It was a cool Autumn afternoon when I decided to enjoy a carefree bike ride across College Street and down University Avenue. The tree’s around the university were showing off with vibrant yellow, orange and red. The sun was shining and the skies were indigo blue. I was about to embark on a fun date night with mum celebrating her 59th birthday.
I arrived at the Hilton Toronto at around 4:30pm. I quickly whipped out my camera and iPhone and started taking snap shots of the hotel lobby overlooking freshly redesigned Tundra. I love the open concept of the space, it is easy to imagine floating off the second floor banister and flying around the bar and hovering towards the dining room a la Chirstopher Walken in Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim (please see 2:52).
I sat by the bar ordering two of Tundra’s signature cocktails while waiting for mum to arrive. Hugs and kisses and I handed her their Pom Pom cocktail as we followed the restaurant manager to our seat. A smooth stone sat on each of our place setting napkins to remind us of the restaurants philosophy: to showcase the bounty which reveals itself from Canada’s soil.
We enjoyed impeccable service throughout the evening, starting with a bottle of sparkling water with fresh lime to cleanse the palate and a basket of bread with caramelized onion sour cream for slathering. I would be taking mum to Die Fledermaus at the Four Seasons Centre directly across the road right after dinner so was happy to see that the restaurant had created a prix fixe for theatre goers. By 6pm the dining room filled with what were obviously Opera fans as sequins, gowns and well quaffed hair filled the space.
My favorite season in Toronto is Fall. The sun still remains later into the evening, blue skies abound, sun shines, tree’s fill the sky with a rainbow of inspirational colours and my favorite flavours are revealed. The bounty of Canada’s autumnal feasts elate me: pumpkin, foraged mushrooms, apple and pear, gamey meats and roasted nuts.
Mommie Dearest transitioned to the refinement of 59 years at Tundra. We sipped on fine wines and contemplated the Chef’s many brilliant dishes with focus on flavour, texture and visually arresting contrasts. At our final moment once we had licked our final savoury plate clean the Chef arrived at the table and treated us to a wood plank decorated with an assortment of his favorite desserts. My mothers voice reached high pitch as she squealed her thanks. Paired with the bar’s signature Manhtattan, the perfect cherry on top.
Tundra offers an exceptional cocktail and wine list with a strong focus on celebrating local producers. The service is just as exceptional as the Chef’s patriotic local inspirations You can now find Tundra on my Toronto’s Top Restaurant List.
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites)
Fizzy Fuzzy Navel
peach schnapps, triple sec, vqa sparkling pinot grigio
Pom Pom *
pomegranate liquer, vqa sparkling pinot grigio
Tundra Manhattan *
premium bourbon, late bottle vintage port, maple syrup, aromatic bitters
Sauvignon Blanc *
les jamelles essential, languedoc, france
sussreserve, angel’s gate, niagara peninsula, niagara
a.j. lepp vineyard reserve, peninsula ridge estates, niagara lakeshore, niagara
caramelized onion sour cream
Autumn Greens *
asian pears, walnuts, oven dried grapes, chevre, ginger plum vinaigrette
Crispy Oxtail Agnolotti *
acorn squash paint, crumbled blue elizabeth cheese, spiced pecans, purslane, vincotto
Seared Brome Lac Duck Breast
wild mushrooms, rosemarry roasted onions, port reduction, blueberries, wilted greens, roasted acorn squash
Norther Ontario Rabbit Confit *
pappardelle, curried pumpkin seeds, honey and oyster mushrooms, pumpkin cream spiced veloute, roasted pearl onions
Porcini-Crusted Delft Blue Farm Veal *
chanterelles, polenta croutons, purple mustard, wild currants
Dessert Platter *