.

It is a pleasant summer afternoon in Montréal. We have an appointment to meet with Maxime Perrault. As we get into Griffintown, things get a little looser, and fresher. The sides of post-industrial buildings seem to reflect the sense of the Canal, and the sensibility of the easy-going professionals and creatives, making their way through this vital neighbourhood. We are meeting one of Perles et Paddock's owners, Maxime Perrault.

We park off Notre-Dame, in front of a cream facade, still evocative of of its past as a commercial garage. The restaurant is immaculate, and is reincarnated from a mechanic’s shop. A life or two before that would have been a meadow for horses. The building stands alone, a hundred feet from the bustle of the main street. We enter, and Maxime greets us in a smile, in a space that is filled with air, and light; and blurs the interior and nature, through the glass ceiling.

We are seated with Maxime, under the impressive vaulted atrium, and after pleasantries, we comment.
Maxime tells us: “We worked closely with our architect, Maurice Martel, on this feature. It was the biggest design addition to the original space. It completely opens the dining experience to the feeling of sunlight, or starlight, and nature. The epicureans in our neighbourhood enjoy the fresh ingredients, the purity of our flavours, and the natural setting and ambiance.”

The menu is made from ingredients sourced locally, as well sustainable fisheries in the Maratimes, with selected in-season fruits and produce. A special favourite of Maxime’s examples is the selection of asparagus. To hear him talk, about even this “minor” piece of a full menu, shows his clear concern with using the restaurant to address systemic issues in the food system. To hear him describe the difference between a well-grown, and properly harvested vegetable like asparagus, (plump, not woody; water usage, and transportation time and carbon) can bring on a genuine feeling about the importance of such a specific part of a single meal.
Hearing passion for having such a direct positive effect in a community, through nutrition, yes; but, also through building on tradition, and the character of a neighbourhood, is an exceptional experience. It seems to be becoming less rare, and more thoughtful, year-over-year.
We get back to the space, and the place, as the conversation progresses.

The crisp whites, and warm woods, of the interior, well balanced, give us a feeling of comfort, and the feeling that we are in sure hands.We converse a little further on a few topics of personal interest, and exchange philosophies of design, and lifestyle, before we circle back and ask Maxime how he came to establish Perles et Paddock in Griffintown. He tells us that four years of development went into the decision, and that Griffintown had not always been the obvious choice.

“Griffintown became the obvious choice, though a bit of a surprise, only once we started to seriously scout neighbourhoods for locations. We were excited to discover the lively area, and the vibrancy that is so fully a part of life in the neighbourhood; the active and healthy mentality of Griffintown are thoroughly stitched into the fabric of life. The icing on the cake was when we were shown this location. Finding a building, without attached neighbours, with the opportunity to create an intimate setting, uninvaded by whatever might be behind one wall or another, in a neighbourhood known for taste, and innovation; amazing.”

One year in.
We asked what the reception has been like.
“We are so fortunate, and chose our home wisely. Our neighbourhood is as obsessed with eating and living well, as we are. When you really care about something, as much as we care about great food, and design, and health, and adding our piece of work to our community, you can feel like you’re taking a great big leap in the dark. When you find that the community you jumped into really cares about all those things as much as you do, all you can do is take that relief and excitement, and just keep doing what you do better and better every day.”

We love our neighbourhood. We found someone who loves it as much as we do. We hope you find your way to Perles et Paddock, and enjoy the good fruits of good hard thoughtful labours.

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