Toronto’s historic Distillery District is enjoying a second wave of revitalization. On a recent sun-soaked long weekend I hopped across the cobblestone streets here with my parents to enjoy window shopping through the neighbourhoods stellar design shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries, sake distillery and brewery.
Alessandro Munge, Principal at Studio Munge is one of Toronto’s top design experts who over the past few years has made a lasting impression on the city’s culinary scene via whimsical interior’s at Weslodge, Taverna Mercatto, La Societe, Gusto 101 and Figo.
I had a chance to chat with Alessandro about what’s new in the Distillery District as his firm has recently dazzled the city with two jaw dropping spaces, “The Distillery District is a very special part of Toronto, a unique piece of history and we’re very proud to be part of the team behind its revitalization. Through emotive hospitality designs at bustling Cluny Bitro and El Catrin, we have contributed to turn what used to be a desolated area into a true destination, one of the hottest spots in the city for people to get together. This is the kind of success story we are most happy to share because one can truly appreciate the impact of our work on a greater scale, not only from a creative design perspective but a business and urbanization point of view as well.”
Moments after skipping into the dinning room at Cluny Bistro both my parents and I swooned for the restaurants awesome eye-candy. Inspired by the ornately appointed dinning rooms of Paris, the design blends authentic bistro style with an industrial edge. The restaurant’s enduring qualities are conveyed through the use of lasting natural materials and intricate detailing, including an expansive, raw-wood, open-coffered ceiling; raw metal detailing; and an extensive Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment Program (that saw to the custom design of dozens of intricate bespoke furnishings and millwork).
With an interior footprint spanning nearly 12,000 square feet, Cluny features an on-site Patisserie and Cafe, Lounge, Oyster Bar, central Dinning Room and private events space, in addition to three separate patios amassing 5,000 square feet of outdoor space. Cluny is now without a doubt one of the city’s go-to spots in the summer to sip in the sun!
Cluny’s menu takes a modern approach to French cuisine with a kitchen helmed by Executive Chef Paul Benallick who over the past 20 years has cooked at some of the city’s finest restaurants including Canoe and Auberge du Pommier.
The best time to pop by is on a weekend over the brunch hour. If you’re keen on people watching sit perched on the patio while sipping a frothy latte. Highlights from our fine feast include decadent house-made chocolate almond croissant, stringy French Onion Soup, crispy poach egg topped Chilled Crab Salad, chantilly cream slathered Baked Vanilla and Chocolate French Toast and Vietnamese inspired Pork Banh Mi Benedict.
1) Morning Pastry | selection of daily pastries with butter and jam
2) The Cluny French Onion Soup | gruyere, glazed onions, rich beef broth
3) Chilled Layered Crab Salad | crispy poached eggs, avocado, quinoa, cucumber, lime
4) Baked Vanilla and Chocolate French Toast | macerated seasonal fruit, chantilly cream, maple syrup
5) Pork Banh Mi Benedict | poached eggs, roasted porchetta, pickled veg, grilled sourdough, frites