Where do you go for doughnuts? Tim Hortons, right? Don’t pretend like you were going to say otherwise, I wasn’t. We love our Tims. There’s one at almost every corner, always there when we need a cheap snack to sustain us for a few hours. But where should we go when we want something beyond machine-made, frozen dough turned into mega-sugary doughnuts sitting out in the open, sometimes for hours on end? That’s easy. Chez Boris in the Mile End.
Young owner Boris opened the doors to Chez Boris a few months ago, and already his Russian-style doughnuts are all the rage. I learned that compared to what we’re accustomed to, Russian-style doughnuts are smaller, yeast-based, and lighter in both texture and sweetness. A firm believer in freshness, Boris’ doughnuts are made by hand (read: with love), never frozen and always fried to order – resulting in a faintly crisp, golden brown exterior met with a puffy, fluffy middle.
All doughnuts are made with the same plain base, and they’re dressed immediately after they’re fished out of the oil. They never have more than three to five kinds of doughnuts on rotation – flavors change with the season and Boris’ mood. Since every doughnut is a light, three-bite wonder and costs a mere $0.75, you can afford to order one of each without feeling guilty! I can confirm that the sugar-coated and choco-cream (semi-dark) doughnuts are an absolute delight, and I have high hopes for the others.
If you look closely at the chalkboard menu, you’ll see a short list of beignewiches for $3.00 apiece. That’s right, never-before-seen (at least in Montreal) doughnut sandwiches – a concept so simple, yet pure genius. Since Boris’ doughnuts aren’t sweet to begin with, they serve as great base for savory toppings. Keep in mind that the doughnuts are small, so each sandwich is too. Five bites and it’ll be a delicious thing of the past.
This porky beignewich, inspired by Momofuku’s legendary pork buns, is not to be missed. Instead of a steamed bun, doughnuts cradle a heaping spoon of braised pork belly, hoisin sauce and green onions. The fried dough provides a gentle crunch before revealing a light and springy center that works wonders with the tender and fatty pieces of pork. The sweet, Asian stylings of Hoisin sauce help cut through the richness and the green onions bring in the fresh. Get it. And then get another.
How’s the beignewich with cured salmon? Pretty good. Knowing what you already know about the doughnuts, it’s got stubby, buttery and salty slices of salmon tamed with a cool dollop of sour cream mixed with plenty of fresh dill. The few pieces of cucumber give it a good crunch.
There’s plenty of room to hang out at Chez Boris, so bring a friend or a book and scoff down a basket of the freshest doughnuts in town. If you need to jet, make sure you rip into them on the go. Again, they’re just tiny little things, so no one will look twice if you decide to eat half a dozen at once…at least that’s what I say to make myself feel better. And don’t forget about the beignewiches, there’s always room for those. Damn, Chez Boris’ doughnuts for the win.
5151 Ave. du Parc | map