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.
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
sesame halva, rose loukoum, grapefruit sorbet