The old Cap-Rouge has been enriched in the last year with a refined but cozy bistro led by the young chef Etienne Nadeau, a great enthusiast of Quebec products.
in home Amber, set in a charming ancestral home, there’s no white tablecloth or formal service. The atmosphere is friendly and festive, as are the owners who greet me with t-shirts and hats on my head.
“It’s a bit like being at home, that’s my philosophy. We don’t pretend,” explains Chef Etienne, 30, who opened the restaurant with his partner Sandrine Grinon, 27. That’s what I like to call it. Have fun eating“.
This cool and convenient style doesn’t mean cooking is taken lightly. on the contrary. The bistrone style menu has been carefully designed and meticulously executed by the chef and his team.
The menu, which includes about ten dishes, changes regularly according to the seasons and supplies. It highlights Quebec land and sea products that the owner knows and loves, such as scallops and lobster from the Magdalen Islands. Ambre also offers wines and spirits from Quebec.
“This idea has always been ingrained, probably coming from my teachers at school, but it is important for me to highlight local products,” says the chef, who studied catering establishment management at Cégep Limoilou.
Complex but simple at the same time
The concept is simple: you order several small dishes to share in good company.
During my visit, I enjoyed spicy beef with delicately seasoned chanterelles, Parmesan cheese, a touch of house-made mayonnaise and tangy mustard seeds.
I loved the Gaspésie halibut, cooked sous vide like the majority of meats and fish served here. It’s placed over a celery remoulade, and accompanied by a wonderful, very light white wine sauce that you’ll want to savor to the last drop.
The star of the evening was the lobster bisque. The crustaceans are incredibly tender, and the lemon mousse, served as a garnish, adds a nice touch of tartness.
Chef Etienne, who is best known for his El Gordito and Recettes Paumées, constantly strives for balance in his dishes and he succeeds.
“There is complexity, research, and guidelines in my dishes, but without adding a lot of flair. “We are still making high-end food, but we don’t want to distort the product,” he explains.
For several months, the latter has been broadcasting videos on Instagram and TikTok in which he casually cooks new dishes on his menu. We feel the full inspiration of web star, Chef Laurent Dagenet, in these delicious capsules.
The familiarity also translates to the service and kitchen, where you can quickly sense the team spirit.
The young team at Amber Bistro, from left to right, Sandrine Grenon, co-owner, Charlotte Giguere, Etienne Nadeau, co-owner, Jean-Simon Dufour, Alexia Caro and Manuel Capas Munster.
Photos by Marianne White
“Customers feel that we are having fun, and they see that our team is close-knit. We feel that through our open kitchen,” says Sandrine.
The equal sharing of tips between all employees, which was introduced upon opening in July 2022, is certainly no stranger to this.
“It’s important to us and I’ve been campaigning for it for a long time,” insists Etienne. The restaurant also received a grant from the Restauration Québec Association for its good human resources practices.
Attracts the organization foodie Local, but also from Portneuf and Saint-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, where this type of “destination” restaurant was non-existent.
4292 St. Felix Street
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30 p.m
“Music guru. Incurable web practitioner. Thinker. Lifelong zombie junkie. Tv buff. Typical organizer. Evil beer scholar.”