Toronto - In early April, I was lucky to be invited to an opulent ten course tasting meal at Signatures Restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel, Yorkville. This wasn’t a typical meal. Along with 15 other journalists and bloggers specializing in food and travel, we had to bring along a wine of our choice.
The young and experimental kitchen staff, headed by Chef Joseph Rabba, matched the dishes they felt would be best suited with our wine selections in addition to pairing their recommended selection to complement each course. With over twenty varieties of reds and whites (and champers, oh my!), General Manager Andrew Gajary decided a little competition on which wine – the guest’s choice or the hotel’s choice – the diners preferred. Surprisingly, many of the guests’ choices won each challenge.
I decided on a classic Canadian Riesling by Cave Springs, which I like for its crisp and refreshing flavor. I was happy that everyone liked my choice to accompany the Sea bass. The flavor Thai yellow curry punctuated the lightness of the fish, and was a great first course. The Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc lost, though I did like its oaky taste. My favorite dish was the Vanilla Poached Lobster on truffle risotto and baby spinach. It was paired with the Chablis Carre De Cesar (CH. Malginy) and perfected the balance between sweet and salty. There were many hushed tones during this course; it was that good!
Another guest contribution that became a favorite was the 09 Malivoire Albert's Honour Foch. Full flavored and robust, this wine was a great companion to a heavy meat like the peppercorn bison short rib that we feasted on.
Gajary encourages guests to bring their own wine, so they can relax and not worry about the meal that will accompany their choice, especially for a special occasion. There are no corkage fees from Monday to Thursday. On weekends, the corkage fee is $15, an affordable fee in comparison to the average fee being $20 to $35 at other restaurants in the city. Dishes range from $26 to $32, which will bring a typical meal to around the $75 mark for two.
Many of us ended up at the hotel’s intimate lounge, Proof, which was a great place to socialize pre and post-dinner. The open sectionals, rectangular tables and outdoor garden made it easy to mix and mingle. It’s not a surprise that this modern bar is popular during TIFF festivities.
Journalists were extended a stay, au gratis, in the Intercontinental’s lush and comfortable rooms. We were indulged with chocolate bento boxes and plenty of sparkling water, which I felt was a really gracious and thoughtful touch after such an extravagant meal (and did I mention 20 glasses of wine?!). What I really liked about the rooms – despite that they are now equipped with 42 inch flat panel HDTVs – was that it felt like a mini suite (a small couch, living room table, computer desk and living room chair) fitting into a comfortable space. Plush mattresses, crisp, modern linens and four pillows were ideal for a long slumber. A swim in the small pool the next morning and views ranging from the jagged architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum to the mix of old and new buildings of the Royal Conservatory of Music added to a rejuvenating stay, ideal for locals and visitors alike.
Hotel Information: The InterContinental Yorkville is at 220 Bloor Street West, a few steps east of Bedford Road and from St. George Subway Station; telephone: 416-960-5200.
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I'm a freelance writer born and raised in Toronto. I write about my main passions and interests stemming from travel, fashion, design, art, food and architecture. I am motivated by people who inspire and dare to be inspired.
Located: Toronto Canada
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