REVIEW: L'Instant Gourmand

Saturday, November 19, 2011

L'Instant Gourmand
200 promenade portage
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Phone: +1 (819) 770-6464
Website: n/a

Type of Restaurant: Food Court Cafe
Attire: Casual
Prices: E- $5 M- 8 D- $3

Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Debit/Eftpos
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-6:00pm
              Saturday  8am - 4pm
              Sundays - CLOSED
Reservations? Not Necessary
Handicap Accessible? Yes. 
Vegetarian Friendly? Yes.
Vegan Friendly? No.
Gluten-Free? No.


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Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Atmosphere: 0/5

I set off from Ottawa on a walking adventure to Gatineau, Quebec. I'm not your traditional traveller where I look up places and go visit. Rarely carry direction on my, and my mobile phone doesn't have internet without an unsecured wireless network available So, when I say I went exploring... you can easily read it as "I got lost". Not only lost, but I was HUNGRY.

Getting lost in Gatineau, when you aren't all that confident in your conversational French it is hard to ask for directions. After walking for a good 30mins, I came across the Place d'Centre. From the street, it looked like some kind of office building, perhaps even conference centre. Surely, they would have food. I took the elevator to the main floor and found the food court. Indeed, this place is a conference centre, office building, and small shopping mall all in one. For once I was saying thank God for a food court.

Choosing where to eat was difficult. This place has all your traditional food court outlet, mostly chains with the same boring menus. Sushi, Burgers, Greek, Pita, Chinese, Subway... you get my drift. After a couple rounds around the food court I came across this cafe looking outlet-- L'Instant Gourmand (translation: Instant Gourmet if I am not mistaken). I was salivating, crepes made fresh on the spot in front of you and a whole display cabinet of french macrons and other sweets. I was sold. I sucked up some courage and let my french go. I ordered a crepe with ham, brie, and tomatoes and two macrons.

Upon checking out, the (beautiful) young woman who was helping me inquired about the camera around my neck. From there our conversation lasted quite a while (broke into english halfway through). She sent me off to enjoy my meal and the rest of my time in Gatineau.

The crepe was delish, the batter looking like it was buckwheat or something similar, not that bleach white flour most creperies use and the macaron were sensational. I have always seen these in pictures in various cookbooks but had never tried them before. I once had a french coworker who explained how incredible they are, but I took it as an exaggeration (and cultural pride). But honestly, they were sooooo good. Crunchy crust, with a smooth, yet chewy inside. As I write this review, I am craving a whole box of them.

Overall, food was good, service was amazing, but to sit in a food court and eat your meal out of a styrofoam box... not really my thing. However, it was nice to see this caliber of cafe in an otherwise dull food court. I'd suggest going to visit, stock up on those macarons, then bring them home to enjoy with friends and family.



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