DELISH EATS • CHEZ MUFFY - J+K GETAWAY
Tucked away in the streets of Quebec City you’ll find the inconspicuous entrance to the Auberge Saint Antoine. A contemporary yet warm and cozy boutique hotel hidden by a historic façade dating back to the early 1600s. You could say the property is almost cloaked to blend into the rest of the euro styled streets so much to the point that Keia and I walked passed the front door and found ourselves pulling on handles down the street that probably haven't been opened for a few decades. Once we realized where the entrance was, we slipped inside and was pleasantly welcomed by a French speaking doorman who greeted us and quickly switched over to English due in park to the look of confusion we have a tendency to make every time someone speaks to us in French.
We were then lead down a narrow hallway featuring a glass wall showcasing the busy hive of a kitchen for where we were eating that night, Chez Muffy. When you first breach the grand room that is Chez Muffy, you can’t help but stop and look up as the room almost transports you back 200 years to an inviting tavern filled with warm lights, the smell of amazing food and wood, lots and lots of wood. A central fireplace with a chute that climbs the two stories of the former maritime warehouse, warms the entire space while the thick stone walls harbor you from the bitter winds rolling off the St. Lawrence River.
After being lead up stairs and to a cozy table tucked off to the side, we were pleasantly greeted by some of the most comfortable chairs you essentially melt into upon sitting down. Our second level perch gave us a bird’s eye view of the entire restaurant and was the ideal place for some prime people watching. Among the view was the Muffy Staff running to and from the kitchen bringing out some of the most genuinely warming foods we’ve seen on our trip that led us to guess what dishes matched the descriptions on the menu.
After browsing through the night’s menu offering, we started off the sitting with two cocktails. Keia’s drink of choice was a simple gin and ginger concoction that added to the warming effect of the atmosphere while my Old Fashioned with seasonal bitters did it’s part as well. By this time into our trip we were struggling with the amount of meats and cheeses we were coming across so when we saw Chez Muffy’s menu had a great vegetarian option, we we’re relieved and excited to see what their spin would be.
Our waiters of the night, Louis and Maxime, soon brought us a Winter Salad with mixed greens, veggies, maple vinaigrette topped with the perfect amount of pumpkin seeds. The course was simple, sweet, fresh and clean that set the tone for the night’s meal. As we were getting ready for the much anticipated entrée, Louis quickly came by with a bottle of red wine that paired perfectly with the dish. To be honest, Keia and I aren’t the biggest wine drinkers but after taking advantage of Louis’ recommendation, I’m beginning to second guess that stance.
The Vegetarian entrée of the night was a mix up of four plant based options that all had their unique spins to them. A perfect mix between cooked and raw, the entrée as whole was filled with flavor, great texture as well as feeling fulfilled which can be difficult with a vegetarian dish. Once we finished we sat there for a bit trying to decided our next move but, once you’ve gotten this far into a meal with great success, you know you’d only be missing out if you didn’t’ top it off with dessert.
After mulling over the options for our final course of the night, Keia decided on the Soufflé with my taste buds leaning towards the Apple Gallette. Maxim took our order with a smile giving us the feeling that our choices were on point, and we waited anxiously for the night’s final sensation. When the dishes arrived, the presentation was on point leaving one last thing to do, dive in. Keia’s Chocolate Soufflé was rich with a balanced sweetness and accented with a clean hazel nut ice-cream for a great contrast between the hot and cold elements of the dish. My Apple Gallette was light, subtle but had a great poise between the sweetness of the apples and added sugar.
At the conclusion of our desserts, we sat back and sank into our chairs for a while talking about what Chez Muffy must of looked like back in the day as well as running through our freezing adventures on the streets of Quebec. After sipping our red wines to the finish and taking in one last moment of being in that space, we packed up and headed back out into the bitterness of Quebec in March. Walking away from the establishment was fulfilling yet surreal at the same time as moments like ours at Chez Muffy is a memory you can’t recreate again
If you’re ever in Quebec City during the winter months and looking for a warm fire to curl up next to while having a gratifying meal, see if you can find the tenuous entrance to Chez Muffy off 10 Rue Saint Antoine.