Tag Archives: restaurants

Colette Grand Café: Review

28 Aug

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My introduction to Colette happened in the casual bakery-cafe section of this new Thompson Hotel establishment. Though the restaurant serves a wonderful menu of modern French dishes, having first heard of Colette through an encounter with a delight sample of their double chocolate cookie, I was anticipating another exquisite experience of its French pastries and viennoiserie.

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Visiting Colette Grand Cafe is like suddenly finding yourself in Southern France—inspired by that idyllic region, the dining room also features hints of the countryside with a predominantly yellow, blue and white palette, reclaimed-wood furniture, and a large wooden bookcase in the middle that displays china dishes while also serving as a space partition.

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I enjoyed the fact that the property is loosely divided into a bakery-cafe, a lounge and a formal dining room. The transition between each functional space is seamless and mostly conveyed through the use of subtly shifting decor. While the library-style lounge features beautiful reclaimed-wood tables, inviting wingback armchairs, and kitschy knick-knacks, its formal dining room appears more polished, but also having the same natural wood and soft blue tones carried over.The bakery-cafe is airy, with plenty of seating, barrel vaulted ceilings, and hand-painted tiles. Customers are free to choose from an enticing array of pastries and confectionaries at the counter before choosing a comfy banquette to sink into.

The profiterole creation was a perfect combination of buttery, flaky, and creamy—the oddest balance of purity and decadence. I was impressed with the quality of ingredients used in the cookie sample I received before visiting Colette’s and that’s what primarily drew me to another visit. I was not disappointed with this particular choice and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a healthy sized dollop of mascarpone cream with his or her afternoon coffee. The chocolate stone, unfortunately, looked and sounded more impressive than it actually tasted. Filled with dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate whipped cream, cocoa nibs and flourless chocolate cake; I would say this one lacked the complexity and decadence of the profiterole—an unexpectedly one-note dessert that didn’t quite hit the mark for this chocolate-enthusiast. As for Colette’s coffee, I imagined that most bakery visitors would wish to accompany their sweet selections with a coffee or espresso. Which is why I was surprised and disappointed to be served a rather average cup of cappuccino and a rather disagreeable double espresso served without an espresso cup. Continuing the same theme of average, the classic butter croissant was also underwhelming.

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Overall, I liked my experience at Colette’s just enough to believe another visit may be worth while, especially for a full lunch or dinner next time. However, it seems as if it’s decor and atmosphere definitely stole the spotlight from the food.

550 Wellington St. W., 647-348-7000
colettetoronto.com
@colettetoronto
Owner: The Chase Hospitality Group
Chefs: Executive Chef Michael Steh, chef de cuisine Matthew Swift and executive pastry chef Leslie Steh

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Review: La Carnita

28 May

Hello this is Calvin! Megan is forcing me to write about our dinner at La Carnita. Instead of asking me nicely to write about our food adventures she just issues vague threats to me every few hours or so, which, I dunno, seems to working thus far so good for her I guess. Prior to La Carnita we were at High Park looking at cherry blossoms through our phones/camera lens, which turned out to be pretty meh since you really are just crowding around a bunch of pink trees with a bunch of other asians. I’d wager you’d get more out of it if you had a picnic there, or a ball to throw around, or something other than just going there to take photos of the cherry blossoms, because you’ll soon realize that they all look…the same. Anyway, we got hungry and headed to La Carnita despite much protestation from both of us because we are lazy and the restaurant was far (and we took the subway down so we didn’t have a car), so much so that we called Arthur (who was in Markham) and asked him to have dinner with us in order to manipulate him into driving us to our destination. Before we could reach him though, we somehow ended up on the subway and were already well on our way to our dinner. Arthur came down anyway.

La Carnita, like a lot of restaurants (for whatever reason) do not have signage out front that explicitly state the name of the establishment, which can make it a pain to locate them sometimes. Luckily, the exterior of La Carnita is all black, with a white Day of the Dead skull on the side of the awnings; the placemat at the front spells out the word GRINGO in bold white type. Pretty sure we were in the right place.

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I was a little bit disappointed when the hostess greeted us in English instead of Spanish to go along with the whole theme. Not that I understand any Spanish of course, but panic and confusion and desperate glances at your friends and awkward smiles are part of the fun when trying new things. We were seated near the back and very quickly settled ourselves and started to comb through the menu.

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The menu is anchored by a healthy selection of tacos (which the waiter recommended 2-4 for each person), complimented by a variety of starters and desserts. We ordered the Mexican Street Corn and Rice & Corn Frituras for starters, and since there were 3 of us, we ordered one of each taco (there are 6, excluding that of the daily special). The starters came and they were all well and good, although the corn was probably a bit overpriced at $8 for 2 pieces. The frituras were like Mexican takoyakis, only stuffed with brown rice and corn instead of octopus.

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Our half dozen tacos arrived shortly after. The server explained to us which each one was, but we weren’t really listening, because you know, hungry. We all picked one and went to town, and about 10 minutes later, no more tacos. And still hungry. So we ordered another half dozen, skipping on the ones that were just alright and doubled up on the ones we fancied. We also got the daily special taco, which had mixed mushrooms in it.

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Of the ones that we all tried (I think we all didn’t try at least one of them), our favourites were the Tostada de Ceviche and In Cod We Trust, but all of them are worth a shot. The tacos are not that big (and are priced accordingly, with most of them under $5), so you can definitely get away with ordering all of them without looking like a taco monster.

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We finished off with some churros and the bill came to just north of $100 for 3 people; if you order drinks then it’d be more, but the pricing is pretty reasonable. By the time we left the restaurant it was cold out and we were glad for Arthur’s companionship but mostly for the transportation that it came with. We sang loudly and poorly to Taylor Swift songs while he tried to get us back to Finch Station as quickly as possible. Overall, it was a good dining experience and we’d definitely come back, but only if Arthur drives us straight there. And maybe could take us shopping or something before that.

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