Coming out of a business meeting in Old Montreal and without much time for lunch, I weighed the balance of my options. There was, of course, no shortage of fast food choices scattered about me, but I was hungry for something better than another burger or slice of pizza. And then it came to me: I could eat a lobster roll at the MuvBox on the docks of the old port. But when I arrived there with my appetite for lobster in hand, I realized that the original MuvBox now has a little brother that serves an entirely different kind of sandwich.
MuvBox Porchetta derives from the same concept as its predecessor - namely, a restaurant that operates out of a recycled shipping container - and is located just steps from its lobster-slinging older sibling. The container itself is spectacularly adorned with a large painted effigy to pork love, so there's no mistaking what one might find within. The place is charming, spilling over as it does with the beauty of the old port, and the swell of cyclists, skaters and pedestrians waiting in line to place their orders know it. If only I'd had more time to deposit myself on the beautiful terrace set up to serve both restaurants. The MuvBox is a Quebec-born notion that has now been exported to Toronto, New York and Paris. It's the resurrection of the corner canteen that used to serve French fries, but in a modern and trendy fashion.
Unfortunately, there's no wine available at the MuvBox Porchetta, but that will surely change soon.
The menu here is very simple. Through it, restaurant owner and concept creator Daniel Noiseux celebrates a distinctly Quebecois product that's known worldwide for its quality. I speak, of course, of Quebec pork. You have two choices of the stuff here: a porchetta sandwich or an Italian sausage sandwich. You can also order rapini or potatoes with rosemary. I settled on the porchetta sandwich, reasoning that I could order a sausage sandwich elsewhere, anytime. Made of pork braised for several hours and based on a recipe from central Italy, the porchetta sandwich is served on fresh ciabatta bread. The pork itself is juicy, very tasty and nicely complemented by the simple arugula that is its crown. Tomato sauce, aioli and a spicy pesto sauce are also available for a $1 extra each. The small porchetta sandwich sells for $5; the larger is $8.
The service is friendly and performed with good humour. The time waiting in line is blessedly short, and the sun in the old port speeds the wait sweetly.
360 Common Street West (Angle McGill)