mtl // izakaya kabocha + mural

Izakaya Kabocha in Montreal

Joyce currently has a slight obsession with Japanese Izakayas. I can't quite remember when it started, but I know that for the past two months at least, she's been trying out a new Izakaya each week. The girl even has a rating system based on sake bombs.

Having never been to an Izakaya myself, it was an honor for her to invite me to have dinner with her. We meet up at Izakaya Kabocha on a Friday night, right in the middle of Montreal's wonderful Mural Festival. Saint-Laurent is bustling with the city's artsy energy, even as a thunderstorm looms about.

After being seated to a table by the open windows, we place our order: Joyce tries the Kabocha cocktail and the red tuna sashimi, while I feel adventurous and ask for the rather decadent-sounding Ikasumi poutine. Her drink, a milky concoction of Baileys and pumpkin syrup, arrives first. Joyce has trouble tasting the pumpkin, but I try it myself and very much enjoy its subtle flavor. Plus, it photographs pretty darn well.

Our main dishes are served, and I'm almost ashamed to admit this poutine is the best I've ever had. On second thought, I have nothing to be ashamed about - it's the québecois who should be ashamed. Isn't it saying something that I had to go to a Japanese restaurant to taste a poutine that's actually good? Anyway, on to the actual food. This interpretation of a poutine consists in a curried squid ink served with shimeji mushrooms atop a bed of perfect fries. Yes, perfect fries - perhaps even better than Frite Alors'! So if you're in town and looking for poutine, I wouldn't even bother waiting in line at La Banquise or squeezing into Patati Patata (which I've both been to for poutine, so I know what I'm talking about). Just try Kabocha's unique take on a traditionally bland Québec staple and you won't be disappointed.

Izakaya Kabocha in Montreal

Izakaya Kabocha in Montreal

Squid Ink Poutine at Izakaya Kabocha in Montreal

After this lovely meal, Joyce and I walk up (and then down) along Saint-Laurent to discover the many food booths, artisans and, of course, the new murals on display for the occasion. You'll find a few of the many new works that have been made this year below. Enjoy!

Mural in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montreal

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