Last Thursday, I had lunch at Le Clocher Penché. This restaurant is on the corner of St. Joseph-Est and Caron streets in Québec City’s St Roch neighborhood. Slightly outside of the historic heart of the city, the only tourists here are those who have done their homework.
I am a sucker for salmon, so the salmon tartare was the obvious choice when I picked up the midday menu. And I was not disappointed. It was a healthy portion – always a plus for this eater – with a delicate taste. It came with marinated, multi-colored beets, and shards of grapefruit that set off the flavor of the salmon. My tartare was preceded by an impressive house salad, but I must admit that I coveted my associate’s cream of broccoli soup.
I had made a reservation the night before, a precaution that turned out to be absolutely necessary; they were turning away walk-in traffic. My chair was backed up to the restaurant’s western windows which acted like a kaleidoscope, casting a pattern of shadow and light onto the white tablecloth in front of me.
The bistro takes its name from Notre-Dame de Jacques-Cartier church which is situated on the opposite corner. Its leaning bell tower – clocher penché – inclines ever so slightly toward the back of the church. Built in 1851, this church was one of the only buildings to survive a fire that ravaged the St. Roch and St. Sauveur neighborhoods on October 14, 1866.
I recommend this restaurant highly. I will go back as soon as I can.