In the mood for brunch but tired of the same old eggs benedict, bacon and pancakes? Looking for some exotic cuisine to add to your plate? Look no further, we have the perfect solution to satisfy your curiosity!
A quartet of talent and a shared idea
Take two brothers, Jojo and Toddy Flores, internationally renowned DJ's and co-founders of a club called Peopl (among others), one of their friends Julian Somera (local dentist), and David Pendon (wine specialist at the Oenopole Agency), add the passion of four Filipino-Canadian friends who want to share their traditional family dishes and you get Junior Restaurant! That’s how this unique place, with a strong personality, popped up west of Griffintown in 2014. We went for weekend brunch; here are five reasons you should also check out Junior.
1. The colorful and casual street-food atmosphere
As soon we walk in we spot two turntables at the center of the restaurant…the Flores brothers haven’t strayed far from their first passion! The place is filled with colorful furniture and gives the impression of being in a "carinderia", typical street food shops in the Philippines. The four co-owners decorated the restaurant themselves, while the walls and visuals were made by Montreal artist Gene Pendon. There’s a youthful atmosphere here, and Jojo Flores, who was running the place that day, was going from table to table greeting his friends and customers and making sure everyone was having a good time.
2. The traditional and comforting cuisine
The foursome at Junior recognize Filipino restaurants are rare in Montreal. In fact, they are the only ones on the south side of the island! That's why they put all their hearts in their food!
"When you come here to eat, it's as if I invited you to my house and was cooking you meals I eat with my family", says Jojo, smiling.
The plates we were brought felt like exotic "comfort food"! The Philippines’ Spanish colonial past is also very apparent in the food, as was the case with the adobos, braised meats in soybean vinegar sauce.
On the advice of Mylène, who has served brilliantly since the opening, we tasted the "Fried chicken and waffles." Chunks of "Jolibee-style" crispy fried chicken, it’s a very popular dish in the archipelago, all accompanied by tasty waffles and tasty small fruits. With that, try a "Suman", coconut milk rice pudding flavored with banana leaf and light caramel, absolutely delicious!
3. A clever and enticing drink menu
Of the four pillars at Junior, David Pendon is responsible for what completes the meal, and we trust this trained sommelier won’t disappoint! He presented us a list of light wines, including a white wine from the Greek island of Santorini, which is a big hit. But don’t forget the beer menu! Although the spotlight is on Quebec microbreweries (Dunham, Castor, Trou du Diable, etc), the Jeepney, a Filipino lager, is much more refreshing! The choice is yours!
4. A beautiful terrace for dining in the sun or enjoying an evening drink!
While discussing wines and beers, we were told about the terrace at the back of the restaurant. Yes, behind the main dining area there is a very charming beer-garden. Grab a table and some good beers and you’ll feel right at home!
5. Brunch and turntables
The four employees brought their know-how to Junior, so it isn’t surprising to see them behind their turntables in the DJ booth. The day of our visit, the Flores brothers were rocking a quiet beat, but during their "Rice & Shine" events, different DJ’s are invited to mix at brunch time. Follow their events!
1964 Notre Dame Street West
Photo Credits: Frédéric Ryan - Instagram (@feddomtl)