The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds in this amazing city to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy?
Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them my choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
This episode of Daniel’s Dish is a bit different. This one features the #iheartbosk dinner I hosted alongside the incredible bosk restaurant located at the iconic Shangri-La Hotel Toronto. This dinner was something I have been planning for months behind the scenes. Alongside The Shangri-La Hotel Toronto team, we brought together a group of people I hand picked from various fields to best represent their blogs and areas of expertise. Each and every one of them brought something unique to the table and was an asset to an event that none of us will soon forget.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is a luxury hotel and one that I frequent quite often for events. When we sat down months ago to start planning the #iheartbosk evening, the level of dedication and precision to their craft blew me away. From start to finish, no detail is too small. From the moment you walk into the lobby and experience the hint of lavender in the air to the romance of candle lit evenings in the Lobby Bar, this is a must for every single person who lives in and visits Toronto. It’s hard to explain the sense of intimacy juxtaposed with the grandiose nature of this hotel. It is something to be experienced, to be felt and to be enjoyed.
Our small group of influencers gathered in the hotel before the evening ahead and were led on a tour of the hotel amenities. From Lobby Bar with its stunning full wall fireplaces and live music to the history of the bird living in its ornate cage by the entrance off of University Avenue. My favourite part of the tour was the sneak peak to the not yet revealed Garden Suite. This stunning room made you feel as if you stepped into paradise. With Shangri-La Hotel Toronto unique Jasmine Tea steeped and ready for us (a feature of every hotel room by the way), we toured the new space. A private garden, luxury finishings and the most romantic four post bed I have ever seen… The Garden Suite embodies what Shangri-La Hotel Toronto sets out to accomplish; luxury and finesse for each and every guest.
After we had lavishly toured a suite we now all want to stay in, we headed back downstairs to bosk for a much needed cocktail. So let’s get dinner started, shall we?
Traditionally I would ho and hum over which cocktail I chose and why I chose it. For this evening, the choice wasn’t mine and it was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy each and every moment. We had the chance to try the two newest drinks to hit the bosk cocktail menu, both hockey themed and inspired. I am still mulling over which one is my personal favourite, so why not tell you all about them both and you can chose for yourself.
The Power Play Cocktails were comprised of two very different drinks. The “Hat-Trick” breakfast cocktail is a play (pardon the hockey pun) on the classic Bloody Caesar. With your choice of Gin, Vodka or the adventurous Tequilla, flavours of Clamato, house made hot sauce & worcestershire mix beautifully. The secret lays in the finishing touch of locally brewed lager to smooth these combative flavours into submission. Garnished with one of my favourite things on the planet, bacon, this packs a punch.
The Zamboni (which btw, I learnt the machine was invented in California and not Canada. Very confusing indeed.) combines sweet, as opposed to savoury, in perfect harmony. Southern Comfort, Bacardi White Rum and orange juice make me think of sunshine. Surprisingly I really enjoyed this cocktail, which is strange because normally I don’t lean towards the sweet end of the cocktail spectrum. Both are beautiful and part of the newest menu as BOSK. If you’re like me and slightly indecisive, I would recommend both because who couldn’t use two cocktails in a beautiful bar these days?! An added bonus is that with the clientele of both the bar and the hotel, there are always beautiful people to be seen.
Not to mention an evening paired with award winning wines from the award winning Sommelier Mark Moffatt, we were in good hands.
The difficult part of this tasting menu is going to be picking just a few menu items for you as my personal recommendations. With items ranging from the ever popular Caviar Donut to the ornate presentation of various snacks, each and every dish that Executive Chef Damon Campbell composed for his menu elegantly illuminates his passion for food. I have said it before, and I will say it again; food can change the soul with a single bite. It is meant to be fallen in love with and transport you around the world. Food is romance and you all know well enough by now how much of a hopeless romantic I am.
If I had to pick one stand our item that I keep dreaming of and yearning for more, it would be The Caviar Donut. I looked down at this delicate dish which was topped with northern divine caviar contrasting against a sweet donut and fell in love. Buttery in flavour and not as agressive as you would expect, the dish spoke to the menu as a whole in its balance and beauty. Both as equally important at bosk. At the end of the day, we eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths.
Being that our menu was designed in a way that was meant to feature numerous items all at once, There was no clear “appetizer” or “main course.” There was of course an escalation of flavours and intensities which occurred. The two dishes which stand out in my mind for dinner at bosk would be The Lobster and The Lamb. A classic battle between seafood and red meat. So, coming from a meat lover, I wonder if you’ll be surprised to learn that my favourite of the two was The Nova Scotia Lobster.
Combining sweet lobster meat amid fresh made potato gnocchi, mushrooms and lobster emulsion. And the icing on this proverbial cake was the shaved black truffle that finished the dish. I was in sensory overload. Albeit a small portion, the decadence and sensual flavours of this dish were just the right amount. Balance, balance, balance. I cannot stress this point enough for each and every dish that I savoured.
One of the most important parts of a meal in my mind, a good dessert can complete a meal while a bad one can ruin it. In the beautiful #iheartbosk fashion, which had been flawless in every course and every wine pairing thus far, dessert did not disappoint. A plated poached rhubarb once again channelled the upcoming spring sun with a sweet and tart mixture. Almond and citrus brought both an earthiness and sharp balance. Do I sound like a broken record yet? Well so be it, in the name of good food I will sacrifice my thesaurus to get the point across.
Honorable mention MUST go to the presentation of Cherry Blossom Tree & Kisses. Cherry Blossom branches with clouds of cotton candy adorned the table. With USB keys hanging that shimmered in the candle light holding information about the food and the wine, the room and the hotel… And all I could think about was the cotton candy and how I would tell you about it! Thankfully they proved to be quite useful in reminding me of every flavour and every sip from that night one week ago.
Secret You Should Know:
The secret isn’t really so secret… but rather something I am very proud to share. The dinner was such a success that it was not only trending on Twitter in Toronto, but became the #2 topic trending in Canada. Thanks to the power house guests that joined me for the night and the most tantalizing dinning experience I have had of 2014, we achieved a social media benchmark that should not be scoffed at. Ten beautiful people amid a beautiful restaurant and hotel became the second most talked about topic on Twitter in Canada. THAT is something to brag about! I have very talented and inspiring friends and each of them made all the hard work worth it. To each of you who sat around the table with me throughout the evening, I offer my sincerest and most heartfelt thanks. And for those of you who followed along on social media, I am grateful for your support. The evening was a success because of you all and I cannot wait to do it all over again soon!
For more behind the scenes from our #iheartbosk evening, make sure to check out the official Facebook album of Shangri-La Hotel Toronto’s Facebook page. And ofcourse, for all things Shangri-La Hotel Toronto (and some amazing contests!) follow @ShangrilaTO & @boskTO!
Whether you’re in the mood for one of the best High Tea experiences in Toronto, drinks with friends after work, or the brand new brunch menu, bosk is the place to head in Toronto. A #DoTheDaniel must!
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my Instagram.
Photos: Daniel Desforges & Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
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