On the menu at the Library Bar, the recently renovated lounge bar at the Royal York


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Name: The library bar
Contact: Lobby Level, Fairmont Royal York, 100 Front St. W., librarybartoronto.com, @librarybartoronto
District: Financial district
The owners: Fairmont Royal York (KingSett Capital)
Chief: Jw foster
Seats: 80
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

The Library Bar reopened to the public on November 4 after a year-long renovation that turned the famous martini den into a centerpiece of maximalist Art Deco. Stylish versions of nostalgic classics are reminiscent of this place’s almost 50-year history. The Canadian Pacific hotels, owned and built alongside the railway, are the great-grandparent of the Fairmont brand. Order the chowder and imagine yourself as a turn-of-the-century train traveler warming up after a long journey – the comfort food was served to weary travelers at every railway hotel of yore. Or grab the Bay Street, a prime rib beef dip sandwich that’s been a staple since the bar opened in 1972. Back then, the roast was carved next to the table on a cart. formal (which took the path of the Watergate salad). Cocktails like Rockefeller oysters and a few eye-catching desserts round out the menu.

Foie gras and cognac pâté served simply with charred sourdough and local Bosc pears, which are burnt after a soak in cider and honey harvested from the beehive on the roof of the Fairmont. It is garnished with pea shoots and chives for a touch of green. $ 24.
A rotating selection of seasonal mushrooms – in this case hen of the woods, oyster and cremini – is paired with rich scamorza cheese, caramelized onions and truffle butter, as mushrooms and fat are culinary soul mates. The mixture is enhanced with rosemary, served over charred sourdough and garnished with house pea shoots, curly leaf, parsley and chervil. $ 24.
The lunch menu includes five open sandwiches – select a trio for $ 28. Here (from left to right) we have the strip loin tartare with dijon and tarragon; Shrimps from Fogo Island with watermelon radish, dill mayo and marinated serranos; and finally, fingerling potatoes in sea salt with hearts of palm and double smoked bacon.
No nostalgia-inspired bar menu is complete without steak frites, known here as Steak Locke, according to the librarian who presides over the room. Dry-aged Ontario strip loin, served pre-sliced, comes with a scoop of roasted garlic, natural gravy, tarragon-rich bearnaise sauce and absolutely perfect double-cooked fries. As luxurious as the velvet armchair you’ll enjoy it in. $ 46.
Chef Foster came up with the concept of story time by eating s’mores on a camping trip. When dessert arrives, the server will lift the bell to release a plume of fragrant maple wood smoke; below, a “flame” of flambéed meringue filled with smoked chocolate and blackcurrant ganache rests on “logs” of graham crackers and “ashes” of puffed wild rice. On the right we have the After Dinner Whoopie, dark chocolate cookie and mint cream whoopies that are reminiscent of after dinner mints. $ 16 for each dessert.
Quite a diffusion.
Chief Foster.
The drinks

Drinks director Rus Yessenov has organized the cocktail menu around literary genres: romance for easy-to-drink appetizers, mystery for tantalizing curiosities, and fancy for potions which, in part due to the alcohol content, help to facilitate respites from reality. Library Bar’s signature drink, the Birdbath Martini, is mixed at the table and features bespoke vodka or gin distilled for exclusive use in this cocktail (in case there is any doubt as to how seriously this place takes his alcohol). The tight wine program focuses on small, sustainable producers; and for beer drinkers, a few Bellwoods beers are on offer alongside Belgian Golden Beer Heineken and Duvel.

The Birdbath Martini is made with your choice of QUILL vodka or gin. Both are 50/50 Niagara grape / rye distillates with a few distinguishing features: a robust 50% ABV on the one hand, and a silky texture designed for quintessential martinis. Besides the usual aromas, the gin is made with pink pepper, lemongrass and anise for a long finish. Finished with Noilly Prat vermouth and homemade orange bitters, the drink is poured to the table and served in a frozen martini glass with a piece of lemon. As an accompaniment: two kinds of olives and homemade marinated red pearl onions. $ 28.
Director of the drink Rus Yessenov grating nutmeg on the Amore Amaro.
Citrus and slightly spicy Amore Amaro (Latin for bitter love) is a blend of Herradura Reposado tequila, armagnac, apricot and amaro with a touch of jalapeño, lemon and grated nutmeg. From the romance section, of course. $ 22.
Yessenov describes the light, effervescent Twist of Fate as a “white negroni on steroids”. Hendrick’s gin infused with raspberries, Lillet Blanc, Galliano liqueur and rosé prosecco is balanced with verjuice. This comes from the romance section of the menu, in case the pinkish hue and baby breath topping hasn’t betrayed it. $ 20.
A variant of the whiskey sour, the Once Upon a Time (aptly named for its fancy section designation) blends homemade cinnamon chamomile syrup with chartreuse yellow and pineapple juice – bold flavors meant to highlight worth a base of Lot 40 spicy whiskey. A dusting of raspberry powder completes the whole. $ 24.
In the cozy Bookmarked, the 12 Year Old Macallan Double Keg – creamy, fruity and slightly spicy – makes all the difference. It is underlined by sweet vermouth, Palo Cortado sherry, Grand Marnier and bitters. $ 22.
Space

Think minimalism… then imagine the opposite. Jewel-toned velvet upholstery covers plush armchairs and sofas, chandeliers hang from coffered ceilings, and fringed shades are reminiscent of Toronto’s more jazz early days. Tables are in semi-translucent onyx marble and dramatic paintings of flora and fauna line the walls. Above the fireplace is an oil painting commissioned from George Locke. A leading librarian and literacy advocate, he selected books for the Fairmont Library when it opened in 1929. (And judging by the paint, he had an impeccable hat set).



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