Monday, October 23, 2017

Bosk: Globally-Inspired Regional Canadian Cuisine

Bosk, the signature restaurant at Toronto's Shangri-La Hotel, 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 Marcus Routbard's menu hasn’t ventured far from nature either. Originally from Canada, Routbard sharpened his knives working all over the world including Dubai, Osaka and Beijing before moving to Toronto and focusing on contemporary Canadian cuisine. 

Arriving for the pre-theatre dinner menu prior to going to the opera, we made a calculated detour to Bosk's Bar, which celebrates classic cocktails from the 1930s. My favourite is their French 75, or Soixante Quinze, which was reputed to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun. In fact, it's a light and delicious tart lemon Champagne cocktail best served in a chilled flute with a garnish of citrus peel. With our table ready, we were escorted into the dining room and presented with Chef Routbard's Autumn pre-theatre menu of seasonal dishes rooted in nature. Starting with the Confit of Fingerling Potato and Truffle with sherry nage, and Warm Celeriac Soup, we followed with entrées of Organic Roasted Chicken with parsnips, lavender, fennel and truffle jus, and Baked Garganelli with black truffle, forest mushrooms, spinach and topped with a confit hen egg. Having recently returned from a month in Italy, we realize that we developed a jaded palate. It may be a while until we can order pasta and truffles and not be disappointed. Our next stop, The Elixir of Love at the COC, a Cinderella story with a twist as a poor and uneducated young man dreams of winning the heart of a rich, clever and beautiful woman. The love potion of the title unlocks the secret desires of all the main characters, and also serves as a vivid reminder that the placebo effect is nothing new.

The bartender at Bosk makes the best French 75 in the city

Made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar, 
the cocktail was named after a French 75mm field gun because it has such a kick

A classic Vodka Martini with one olive

A constellation of almost 200 Bocci lights hang spectacularly above the bar

The modern dining room and wine wall at Bosk

With elegant table settings, Bosk is one of the lovelier restaurants with a convenient pre-theatre menu for those going across Avenue Road to the COC

A perfect plump orchid 

The short seasonally changing pre-theatre menu offers a choice of 3 starters, 
3 entrées and 3 desserts

Fresh, crusty and intensely flavoured artisanal bread from Fred's Breads

Loimer Langenlois Grüner Veltliner available by the glass

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

Confit of Fingerling Potato and Truffle with sherry nage

Warm Celeriac Soup with walnuts, finely diced granny smith apple and celery

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

Garganelli with black truffle, forest mushrooms, spinach and topped with confit hen egg

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