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!
SpeakEasy 21, 21 Adelaide Street West Toronto, (416) 601-0210(416) 601 – 0210
Whilst in the heart of the financial district, one might not necessarily assume there are many choices for restaurants. Aside from fine dinning establishments in the beautiful hotels and the food courts found below, for a long time options weren’t available to the patrons and visitors to this beautiful area of the city. Soaring skyscrapers and rejuvenation all around, SpeakEasy 21 has laid its claim on this gentrifying neighbourhood as the latest hot spot for financial bigwigs and food lovers alike.
Recently I had the opportunity to join a select few guests for a media preview of the space and sample various cocktails from their beautifully crafted libations menu alongside some of their dishes. In a location that I have walked by hundreds of times, SpeakEasy 21 is set to take the Toronto Financial District by storm once the warm weather arrives and is already making waves in the foodie world.
“Our goal is to educate, entertain and gratify with Libations from the bar and Fare from the kitchen.”
“Cocktail culture” is born anew in the beautiful space next door to one of my favourite hotels in the world, Trump Hotel Toronto. Located on the main level of Scotia Plaza, this iconic new space breaks down the barrier of the local watering hole for the 9-5ers of the city and has quickly become a hotspot in many ways.
Once the gloom and doom of the current “season” lifts, the multi level patio is sure to attracts patrons from near and far. Let me tell you about a few things you absolutely must try on your next visit and why SpeakEasy 21 is sure to create a memorable moment for foodies and cocktail lovers alike.
Infamously known for its cocktail menu, this was a hard choice to narrow down to just one drink that best represents the energy and the feeling I experienced from SpeakEasy 21. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be The Adelaide. A classic cocktail concept with a modern day twist, this whiskey based cocktail is my kind of drink after a long day at the office. Rye whiskey, Maraschino liqueur, simple syrup and bitters combine to create the perfect balance of strong alcoholic driven flavours with just the right amount of sweet. Not for the light of heart, I would recommend this beverage to take the edge off a hard day or just to get a good night going. And than, try a few more while you’re there for good measure!
Although the majority of the food I got to try was in bite size format, that didn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying the flavours they had to offer. For those of you looking for a one way ticket to flavour town, the appetizer to try would be hands down The Croquettes. Braised short rib wrapped in fluffy yet crisp batter with lemon aioli basically sent me over the top when it came to flavours. At first glance, I assumed it to be just another tatter tot inspired appetizer and was quickly proved wrong. Almost sweet meat from the short ribs contrast the salty crusting of batter and play with the creaminess of the ailoi. It may not be sweet, salty and spicy (my perfect trifecta) but it offers one heck of a dish. A must try for those of you looking to enjoy something playful to start your night or pair with a few beverages.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the Latin food trend is taking over and I am perfectly okay with that. For your main course, I would go in no other direction that The BBQ Pork Tacos. Refreshing and messy all at once, this is sure to please anyone looking for something to satisfy the taste buds. Flour tortillas are topped with homemade BBQ pork with just a hint of smokiness, garnished with coleslaw, pineapple & queso fresco. The pineapple really threw me for a loop because traditionally I think of this ingredient as dated and past its prime. However, it offers just the right touch of sweetness to cut through the saltiness of the pork. Wrap it up and get into this dish and I promise you, you’ll be wanting more before the plate is empty.
(insert beautiful photo here that I forgot to take – blame it on The Adelaide!)
Now, with no traditional dessert menu present, I’m faced with a dilemma. What do I tell you to enjoy instead of some decadent delight from the kitchen? At the latest & greatest cocktail bar, the only option would clearly be something fabulous from the libation menu that most people might pass over. The coffee based martini made its name in the late nineties and quickly faded into obscurity with the advent of gastronomy and mixologist. I would challenge this in the age of modern reinvention and classic resurgence. Why not finish the night off with The EspressoTini for a combination of bold espresso with Eristoff Vodka, Patrón Cafe and a sugar stick? Indulge in this sophisticated flavour which combines both the allure of an after dinner espresso and a classic cocktail for a wonderful ending to a wonderful dining experience.
Secret You Should Know:
The beautiful patio that might be overlooked and under appreciated until the sun arrives (anytime now Mother Nature!) is my #DanielsDish secret for you all. Not only are the beautiful Cabanas waiting to come out to play, but they will also be available for private events and bookings since the entire outdoor space is fully licensed. I can guarantee you will find Julio & I in one of the beautiful cabanas for events to come this summer or just to enjoy a romantic night for two over well executed libations and fare.
This new hot spot is sure to entertain some of the most elite people in Toronto, but the best part of SpeakEasy 21 is that its flare and fun approach to what it does so well is also approachable by people like you and I. So why not head down to Toronto’s Financial District the next time you’re in the mood for something just a little different and enjoy an evening you won’t soon forget!
Make sure to tweet @SpeakEasy21 to tell them which cocktail tickled your fancy and/or which dish you loved.
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my Instagram!