The InterContinental Yorkville, in Toronto, has just introduced a unique group program option: A “Dine in Around” enabling groups to design their own experience around a six-course tasting menu that can be eaten either in a single dining space, or in multiple dining rooms, at the property. It offers the variety of a dine-around, but with all-under-one-roof convenience.
Groups could, for example, begin with the menu’s two appetizers in Proof Bar; move to Signatures restaurant, for the main course; and finish up at Proof Skylounge, the tastefully appointed patio, for cheeses and dessert.
Skillfully spearheaded by Emmett Brett, restaurant chef at elegant and airy Signatures restaurant, the six-course tasting menu leads off with a sophisticated salad of compressed watermelon, watermelon granité, beets and tomatoes, each perfectly fresh and sweet, and each cleverly counterpointed by subtle salty elements courtesy of crumbled feta and black olive dust.
A cube of pork belly, cured for 24 hours and cooked confit-style until it’s sweet and soft, is further animated by three variations of apple: raw slivers; puree; and tiny caramelized cubes.
Scallops, pan-seared until they’re smoky, tender and mahogany crusted, perch on creamy risotto, pink from pickled beets.
Fingerling potatoes and a garden’s worth of spring vegetables lean against chunks of fork-tender pan-seared Angus beef.
And then a plate of two superior Canadian cow’s milk cheeses — sharp, tangy Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, from P.E.I.; and rich, mushroom-y, triple crème-style Riopelle, from Quebec — paired with baguette slices, honeycomb and quince preserves.
The chef’s creation dessert trio is a study in chocolate: Uncommonly delicate and velvety mousse, barely sweet; a second silky mousse, this time perfumed with coffee; and thick, chocolate-hazelnut ganache.
Each course is plated with finesse and picture-perfect attention to detail. The eye eats first, and on this night, both the eye and the palate dined impeccably.
For The InterContinental “Dine in Around” and tasting menu experience, the optimum size is groups of up to 24 people, which allows for three different dining locations.
For groups of between 25 and 60, the hotel can offer a maximum of two locations for the “Dine in Around.”
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,500 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.