The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds 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!
Today’s #DanielsDish is one that I am so excited to share with you all. For those of you who follow us on social media (@DoTheDaniel on Twitter & Instagram), you’ll notice that this past weekend I joined Catherine for a stay at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto. While she is going to be focusing on the hotel and their amenities as a healthy oasis in her upcoming feature, allow me to tell you all about the upcoming new menu coming to Bosk!
To give you a little bit of context before we get to the delicious new items I had the pleasure of trying, allow me to tell you about Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. A recent decision made by this international hotel & resort chain has truly impressed me and helped to showcase how important corporate responsibility is to each and every location they operate around the world.
“Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts operates 89 hotels around the world in diverse locations – from Hong Kong to Paris, from Tokyo to Sydney, from Kota Kinabalu to Guilin. In 2014 the group introduced Rooted in Nature, a culinary initiative highlighting locally or ethically sourced food offerings. The initiative recognizes the differences in the group’s locations and enables all Shangri-La hotels and resorts to incorporate sustainable items from their unique markets into their menus. Diners can identify Rooted in Nature menu items by spotting the pea shoot logo beside the dish description on a la carte menus in bosk restaurant. Rooted in Nature items on the menu must meet one or more of five guidelines with an ingredient that is prominent in that dish.”
For a company of this size, taking such a stance when it comes to the environment and sustainability shows their dedication to making the world a better place one delicious meal at a time. Initiatives such as this one can be extremely expensive, especially when implemented on a global scale. That being said, despite the cost, the corporate responsibility of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts around the world speak to their integrity. It is one of many reasons why I love Shangri-La Hotel Toronto and it’s sister hotels and resorts around the world. A beautiful hotel and restaurants that are taking a step in the right direction in an industry that might not agree with the financial cost associated in doing so.
So… let’s get to the beautiful dishes that Catherine and I were lucky enough to try on the upcoming #RootedInNature menu at Bosk to help get you excited to try them too!
Sommelier Mark Moffatt created a truly Canadian experience during the evening to compliment the Canadian local ingredients and farms that the menu was tailored around. In supporting local products from coast to coast, the menu was truly able to speak to Canadian quality and cuisine. In kind, Mark was able to pair each course with Canadian wines from (but not limited to) Henry of Pelham, Stratus, Blue Mountain and Mission Hill. All incredible wines made more incredible when paired with the right dishes.
When enjoying a dinning experience such as this one, I would always encourage you to enjoy wine pairings. In trusting a skilled sommelier such as Mark to create an experience of pure joy, you truly get to experience the food in it’s full expression. Wine has the power to add the finishing touches to an already perfect plate in ways that one simply cannot describe in words. It’s a sentiment and a feeling that leave you smiling and amazed to say the least.
Appetizer & Main Course:
Traditionally, I would pick one item from the appetizer and main course to showcase. This time around I will quickly touch on several items to help give you a preview of the menu no one has yet to see and to entice you to enjoy what I have officially deemed my favourite meal of 2015.
The Bosk Caviar Donut is hands down a life changing experience. Pictured above is the moment before Catherine took her first bite of this incredible menu item that once again showcases the skill of Chef Damon Campbell. Atop a fluffy semi-sweet donut, the flavours of chive, shallot & crème fraiche pair perfectly with caviar. To speak to the sustainability of the caviar, it is important to note that “Northern Divine Caviar which is produced by a Western Canadian fishery and is recognized as sustainable by the Ocean Wise Programme. It is the first certified organic caviar produced in Canada and the only in the world that is certified to not contain added hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or GMO’s.”
The Kolapore Spring‘s Farm Trout is one of the most interesting plated dishes I have seen in a long time. Maintaining the overarching Asian inspiration of the hotel, paper thin smoked trout slices are lined along the side of a bowl. Paired with cucumber, the freshness of dill and buttermilk, the dish itself has a balance of bold fish flavours while being refreshing. It was like eating a piece of art, and we very much enjoyed deconstructing the flavours alongside a beautiful glass of wine.
For those of you who are unaware, Sablefish is a beautifully balanced fish that offers a blank canvas to be painted upon with flavour. Seared beautifully and served alongside smoked pomme purée, onion, fennel and mussel cream… this was my favourite dish of the night. A mildly salty dish is balanced with a sweet onion to create a delicate flavour profile once again. Adding a fried fennel chip for both texture and aesthetic left me staring longingly at the dish while it was explained to me. A must for seafood lovers and a fish I would encourage “non-fish” eaters to try.
The next dish is one that was both an adventure and such a topic of discussion. I have never had the opportunity to try squab in the past and was educated on the complex game bird used for the Rooted in Nature Menu. The Roasted Squab was beautifully presented to the table (as seen above) before plating, the meat itself can be compared, as Catherine stated, as a mixture of duck and venison. Served medium rare, it’s texture allowed for a dish focused around fowl to be taken to a whole new level. Accompanied by beet, onion and roasted jus, it tasted earthy and helped to showcase this dish as one of the more adventurous items on the menu. Paired with acidic Pinot Noir, the flavours danced between gaminess and sweet and back again.
For those meatatarians out there, The Cumbrae Farms Dry Aged Beef Rib Eye is… well… perfect. The flavours of the meat are soft and buttery while plated with a decadent short rib croquette, sunchocke, hen of the wood mushrooms and red wine jus. This reminds me of Sunday Dinner with a modern twist and every bite made me smile. There may or may not have been a lot of “Oohs” & “Ahhs” during this course. It’s always so amazing to see how simple and local Canadian ingredients combined together can make you so happy.
The dishes available can and will help to show you that Shangri-La Hotel Toronto’s stance on local, sustainable ingredients is the right decision. Elegantly executed dishes, intelligent wine pairings and a beautiful restaurant in the heart of one of our favourite hotels in Canada. What could be better?
Are you full yet? Cause we certainly were after the above mentioned dishes. But there is always room for dessert to round out a meal in my opinion (though my waistline might not always agree with this stance!). The Caramelized Honey Chiboust was a light option in a world full of heavy decadence.
Flavours of apple, walnut, goat yogurt ice cream combine beautifully for an option that will satisfy your sweet tooth. For those of you who are curious, Chiboust is “crème pâtissière lightened with stiffly beaten egg whites. Though occasionally using whipped cream to lighten it, this is traditionally a millefeuille cream. Crème Chiboust can be flavoured with vanilla, orange zest, or liqueurs.” Thank you wikepedia. What would we do with you?
Secret You Should Know:
Not so much a secret as more of a milestone, but last year I had the pleasure of hosting a dinner at Bosk with media friends and colleagues. #iheartbosk details can be found here, but it was such an accomplishment to enjoy delicious food with friends all while trending in Canada on Twitter!
The power of social media is so important these days and it is why I would encourage you all to follow @ShangriLaTO on Twitter and Instagram. Tweet their account & @BoskTO to tell them which dish you are most excited about using the #RootedInNature hashtag to join in on the social media conversation.
With Shangri-La’s Rooted in Nature initiative, the luxury hotel group aims to:
- support local agricultural and fishing communities,
- buy chemical pesticide-free local produce,
- source from free-range livestock and poultry products where possible,
- acquire sustainably-sourced seafood that are caught through ethical means,
- and serve organic and fair trade products indicated by national and local food safety standards.
A beautiful destination looking to make a difference is truly one that I would encourage you all to visit to enjoy these and other experiences. Make sure to stay tuned for Catherine’s coverage of the hotel & it’s amenities as a healthy oasis coming to DoTheDaniel.com soon!
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my #DoTheDaniel Instagram account.
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.