Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Baker and owner Jeff Finkelstein has worked in several renowned kitchen like The French Laundry, Toqué, El Bulli, Noma... He is also the main bread supplier to famed restaurants like Joe Beef, Toqué, Buvette Chez Simone. Hof Kelsten is analog to Arts-Is-In bakery where the latter supplies their bread to many fine-dining restaurants and specialized grocery stores in Ottawa and Gatineau. I have been to Hof Kelsten three times. My third visit, I brought the fencing club for a food crawl where we sample their signature bread - rye bread with caraway seeds, strawberry walnut rugelach, fresh mini-baguette with butter and chocolate-walnut biscotti.

Our first visit, we opted for their sandwiches and pastries. I have this rule of thumb: if a chef knows how to make an absolute delicious vegetarian dish (excluding desserts), you know you will have great food. It seems to be true here too. We had the vegetarian open-faced sandwich which consists of a spread of labneh topped with two types of beets and some parsley leaves. The labneh gives a nice creamy texture that balances the acidity and sweetness of the beets. The coriander gives a leafy freshness to the overall sandwich.

The gravlax seems to be one of the popular choices amongst locals. It consists of thick slices of house smoked gravlax served with a dill cream cheese, cucumber and capers. It was light and fresh, definitely worth ordering. The curry chicken sandwich was less memorable as the flavour was somewhat one note.

My second visit was with my friend from Un Voyage Gastronomique. Our absolutely favourite sandwich consists of thick juicy stack of beef brisket topped with apple and red cabbage-beet slaw for crunch and a thousand island dressing to bind everything together.

If you go to Hof, the chocolate babka is an absolute must-order. Layered with chocolate and butter, it pulls apart easily to savour the luscious and rich taste at every bite. You can also reserve your challah bread which are served every Friday.

Vegetarian Sandwich - Labneh, Beets, Coriander on Pumpernickel Bread
Gravlax Sandwich with Cucumber-Dill Cream Cheese Spread
Beef Brisket Sandwich with Red Cabbage-Beet Slaw and Apples
Curry Chicken Sandwich
Chocolate Babka - Hof Kelsten
Chocolate Babka

Strawberry Rugelach
Hof Kelsten
4524 blvd St-Laurent
Montreal, QC
H2T 1N4
Hof Kelsten on Urbanspoon
// //