Dining Review: L’affaire est Ketchup – Quebec City, Quebec – Canada
In planning our winter getaway to Quebec City, I was blown away at how much incredible dining options there were throughout the city. Picking only a select few spots for three dinners on this trip was extremely tough and I know we can have many repeat trips just to try all the amazing dining.
During Bourdain’s episode to Quebec, he highlighted the young creative chefs at L’affarie est Ketchup and was very impressed by their cooking. I made sure to cross check with recent reviews and and the reviews back up his praise. L’affarie est Ketchup has two seatings for dinner time. In order to secure a reservation here, you must call – be prepared for lots of french in Quebec! It took several attempts for me to reach them so I am glad I was persistent – I think normally this is not an issue but with COVID, the restaurant was closed for an extended period of time leading up to our trip. Just be sure to be polite and ask “parlez vous anglais?” and you will be all set to proceed in English.
The restaurant was located about twenty minutes away from our Airbnb we made sure to leave lots of time for our stroll to work up a good appetite. We arrived to an unassuming building with a giant ketchup bottle on the door- we made it to the right spot.
Once inside, the staff checked our vaccination cards and identification before seating us at a cozy table tucked in the corner. The spot inside was nothing fancy, just like we were sitting in someone’s kitchen – we love spots that can have a chill and cozy ambiance while churning out killer food so we were hopeful this was a good selection for our dinner tonight.
The menu was written on a chalk board in french with only a word or two to describe the dish so while we attempted to identify a few of the basics, we waited for the full description from our server. Since the menu was very simple, everyone had to wait for the server so not reading french was not a handicap in this situation.
We actually loved how they did the service here – it appeared to be a two man operation – one stationed in the kitchen and the other as the server. The server would go around to each table individually, explain the menu, take the order and then move on to the next table. Then everyone’s first course came out at the same time, then the entree, and so forth. For our meal, we decided on the “ris de veau” and “os a moelle”, then the “petoncles/boudin” and “porc de turlo”. When we asked about the wine menu, our server pointed to a serving table and allowed us to take a look at the bottles. I thought this was super cool and Kevin enjoyed shopping for wine this way. We ended up with La Grosse Pierre Fleurie 2018 “Bel-AIr” – a French Gamay which was perfect.
Not long after our wine was popped, it was time to start the dinner courses. Let’s dig in.
“ris de veau” / sweet breads
Its funny, we rarely eat meat anymore but when it comes to the non-traditional parts of animals, we are all in. Sweet breads are delicious and we so rarely have the opportunity to enjoy them so we knew instantly this appetizer was on the must eat list. The sweetbreads were pan fried with a great caramelization. But holy moly, the truffle mushroom cream sauce the sweetbreads were swimming in was absolutely divine. I could have enjoyed an entire tub of this sauce – we could not get enough! Delicious dish, ten out of ten!
“os a moelle” / bone marrow
Similar to the sweet breads, we absolutely love bone marrow and it is also a dish that is not common on menus so we dove right in. The piece of bone marrow was enormous – a generous portion for this course. Bread accompanied to soak up all the bone marrow goodness. Atop the bone marrow was pieces of octopus and drizzle jus – pairing the octopus was a fun addition to the dish. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves smearing the marrow over fresh bread – such an indulgence!
“petoncles/boudin” / scallops and blood sausage
Picking appetizers could not have been easier but I had a tougher time with my entree. The entree options were pork, beef, scallops and mahi mahi. I guess it wasn’t that tough of a choice after all since I was only interested in the scallops – process of elimination at it’s finest. Scallops were fresh and well prepared, very delicious and a good number of scallops for an entree dish. The scallops were over a bed of veggies and celeriac puree. I am not the biggest fan of celeriac but the veggies were very good. The blood sausage looked just like a brownie and was actually infused with apples which gave it a nice sweetness. I would say the blood sausage was actually executed very creatively and the dish overall was solid.
“porc de turlo” / pork
Kevin had a tough time deciding between the entree options and ultimately picked the pork. The pork portion was very large and the cut of pork had good distribution of fat giving overall good flavor to the meat. However, the star of the dish was what was underneath the pork – a squash puree with vegetables. These were prepared perfectly and provided so much flavor to the dish.
We split the dessert and honestly it was so amazing I wish we both had our own – despite lacking the stomach space for it. Unfortunately, I do not have the exact notes on what this delicious dessert was but it consisted of a cake piece covered in a marshmallow cream and crunchy honeycomb pieces. It was gone so fast and just so well done.
Overall, we loved our meal at L’affaire est Ketchup! We enjoyed how simple and fresh the menu was and it is always fun to know that if we returned, the menu would be completely different. The entrees did not wow us as much as the appetizers did but all the food was very good. The service was amazing – even though there was only one server we have no idea how they kept the entire night running so smooth! Even with our five tables, I can’t imagine what this night looks like when they are at full capacity with ten tables! A wonderful first meal to kick off our trip in Quebec City.