Le Super Qualité
By Valérie Guerriat

Wandering Foodies

Étienne Clément, Guillaume Lozeau and Jennifer Zachanawich met in the tropical heat of Thailand in the mid-2000s. For several years, they notched up many travels and gastronomic experiences together, until the day they decided to open a restaurant in Montreal.

"We had been on the streets of Singapore for hours in search of the best chicken in town when we decided to go into business together," remembers Étienne. "Our lives already revolved around food. We thought that we may as well take the next logical and natural step with the Cook Caravan, the catering project that Jen and Guillaume had been running for a while in Mile End. I joined their team and we immediately took off."

Back in Montreal, the three nomads settled on Bélanger Street as the location to open Le Super Qualité in the fall of 2016. "We narrowed ourselves down to Indian food, because we had to choose one and because all three of us are lovers of India. Also, we found that apart from the northern regions like Punjab, the country's other cuisines weren't all that well represented in Montreal's culinary scene."

We're all frequent travellers, so Le Super Qualité is like our way of sending our taste buds on a journey while staying put. - Étienne Clément, co-owner
Le Super Qualité is a next generation Indian restaurant that specializes in the cuisines of South India. Here you'll find a menu of original cocktails and a few microbrewery beers to savour in a laid-back, colourful and vibrant setting.

India on your Doorstep

The three partners wanted to settle in an affordable but dynamic neighbourhood. "I think we made the right choice to open here. I just have this feeling it's going to get super hip soon," says Étienne smiling.

He and his colleagues completely renovated the small corner premises that used to be a laundromat. The design of the space was conceived by David Dorkwind and is full of vitality with its vivid colour. The decor evokes the aesthetics of the passenger trains in India, with luggage compartments, sleeper carriage seats, metal fans and other accessories that evoke travel. Famous "tiffin" lunch boxes, repurposed here as lamps, also provide the medium for home delivery of Cook Caravan's creations.

"We have a very large kitchen. That's because at first, we thought we'd be more dedicated to the catering business than to table service... but since the opening, we've been packed pretty much all the time. It's not a bad problem to have," says Étienne. "Meal deliveries are also expected to resume soon, and at the same time, we will be opening at lunch."

Le Super Qualité is a new generation Indian restaurant that specializes in the cuisines of South India. Here you'll find a menu of original cocktails and a few microbrewery beers to savour in a laid-back, colourful and vibrant setting.

Respect, Passion and Diversity

Self-taught and passionate, chef Guillaume has taken several cooking courses taught by women from South India, from the Karnataka region among others, to learn the traditional methods and thus work toward a greater authenticity in his food preparation.

"We may not be from India, but we have infinite respect and a great emotional attachment to the cuisines of India. All three of us have already spent a lot of time there. Everything we do, we do with authenticity and without the slightest appropriation," explains Étienne. The young restaurateur continues by recalling the abundant diversity that gives the Montréal landscape its richness.

"When I was studying finance, I was working in a Greek restaurant run by a Benghali, I ate sushi at Tri express, whose chef is Vietnamese! No one should be shocked that a Quebecer wants to cook something other than Shepard's pie, if it's done with passion and respect."

Le Super Qualité is a next generation Indian restaurant that specializes in the cuisines of South India. Here you'll find a menu of original cocktails and a few microbrewery beers to savour in a laid-back, colourful and vibrant setting.
Photo courtesy of Marc-Antoine Charlebois

Invested and Balanced

The succinct menu at Le Super Qualité changes with the seasons and offers an enticing selection of dishes and cocktails with an Indian flair. There are Chaats and Dahi batata puri, or dosas, succulent lentil and rice pancakes, which are freshly ground in the restaurant. Every week, regulars can sink their teeth into a new variation of thalis, with or without meat.

"What doesn't change is the super quality of our ingredients," says Étienne. "There's no compromise: everything is fresh and made from basic ingredients. We make our sauces, our spice mixes, and so on. Jen controls the bakery-pastry and dessert side of things. As for me, I'm often on the floor, but I always help with the food preparation. It's a good thing we love what we do, because we do it all the time!"

According to Etienne, Guillaume is absolutely inflexible when it comes to quality. That's partly why the team chose its name. "It's a playful name that's catchy; it's easy to remember and it's very Indian. Over there, everything is super this or excellent that," say Etienne. In deciding on this cheeky superlative, Guillaume, Jen and Étienne perfectly illustrate their exacting yet relaxed attitude to their trade. "We do work really hard, but we don't take ourselves too seriously," says Etienne. "We keep a good balance."

Le Super Qualité is a next generation Indian restaurant that specializes in the cuisines of South India. Here you'll find a menu of original cocktails and a few microbrewery beers to savour in a laid-back, colourful and vibrant setting.
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