Le Bowhead’s concept is hardly out of the ordinary for Montreal. We are used to the odd vegan joint, and the Plateau especially is lousy with options for ethical eating. We were vegan before it was cool, then we got into tartars and then vegan back again, all before Gwyneth was a thing.
However, what makes Bowhead stand out is two-fold: first, its in the middle of Douchebaggistan, the amazing two blocks on St-Laurent between Pins and Sherbrooke where only the most Axe-body sprayed dare lurk, leading us to question the wisdom of placing a vegan joint in the vortex of toxic masculinity in this town (outside of Crescent at any rate, or as I affectionately call it, Douchetopia), and two, walking in, you would not know that you are in an exclusively vegan place.There’s no hippy crap on the walls. There is no peace and love, live-love-light macramé art work, or dying spider plants lurking in dark corners begging for sun, or yellow paint and mandalas.
You are instead welcomed by a sophisticated interior, a decently priced menu and good lighting creating an inviting after work vibe to get a few pints in and some epic snacks with friends. You are in a pub, like in any pub, and the fact that it is the only vegan pub in Montreal is merely incidental to what they are all about.
The food is yum. The cheese sauce is surprisingly cheesy and the texture is spot on. The beyond meat burger, served on a brioche bun is damn good. The mushroom-based ‘chicken’ wings with curry ‘mayo’ are to die. As a vegetarian, I am SO appreciative that not everything is a soy-bomb. While I love tofu, there is no getting around the fact that only having soy options is a challenge to the digestive system. You can even get a vegan Cesar. What the heck, Bowhead? You are winning all over the place.
My only questionable tries were the Fritos Pie, as I found the texture of the ‘meat balls’ to be a little spongy and it was very hard to eat. While it might look impressive coming out of the kitchen, being served directly in a Frito bag, the centre is dripping with cheese sauce, even as the sides have no toppings to speak of. Also, the aforementioned Cesar (mind you, had a virgin), was missing some umami, but all in all, 100% will go back and will bring friends, especially the carnivores who don’t think that they could possibly like the vegan option.
I am excited about this place. It’s good and doesn’t take itself so earnestly seriously that it feels like a thing. It’s the kind of place that you can become a regular at and is priced so that becoming a regular won’t bankrupt you. Go check it out for yourself, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around too.
Le Bowhead open now at 3723 St Laurent Blvd.