October 1, 2020
To go or not to go? If you are deciding, factor in that the establishments featured in Hotel Intel have instituted new physical distancing and sanitation protocols.
The dynamic town of Bromont is a superior destination for food, sports and wellness, all a mere 50 minutes from the Samuel de Champlain Bridge. It’s so handy that Montrealers can pop down for lunch or a few hours of skiing or snowboarding — day or night — followed by a gourmet dinner or a restorative spa sojourn. But staying overnight allows time to experience it all.
The main street of Old Bromont is a walkable collection of cute shops, including Bibop et Loula for accessories, Jouets Toucan for toys, La Maison Oléa for natural soaps and skin products and Ema Rose for home decor. I always find something — at an amazing price.
Lodging: Martin Delsaer and Julie Boucher bought Auberge Nuits St-Georges, a heritage inn in Old Bromont, in the autumn of 2019, and then had to close a few months later because of COVID-19.
But all was not lost. Delsaer, a furniture designer and master carpenter, used the downtime to restore the 1881 brick treasure. Easy peasy. Besides woodwork, he also happens to know plumbing, electricity, plaster and paint. He has transformed the public spaces, spruced up the garden and the hot tub, and has almost finished the inn’s nine rooms and suites.
Most have been redone in pearl grey, with pure white sheets, so the look is serene and simple. To add a touch of shine, Delsaer brightened the spaces with pewter lamps and mirrored accent furniture. He has renovated the living room, which has a fireplace, a TV, a small library, board games and a vintage mural of Bromont, circa 1900. The redone breakfast room is outfitted with sturdy tray tables for serving with physical distancing; he has added café tables to each room for guests who prefer to eat privately.
Auberge Nuits St-Georges sits on a good-size piece of land, and it takes a team of six employees to handle outdoor maintenance, housekeeping, reception and breakfast. We know the food is made with love — Delsaer’s mother, Nicole Lanciault, is in the kitchen on weekdays. The menu is straightforward: juice, fruit, filter coffee, eggs, a yogurt-granola parfait and her specialty, French toast.
Cuisine: Bromont’s gastronomy takes country dining to a new level. La Pérouse is an intimate hideaway in a quaint, nearly 100-year-old house, with four petite dining rooms (all distanced), plus a lively summertime terrasse.
This gem is run by chef Arnaud Rohr and sommelier Caroline Gandelin. The couple named their establishment after the village where they met in their native Jura, France.
Rohr’s cuisine is rich and delectable but light. It’s classically French, but with artful modern presentations and Quebec ingredients. On the wine front, Gandelin has fashioned a list that is strong on French, but also with private imports from many countries, including Lebanon and Portugal.
Lunch main courses cost $15 to $40. For dinner, starters (approximately $7 to $19) might be foie gras on gingerbread with figs; sweetbreads poached in cream and caramelized with maple; scallops from Quebec with leeks and a smoked salmon sauce; or beets with pine nuts and goat cheese. Main courses ($28 to $49) include lamb chops with a pistachio crust; shrimp and scallops with a lemon emulsion; and signature dishes like braised veal cheeks, venison, veal kidneys and calves’ liver.
Day or evening, the feast ends with Quebec cheeses and decadent desserts of lemon, chocolate or ice cream. (450-534-5557, laperouse.ca; Wed.-Sat., lunch and dinner; open Sun. for lunch.)
Auberge Nuits St-Georges collaborates with several worthy restaurants. Le Cellier du Roi is a well-known spot for fine dining and cultivated wining, located in the clubhouse of Le Royal Bromont golf club (450-534-4653, royalbromont.com; nightly from 5 p.m.). Fondissimo, a fun BYOB bistro, serves creative fondues with cheese, meat and fish (450-534-9988, fondissimo.ca; Thurs.-Sun., from 5 p.m.).
Comme Chez Soi is another bring-your-own-bottle restaurant, with takeout, delivery and table service. It’s casual, but with interesting takes on lobster bisque, baked goat cheese, salmon tartare and wild boar. (For inn guests, $55 for four courses; 450-534-0101, commechezsoi.ca; nightly from 5 p.m.).
If you go
Bromont: 877-BROMONT/877-276-6668, tourismebromont.com.
Eastern Townships: 800-355-5755, easterntownships.org.
Auberge Nuits St-Georges: 450-534-0705, auberge-georges.com; 792 Shefford St., Bromont; $169-$239 for two (summer, winter, holidays), including breakfast, bicycles (cruiser or tandem), coffee corner, Wi-Fi, hot tub, electric car charging, massage space. In spring/fall, discount for multiple-day visits. Package with Balnea Spa (balnea.ca).
Source : Rochelle Lash, Special to the Montreal Gazette