The Rumi Grill & Café, one of my go-to places on boulevard Saint Laurent, recently rebranded itself as Rumi Express! (exclamation not mine). This is a puzzling rebranding, and one I’m not too fond of: they’ve moved away from the cozy and affordable Middle-eastern café that was towards more of a lowest-common-denominator fast food menu, though the feel inside the restaurant remains similar. Many interesting Middle-eastern dishes, such as their stunning muhammara dip and saffron chicken, are no longer on the menu. What remains reads like the menu at “Chez Amir,” with burgers, poutines, and some East Asian fusion dishes tacked on. After my initial disappointment subsided, I figured I might as well try their poutine.
Fries: These are nicely-seasoned Yukon Gold skin-on fries, but somewhat brown, floury and stodgy after a while – a little bit of extra crunch wouldn’t hurt. They taste like they’ve been cooked in old oil. 21/30
Gravy: This artisanal sauce beats your average “straight-out-of-the-packet” gravy, with some extra herbs and spices thrown in, but it’s too thin and discrete, failing to add the necessary flavor to the other ingredients. 35/50
Cheese: They use Bergeron Brins de Gouda cheese – this is not my favorite curd, not quite as rich and squeaky as cheddar curds, though the differences are subtle. At least they’ve got more girth than the tiny cheddar curds supplied to most restaurants in Montreal, and portions are decent. 13/20
Verdict: There are better choices on this menu, namely the Middle-eastern dishes.
Price:Decent. $5.99 for a regular poutine.
Opening hours:MON: 11:30AM-3:00PM, TUE-WED, SUN: 11:30AM-9:00PM, THU-SAT: 11:30AM-23:00 (though I have shown up at 22:30 and not been served).
Location: 4403 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Z5. 10 minute walk from Metro Mont Royal.