It is through the alley – or the kitchens – that we discover Casa Kaki, the first speakeasy for festive aperitifs and a new project by Franck Nasso.

The owner of the Franck Maison Gourmande caterer, which opened in November 2022 on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the Mile End, knew he wanted to open this hidden location “for sunny days”. The room has the particularity of giving directly onto the back alley. Franck Nasso wanted to keep the friendly, festive and informal side of the place – formerly known as the Parasol wine bar and lobster shack – while adding his own touch.

We can therefore meet at this hidden address for a happy hour – the kitchens close around 8 p.m. – and enjoy many gourmet tapas-type starters. Franck has integrated some classics from his catering repertoire – cod fritters and their homemade spicy lime mayonnaise, gravlax and arancini with peas, mint and lemon zest.

On the menu, there is also a burrata from Puglia with a homemade marmalade of tamarillo, carrots and chimichurri, a scallop ceviche and lobster nachos – the biggest success so far, assures Franck Nasso – with its tortilla chips house and its generous pieces of lobster. You can also enjoy dishes in small formats such as mini-burgers and small lobster rolls.

“I’ve only received compliments on the card so far,” the owner rejoices. The new lair offers a balanced menu, specifies this autodidact, which can suit both those who want to fill their stomachs and those who want to snack while sipping a drink.

Speaking of drinks, we are entitled to a selection of natural or organic wines, privately imported by the owner himself. La Casa Kaki also offers two cocktails that pay homage to the color khaki, the Pepina gin, a gin and tonic with fresh cucumber juice, and the Marga matcha, a matcha margarita.

Franck Nasso was inspired by the jungle and Colombia – where he traveled extensively – for the decor of the premises. A mural depicting a tropical jungle was specially created by Montreal artist Ankh One. Franck even unearthed Colombian crockery, in enamelled and multicolored metal, which he had imported himself thanks to precious contacts. Perfect little dishes for his new creations, he says.

A series of special events, beginning July 1 with Syrian-born Montreal singer-songwriter Nadine Altounji, will be held over the summer. “Slightly quirky things that are very Mile End,” explains Franck Nasso. Already, he is thinking about the future and Casa Kaki could reveal itself in a different light in a few months…