Friday, April 28, 2017

Bosk at Shangri-La: Creative Asian-Canadian Fusion

Bosk, the signature restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto, takes its name from the French word bosquet: a small wooded area that can lend refreshing reprieve from the elements. The restaurant design draws on a neutral palette of cream travertine, bronze screens and warm oak wood detailing to create an elegant and timeless space
, complemented by tones of deep purples in the furniture, with a sea of hand-blown glass pendant lights in varying shades of green and amber, and commissioned large-scale photographs of local forest areas to bring the interior to life. Chef Damon Campbell’s menu hasn’t ventured far from nature either. Originally from Vancouver, Campbell sharpened his knives working at the French Laundry and Lafite before moving to Toronto and focusing on contemporary Canadian cuisine. 

Fruits de mer are bountiful at Bosk, such as Nova Scotia scallops, Pan Roasted Atlantic Halibut, and a decadent Northern Divine “caviar donut” with white sturgeon caviar from BC topped with crème fraiche — a small but sumptuous three-bite experience. Perfect for a light bite before the opera, there's a lovely seasonal Pre-Theatre menu with delicacies such as artfully presented August Harvest Green Garlic Soup with side stripe prawns, burnt pesto, edamame and juniper 'Krispies", Seasonal Gathered Leaves with endive, roasted squash, pecans, dried cranberries, clothbound cheddar and tangy maple vinaigrette, Organic Roasted Chicken with parsnips, lavender, fennel, medjool dates and truffle jus, and perfectly cooked Wild Pacific Salmon with De Puy lentils, salsify, Cincinnati radish with a Hollandaise sauce. To finish the evening, a small plate of sweets arrive to send us off to the opera serenely satisfied and thoroughly impressed with the entire Bosk experience. We can't wait to return.

Executive Chef Damon Campbell

180 hand blown-glass bocci lights hang spectacularly above the bar

The Bar menus feature an impressive selection of cocktails, wines, single malts, 
pure spirits and fortified wines

We began with a cocktail at the bar as we waited for our table, and what better way to launch the evening than with a classic French 75...

...or a Vodka Martini

The bar and sitting area of Bosk flow seamlessly into the lobby space of the Shangri-La 

The elegant and quiet dining area with warm oak panelling and warm taupe hues, 
is ideal for private parties

The impressive wine wall

The tables are well spaced with elegant stemware and pressed linen napkins
for an elegant experience

The succinct but sumptuous Pre-Theatre menu

A perfect orchid graces each table

Loimer Langenlois Grüner Veltliner available by the glass

With hints of pear, this gorgeous wine is refreshing and clean-cut 

A 2015 Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Malbec from Argentina

Carrot Butter sprinkled with Malden Salt

Lovely fresh warm crunchy bread

August's Harvest Green Garlic Soup with side stripe prawns, burnt pesto, edamame and juniper 'Krispies"

Seasonal Gathered Leaves with endive, roasted squash, pecans, dried cranberries, 
clothbound cheddar and maple vinaigrette

Organic Roasted Chicken with parsnips, lavender, fennel, medjool dates and truffle jus

Wild Pacific Salmon with De Puy lentils, salsify, Cincinnati radish with a Hollandaise sauce

Little chocolates and mango marshmallows

Elegant tea service

Seared Canadian Salmon with Maple Black Pepper Butter Sauce
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Damon Campbell 

Maple and black pepper butter sauce:
4 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme herb
8 tbsp butter, chilled
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches of salt

Seared Salmon Fillets:
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
4 5-oz salmon fillets
few pinches salt and black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed

For the sauce, place the maple syrup, thyme sprig and black pepper into a small sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add butter and swirl pan around to melt butter into the syrup evenly. Once butter has melted, remove saucepan from heat and stir sauce. Add lemon juice and a couple pinches of salt. Set aside to keep warm.

Season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and black pepper. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat, and place it in pan and sear for 1 minute, then turn heat down to medium and continue to cook for approximately 4-5 minutes or until crisp golden brown crust forms. Turn the fish over, add butter and garlic clove and baste spooning the butter over the fish with a spoon to promote flavour and moisture. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until just cooked through. Remove the fish from pan and blot onto paper towel. Place the fish onto a warm serving plate, drizzle the maple butter sauce over fish and serve.

French Canadian Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Damon Campbell 

1 lb dry split peas, soaked in water overnight
1 smoked ham hock, split in 2 
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme herb
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Place a soup pot over medium heat and add the butter to melt. Once melted add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and thyme herb sprigs, and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes to soften. Add the peas, ham hocks, salt and stock, and turn the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a simmer and turn heat back down to low. Cover the pot with lid and cook for 60-90 minutes until the peas are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat and remove the ham hocks, let them cool for 20 minutes and then remove the meat from the bone; discard the bone. Cut the meat into cubes or shredded it with a fork, then set aside. Purée the pea soup with an immersion blender, and reheat the soup to a simmer, then add the ham and white pepper. Stir to blend. Ladle into warm bowls and serve.

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