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Shopper’s Diary: Le Butterblume in Montreal’s Mile End

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Shopper’s Diary: Le Butterblume in Montreal’s Mile End

July 12, 2017

Tucked between Montreal’s Mont Royal park and Little Italy in the neighborhood of Mile End is a small café with a big vision: to support local flower growers, makers, and designers. Le Butterblume is part boutique, part restaurant, and 100 percent young Montreal.

Le Butterblume’s artisanal ethos fits perfectly into Mile End, a neighborhood of Quebecois clothing designers (who sew onsite), vintage record shops, furniture stores, boutiques, bars, and cafes.

Photography by Christin Geall except where noted.

Owners Nadine Boudreau, Jens Ruoff and Julie Romano. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.
Above: Owners Nadine Boudreau, Jens Ruoff and Julie Romano. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.

Friends and owners Nadine Boudreau and Julie Romano designed the interior of Le Butterblume themselves, commissioning tables and shelving from Montreal woodworker Jérôme Lavoie and lighting from local designer Hamster.

Le Butterblume in Montreal&#8
Above: Le Butterblume in Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood focuses on fresh simplicity in the restaurant’s design.
 Jérôme Lavoie designed and built the retail shelving from local wood. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.
Above: Jérôme Lavoie designed and built the retail shelving from local wood. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.

Le Butterblume serves the early set, opening for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Chef/owner Jens Ruoff makes the restaurant’s homemade bread, yogurt, and pastries. Herbs feature heavily in his cooking and no detail is too small: a drizzle of parsley oil, a smidgen of garlic flower pesto, a sprinkling of snipped chives.

The brunch bar at Le Butterblume.
Above: The brunch bar at Le Butterblume.
A signature neon bloom adorns a restored wall at Le Butterblume. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.
Above: A signature neon bloom adorns a restored wall at Le Butterblume. Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera.
String lights from Hamster conjure a garden patio vibe indoors.
Above: String lights from Hamster conjure a garden patio vibe indoors.

Innovative open sandwiches, egg dishes, and soups featuring fresh regional ingredients give the café a farm-to-table focus. When I visited, the French love for (and refinement of) sauces was in evidence: my radish tartine had a piquant green sauce more reminiscent of watercress or vichyssoise than pesto. My son’s pork ravioli were served floating in chicken dashi and had a touch of allspice, a distinct flavoring popular in the province.

A radish and egg tartine by chef Jens Ruoff.
Above: A radish and egg tartine by chef Jens Ruoff.
Culinary herbs displayed in a fruit basket at Le Butterblume.
Above: Culinary herbs displayed in a fruit basket at Le Butterblume.

The farm-to-table theme and devotion to craftsmanship extends to the small boutique which features local produced aprons, plants, pottery, and cut flowers.

“I wanted to offer customers the option of a single stem or a big bouquet,” said owner Julie Romano. “I love flowers. And people enjoy choosing their own favorites.” Butterblume sources flowers solely from Quebec flower farm On Origine.

 Flowers and herbs from On Origine are featured in the boutique.
Flowers and herbs from On Origine are featured in the boutique.

N.B.: Planning a trip to Montreal? See more of our favorite shops:

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