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Opinion

Don Appetit! King Edward Hotel’s Reimagined Consort Bar


Don Douloff, Food WriterFor 115 years, the King Edward Hotel has been an integral part of Toronto, and a $40 million renovation, completed in 2015 by the property’s owners Skyline International and Omni Hotels, has polished this historic gem and reimagined it for the 21st century.

This is no more apparent than in the Consort Bar, nestled in a corner of the hotel’s beautifully refreshed lobby. Sporting acres of polished hardwood, ornate brass chandeliers, snazzy broadloom, a soaring vaulted ceiling and tastefully selected furnishings that are brand new yet respect the hotel’s historic feel, the Consort Bar is supremely welcoming, elegant and utterly contemporary.

The Consort Bar.

Highlighting the room are two huge and eye-poppingly gorgeous portraits (one of Queen Mary and the other of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII) that bookend the space. Soaring picture windows peer out onto busy King Street West.

On the plate, the dinner menu, divided into Small and Big Bites, Flatbreads, Burgers, Shareable and Substantials, yields many delights, such as thick tomato bisque, intensely pure and sweet of flavour and fragrant with basil. An elegant composed salad presents roasted pear and beet, sheep milk feta, blonde frisee and candied walnuts, all set off by a balanced flaxseed oil cider vinaigrette.

Falafel platter.

From the Shareable section comes a platter laden with falafel balls, olive tabbouleh salad, velvety mint labneh (thickened yogurt), tahini eggplant caviar and red pepper hummus.

The Substantials section yields extremely moist and delicate Atlantic salmon accessorized with black rice, meaty King Oyster mushrooms and bok choy; full-flavoured and moist roasted Cornish hen garnished with tricoloured quinoa and perfectly sautéed, garlicky broccolini; and 10-ounce ribeye steak partnered with green peppercorn sauce.

Salmon with black rice.

Ending the evening are smooth coconut panna cotta jazzed with kaffir lime tamarind syrup and shatteringly crisp caramelized mango slices; and giant chunks of deconstructed flourless chocolate cake garnished with berries.

Since Consort Bar is the hotel’s only dining venue and is a popular after-work cocktail spot, the restaurant is not available for buyout, but the King Edward does offer alternative bar space at the property, should groups wish to host large private gatherings.

A private mezzanine level space, overlooking the Consort Bar, is available for groups, and accommodates up to 12 people, seated and 20, cocktail-style. The space features two lounge sofa sets, a television and private washrooms.

— 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.



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