Plaza St-Hubert is seeing yet more action, this time in the form of a crisp new wine bar called Brouillon that swung open its doors over the weekend — courtesy of a pair of unexpected backers.
Brouillon owners Dominic Tremblay and Ludwig Ciupka aren’t restaurateurs, but marketing experts at Montreal creative agency Tux, which they co-founded in 2010. The pair decided to move their agency to the Plaza, on the strip just north of Beaubien, in January 2020, but left the street-facing section on the ground floor of their new office building empty for what they believed could someday make for “a good coffee shop or wine bar,” Tremblay tells Eater. Nearly two years later, and here we are, with Brouillon: essentially a combination of the two.
In the early morning, customers can expect berry and thyme yogurt or curry egg toast, with caffeine sourced from Montreal-based Escape Coffee Roaster. Lunch looks like lobster grilled cheese or a dill cucumber salad and maybe a craft beer or kombucha on tap. And come evening, a delightfully long list of natural wines is ready to pair with sharing plates — among them a dish featuring smoked trout served with fennel, labneh, and potatoes; P.E.I. mussels with chanterelle mushrooms, corn, and polenta; or grilled halloumi with an apricot mustard. The menu is developed with the team behind one of Brouillon’s Plaza neighbours, gourmet grocery store Conserva.
To execute it all, they’ve tapped Joannie Belisle (formerly of nearby brewpub Isle de Garde) as manager, and sommelier Caroline Do (ex-Pumpui, Mesón, Orange Rouge).
As for the space’s design, Tux collaborated with Zébulon Perron, whose work can be seen at some of city’s most striking spots, including Marcus at the Four Seasons and Old Montreal Italian eatery Un Po di Più. At Brouillon, the result is an 80-seat space warmed up with brown-toned leathers, brass fixtures, a grid of raw wood planks on the ceiling, and a large Japanese-style lantern overhead.
“Brouillon” in French means “draft,” a nod to all the brainstorming taking place elsewhere in the building, and perhaps now also within the new haunt. “Food, coffee, and wine are often part of the creative process,” Tremblay says. “You wake up and have a cup of coffee before writing a couple pages, or come up with an idea while sharing a bottle with some friends. We think Brouillon could become part of that process for us.”
But creating another space where Tux employees can convene comes secondary to bringing a “buvette” (wine bar) to the Plaza, Tremblay says. Though home to several bars specializing in beers, most recently one even selling absinthe, Tremblay says, Brouillon would…