Last year, Signatures restaurant, in the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, unveiled its brighter, more contemporary new look.
From the colour palette (clean, elegant, understated greys and off-whites), design accents (marble floors; wood tile; up-to-date light fixtures; modernized seating), the refreshed, split-level space is a night-and-day improvement.
On the plate, the new menu brings a thoroughly contemporary sensibility rooted in local ingredients. A superb amuse bouche of melt-in-the-mouth braised beef short ribs with red cabbage leads to velvety, deeply flavoured corn soup hiding crisp chicken-stuffed wontons. Sauteed shiitake mushrooms garnish mild coconut chicken soup.
There’s a brilliant salad marrying sweetness (heirloom tomatoes), acidity (salsa verde), fruity (strawberry gel) and salty (queso fresco cheese).
Mains show similar flair. Tender chicken, two ways (roast boneless breast and sous-vide leg) is ably partnered with crisp snap peas and fondant potatoes. Scallops are perfectly seared, their smokiness balanced with apple/beet slaw and kale salad.
To finish, there’s pavlova (crisp meringue nest, whipped cream and summer-sweet berries); lemon cheesecake; pumpkin brulee; and an irresistible selection of cookies; and the savoury side, there’s manchego sheep’s milk cheese macerated in herbed olive oil and partnered with fig jam and honeycomb.
Buyouts will be considered for the restaurant, which seats up to 80 people (lower level is available for pre-receptions). A private rooms seats six.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 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.