Most people in Toronto would likely advise tourists to avoid the Financial District on a Saturday or Sunday. The area bustles Monday-Friday with suits and heels hustling between towering bank buildings…but isn’t the area a ghost town on weekends? While there certainly are not parades of tourists a la Yonge Street, Dundas Square and Yorkville, The Financial District has a few hidden gems worth tapping into on the weekend.
I arrived at Chef Mark McEwan’s Bymark early on a Saturday evening. I had just spent the afternoon checking out a music festival at Harbourfront Centre and was sufficiently sun kissed. A quick 10 minute walk from the Lake and I found myself staring up at towering bank buildings which offered up a steel and glass canopy from the hot sun. The vibe here is refined as sidewalks are outfitted with expensive imported stone and perfectly petite manicured gardens add a slice of calm right downtown.
From Wellington Street, Bymark is a bit of a hidden gem that once discovered unravels before your eyes. The restaurant patio is truly a stunner spilling out from their bar which is outfitted with a wall to wall plush sofa and glass ceiling. I was invited by CocktailDeeva to attend a signature Bymark experience, their monthly #LiquidLab series: a cocktail and spirit centric educational (and playfully fun) seminar.
I connected with the restaurant’s chef in advance as I wanted to showcase a few of the kitchens dishes. I invited CocktailDeeva to join me an hour before #LiquidLab got started to sample a few bites. Twisting her arm wasn’t such a challenge. I was amazed, dazzled and wildly impressed by the stunning plates we sampled. Bymark’s Shrimp Tacos had me dancing in my seat while their foie gras was coyly titled “Liver & Onions” and looked as though it should have been sitting under a glass case at The Louvre. CocktailDeeva and I had good fun letting the chef know with heavy sarcasm how “disappointing each of our dishes was.” The joke was on us as each plate that followed continued to wow. Plump burrata, crispy gnocchi and a mammoth burger quietly put us into a blissful coma. I was so impressed with my experience at Bymark that it now sits on my Toronto’s Top Restaurant List.
From the Dining Room:
“Liver & Onions”
pan seared foie gras, shallots, strawberry jam, celery root puree, pistachio and toasted brioche
crisp beet wrap, citrus spiked aioli and scented soy
Ontario Burrata and Beet Salad
mustard greens, noble #4, pistachio and dill gremolata
Bymark 8oz P.E.I. Grass Fed Burger
brie de meaux, porcini mushrooms, crisp rosemary onion rings
Herb Parmesan Gnocchi
charred spring onions, romesco sauce
Shortly after 6pm the room filled with other media guests. We all hopped up on bar stools and stared down at a table setting fitting for a proper Bourbon adventure. Our bartender Matt Bryan spent the next two hours walking us through the history of Bourbon while preparing three classic cocktails with the spirit which we had an opportunity to help prepare. The kitchen also prepared a trio of nibbles that complimented our cocktails. Find out more info on Bymark’s Liquid Lab Series and be sure to book yourself a fun date night.
Special thanks to the team at Bymark for hosting me as their guest.
Bourbon #Liquid Lab:
bourbon, campari, sweet vermouth
bourbon, sugar cube, angostura bitters, orange zest, water
bourbon, amaro nonino, aperol, lemon juice, orange zest
Grilled Cajun Prawns
Deviled Quail Eggs
pancetta and dill
Bymark Mini Burger
bourbon bbq sauce, crisp onion ring, arugula and aged white cheddar
#487 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.