Cafe Boulud at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

There is nothing finer than a Friday afternoon feast at the Four Seasons. Aliteration is also absolutely charming. It was a rainy April Friday morning when I marched through Yorkville in search of Chef Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud. I had recently visited the hotel this past winter to sample the offerings at dBar. I was swept away by their fantastic cocktails and colourful food program.

The Cafe sits on the second floor overlooking the hustle and bustle of Yorkville. Locals can be seen sauntering by covered in fur with two or three wee toy dogs on bedazzled leash. The whole neighbourhood is ironic.

We were seated by a window which offered ample lighting on such a dreary day. Iconic pop art by Mr. Brainwash fills the formal space providing a bit of whimsy. Portraits of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Einstein and Bob Marley tip their hat to a neighbourhood known for its celebrity, art dealers and indulgence.

The contemporary street inspired art that hangs on the walls of one of Toronto’s most luxurious hotel restaurants is indicative of the philosophy in the kitchen. Chef Tyler Shedden focusses on offering unpretentious, accessible food using seasonal bounty from Ontario producers. Local themes flow into Chef Daniel Boulud’s four culinary muses: la tradition, classic French “cuisine; la saison, seasonal delicacies; le potager, the vegetable garden; and le voyage, flavours of world cuisines.

Throughout the course of our meal Amanda and I sampled endless bottles of wine perfectly paired with our dishes by Wine Director Drew Walker. We started off with a charcuterie board which reflected the Spring season: wee green tender leaf, with Easter yellow and pink hues. With eager fingers on the stems of our glasses we sipped and nibbled through a fantastically fresh string of appetizers and entrees featuring lobster, crispy duck egg, halibut paired with chestnut gnocchi and a lively and comforting spring pea risotto.

For those of you who have a penchant for sweets the menu here is split into four sections, which make the challenge of choosing just one treat to finish the meal absolutely impossible. We opted to sample one dish from each list with flavours focussing on chocolate (an oozing coulant and crunchy gianduja gateau) and citrus (tart lemon and rhubarb vacherin and grapefruit givre).

And with our last whisper of cream and swoop of our spoons we waddled out the door and into the mist of a drizzly Spring afternoon. On my walk home I couldn’t help but smile. The team at Cafe Boulud Toronto have created a menu which resonates and inspires the season. Blips and blops of Spring on our plates, tricks and treats that tickle the fancy on our palette.

The Feast:

Charcuterie Board

saucisson lyonaise, vension and juniper terrine, chicken liver mouse with ice wine jelly, guinea hen barigoule gallantine, foie gras terrine

Nova Scotia Lobster Salad

coconut, baby gem lettuce, jalapeno and lime gremolata

Crispy Duck Egg

jambon de paris, asparagus, mustard dressing

Nova Scotia Halibut

chestnut gnocchi, trompette royale, sauce meurette

Spring Pea Risotto

preserved lemon, petits pois, pea shoot salad

Steak Au Poivre

dry aged cumbrae strip loin, bone marrow, confit shallot, pommes pont neuf, parsley salad

Warm Chocolate Coulant

liquid caramel, fleur de sel, caramelized milk ice cream

Hazelnut Gianduja Gateau

milk chocolate, crystallized violet, limoncello sorbet

Rhubarb and Lemon Vacherin

lemon mousse, maple sauce, almond and rhubarb sorbet

Grapefruit Givre

sesame halva, rose loukoum, grapefruit sorbet

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