Chick-N-Waff House's Fried Chicken Cheese Bomb

La Poutine Week 2021 reviews: Part 2

We tried some stellar and highly unorthodox poutines.

The all-delivery edition of la Poutine Week in Montreal continues through Sunday, Feb. 7. Read our first batch of poutine reviews here, and check out our second batch below:

Fried Chicken Cheese Bomb, Chick-N-Waff House

poutine week reviews
Chick-N-Waff House’s Fried Chicken Cheese Bomb (La Poutine Week 2021 reviews: Part 2)

When I saw the Fried Chicken Cheese Bomb (aka La Dynamita) on the menu at Verdun’s Chick-N-Waff House, I thought I felt my heart skip a beat. Now, I suspect the poor thing may actually have been trying to make a run for it. The centrepiece of this poutine is a gigantic, fresh fried chicken breast, filled with a bacon and cheese coulis that literally explodes over a bed of fries and curds, providing the sauce element. One pleasant aspect of this twist on ingredient placement is that the curds had already melted somewhat under the weight of the chicken, so by the time the whole hot mess combined, the gooey factor was at peak desirability. While the fries were probably the weakest link, their crisp-to-fluff ratio carried the charge of the detonation ruggedly. The chicken itself was great, with perfectly crispy skin coating juicy, white meat that suffered neither from over-immersion in grease nor over-reliance on seasoning. My partner in crime noted that it could have used more of the sweet red sauce drizzled over its surface, and I’d agree. I’ll also add that she loved the fries. I was worried that the coulis would taste overwhelmingly of bacon, but actually, the flavour was only hinted at. The whole debris combined had an almost ranch-like kick to it, aided by the just-right amount of chopped shallot sprinkled around the fries. At $19, this poutine is, as advertised, enough for two people. I suppose some might prefer if it also included a more traditional gravy element, but I thought it was just right like this. While I wouldn’t make this a staple of my diet, it’s absolutely a perfect inclusion for a confined Super Bowl Sunday menu or weekend treat. (Darcy MacDonald)

Mayan Poutine, La Tamalera

Poutine Week reviews
Mayan Poutine from La Tamalera (La Poutine Week 2021 reviews: Part 2)

The appeal of “Mexican poutine” has always been lost on me. I don’t know, the Tex-Mex guac, sour cream, salsa on fries thing just kind of misses the point of what, to me, makes poutine good. But there’s no arguing that “Mexican poutine”, for better or worse, is a firmly established (and widely-enjoyed) version of the dish. La Tamalera’s offering for Poutine Week is known as the Mayan Poutine ($16) and is like a really interesting art-imitates-life-imitates-art situation. The concept is like what if we made Mexican poutine Mexican. The Mile-End tamale shop is best known for making authentic Mexican streetfood and the Mayan poutine is really a poutine-ified version of cochinita pibil taco. So really, it’s less of what we’d think of as “Mexican poutine” and closer to pulled pork poutine. Homemade fries are topped with cochinita pibil, an achiote spiced braised pork dish from the Yucatan, squeaky cheese curds, black beans. It’s then garnished with habanero-pickled onions, cilantro and sour cream (crema) which are the typical garnishes for a cochinita pibil taco. The lot is then smothered in a homemade gravy, that I suspect is lightly seasoned with ancho chilli, which gives it a rich and slightly smokey flavour. The resulting dish is really surprising because, functionally, it eats like a classic poutine — fries are covered in a flavourful gravy and squeaky cheese curds melt and get perfectly stringy — and it also tastes genuinely Mexican. The downsides of the Mayan poutine are that the fries were pretty soggy and the black beans felt superfluous — but overall, at 16 bucks you get a generous serving of a decently tasty dish. Personally, I like a classic casse-croûte poutine best, so this isn’t something I’d be likely to order again but if you’re a Mexican poutine fan, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than this. (Clayton Sandhu)

The Mumbaï Poutine, Aux Vivres

Poutine week reviews
The Mumbaï Poutine from Aux Vivres (La Poutine Week 2021 reviews: Part 2)

Another day, another Indian poutine from a beloved local vegetarian chain. After trying out Lola Rosa’s excellent Poutine Week entry (the Vegan Butter Chicken Poutine) earlier this week, I tried Aux Vivres’s Mumbaï Poutine — it was a completely different experience but one that was just as good. At first glance I was concerned that the dish was light on sauce, usually not an issue with your average poutine, but once I dug down under the fries, shredded carrot, red pepper, onion and fresh cilantro garnish and chickpea pakoras, the coconut curry sauce was there like lava waiting to pop. As with the Lola Rosa poutine, the Mumbaï wasn’t spicy-hot, but it was wonderfully flavourful and satisfying to the last bite. Along with the delicious sauce, the combination of crunchy carrots and thick, home cut fries (which are flash-fried and subsequently slow-baked) really sold this unconventional poutine. (Lorraine Carpenter)

To see all 100+ poutines being offered by Montreal restaurants this week (and to vote for your favourites), please click here.

For more on the food and drink scene in Montreal, please visit the Food & Drink section.