Restaurant review | Pikliz: dad’s cooking

Through the good shots and, sometimes, the not so good, our restaurant critics tell you about their experience, introduce the team in the dining room and in the kitchen, while explaining what motivated the choice of the restaurant. This week: Caribbean dishes from Pikliz.

Posted at 11:00 a.m.

Eve Dumas

Eve Dumas
The Press

Why talk about it?

Haitian specialties are part of Montreal’s culinary landscape. When curious gourmets move away from the metropolis to make their living in Charlevoix or Gaspésie, they are nostalgic for the griot and the weighed banana! So it’s always nice to see a new Caribbean address spring up in corners where you least expected it, like around the Place-Saint-Henri metro station. Pikliz has been open since November 2019, which in the COVID-19 era still makes it a novelty. We wanted you to discover it.

Who are they ?


PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

Brothers Akim and Abdel Acacia opened Pikliz in November 2019.

Brothers Akim and Abdel Acacia grew up in Montreal. They owe their childhood culinary memories to their father. “His cooking had a Haitian base, but with modern touches,” says Akim. The two men cook, but at Pikliz, it is Abdel who reigns in front of the stoves. Before the opening of the restaurant, he prepared meals to take home. Abdel, he had a tourist project in Haiti which was floundering, in particular because of the country’s political instability. His last trip there was in June 2019. Within months, the brothers who had distanced themselves from each other many years earlier found themselves and set up a restaurant. They moved into a room that served as a daytime café. Of the two businesses, only Pikliz survived the pandemic. The decor has therefore been redone to create a beautiful Caribbean atmosphere.

Our experience

Pikliz

  • The Ti Plézi feeds two people.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    The Ti Plézi feeds two people.

  • The griot, these cubes of pork cooked for a long time in sauce and then fried, is inseparable from Haitian culinary culture.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    The griot, these cubes of pork cooked for a long time in sauce and then fried, is inseparable from Haitian culinary culture.

  • Abdel created this griot poutine that is all the rage.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    Abdel created this griot poutine that is all the rage.

  • Wraps are perfect for a lunch on the go.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    Wraps are perfect for a lunch on the go.

  • The tiny dining room is very welcoming.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    The tiny dining room is very welcoming.

1/5

There are several ways to eat Pikliz: in a hurry, leaving with your griot under your arm, or taking your time on site, in the very small but very welcoming dining room. The last visit took place on a Sunday evening, without press, with a menu to share: the very complete Ti Plézi.

For $45 (10% off on Sundays), two people are entitled to appetizers of weighed bananas to dip in guacamole and puff pastries (one with cod, the other, tastier, with beef). Then come the chicken wings (the wangs) and the breaded shrimp (the shwimps), the unmissable griot, the sticky rice and the macaroni salad. All to wash down with a homemade hibiscus lemonade. Of course, there is also pikliz, this spicy condiment made from cabbage, carrots and peppers, among others, which gives the restaurant its name.

If we had to do it again, we might add a salad or a vegetable dish of the moment, to counterbalance the frying a little, even if it means leaving with even more leftovers!

While we are working on the composition of the perfect bite — rice, sauce, griyo, pikliz… weighed banana, homemade aioli, griyo, plikliz… — other diners settle down in the tiny restaurant. Others come to pick up their take-out order, a gesture that is still very popular here.

Like all Quebec restaurants, the Pikliz suffered from COVID-19. But he also suffered from the post-COVID-19 era. When everything reopened in June, Montrealers wanted terraces and busy streets. It was not a very festive summer at the corner of rue Saint-Jacques and rue Saint-Ferdinand. Also there is now a DJ on Saturday evenings and different “specials” every day of the week. “It saved us,” says Akim.

What are we drinking?


PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

The homemade lemonade is hibiscus.

Here, we drink lemonade, sodas, Cola Couronne. Akim has been trying to get a liquor license from the City of Montreal for a year and a half. We can only wish him good luck.

How much does it cost ?

Our feast for two, with leftovers for lunch the next day, cost about fifty dollars with tax and tip. It’s hard to find cheaper these days. Generous one-person entrees, with two sides, average $18. One day, we’ll go back to try a little Pikliz poutine for $12, with griot and Creole sauce!

Information

Pikliz is open Wednesday to Sunday, from noon to 9 p.m.

4206 Saint-Jacques Street West, Montreal

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