Markland Wood Golf Club, in a leafy corner of Toronto’s Etobicoke suburb, welcomes non-members to book functions and events at the private club’s facility, which, after a thorough renovation some years ago, features a beautiful dining and function area and the equally welcoming Oak Lounge.
Boasting huge picture windows overlooking the first tee and fairway, the Oak Lounge, tastefully outfitted with mustard walls, dark-wood wainscoting and beige-patterned tablecloths, splits the difference between formal and casual. A semi-circular bar bisects the snazzy room.
At dinner in the lounge on a recent Tuesday evening, the meal began with the daily soup — silky, intensely flavoured tomato, one of the better versions I’ve had in a restaurant.
Linguine pomodoro, with its perfectly al dente pasta and chunky, sweet sauce, built on San Marzano tomatoes and fragrant, finely chopped herbs, tasted like it came from an Italian grandmother’s kitchen.
Rich and fragrant coconut curry bathed moist chunks of chicken garnished with grilled naan and cucumber-yogurt raita.
A deeply flavoured thyme rosemary jus complements 12 oz. black Angus New York striploin accessorized with earthy mushrooms and rosemary-dusted fingerling potatoes.
I took advantage of the Oak Lounge’s Tuesday night all-you-can-eat food station. Part of the weekly Tee Off Tuesday feature, the station, manned by a chef, offers options such as pasta, tacos and stir fries. This night, it was tacos, and what a feast it was. First up was a quartet of salads — Caesar; mixed greens; quinoa with black beans; and cherry tomatoes with bocconcini cheese.
The taco spread was impressive: three proteins (cooked shrimp, chicken and striploin), which the chef quickly sautées with onion and red and yellow peppers, and then pours into soft wheat tortillas lined with shredded lettuce. Next step is to load up the taco with garnishes that include guacamole, chipotle mayo, pico de gallo, sour cream, and shredded cheese. Final step is to inhale the taco.
This is a fun and delicious dining option — and good news for groups, because the golf club’s catering and events team is “very flexible” about creating similar food stations for meeting and event groups’ functions.
On the Oak lounge’s dessert menu, there was rich and smooth chocolate crème brulee, and terrific apple caramel rolls, two large, cigar-shaped, cinnamon sugar-dusted pastries stuffed with warm cinnamon-scented apples and garnished with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Group dining options include the main banquet room accommodating 200 people and a boardroom hosting 10. The banquet room can be subdivided into spaces hosting 90 and 50.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 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.