In mid-September I was invited to drop by the re-launch of Tundra restaurant located at University and Richmond–a hop skip and jump from anywhere you might want to be downtown. Which is what I was thinking about when I needed to pick a spot to meet some friends on Saturday night. Afterall, why wait on a windy street corner when you could order a Manhattan at the beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar (with built in electrical plugs for workaholics!) sit back and not care how late anyone is.
The Manhattan I strategically wove into my intro is pictured above– and I have been able to secure us all the recipe. I will pause while you go make one and then we can continue together. If you are reading this at the office at 9am I hope to God you mixed it in your styrofoam coffee cup–this isn’t Mad Men.
2oz Knob Creek Bourbon
1oz Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Port
Dash Orange Bitters
Dash premium maple syrup
Shake or Stir with fresh ice and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries
While you’re sipping your drink, look around and check out the newly revamped room which was designed by Montreal firm Lemaymichaud. What I like is that there’s space to be social in the bar/restaurant area and but there’s also space for quiet conversation (“Great doing business with you” or “Why does it always take you so long to order?”)
Tundra’s warm cozy feeling comes from the wood used throughout the design and the entrance features a very cool sphere carved from one giant piece of Vancouver Island Redwood.
And then there’s the menu which you may casually pick up while you sip your drink. May I make a few suggestions from the new Fall dinner menu; firstly the the scallops (in the Small Plates section) which featured seared scallops, celery and cilantro emulsion, chorizo, coconut curls, and crisped salsify.
Also on the Small Plate men is the house cured gravalax with rye bagel crisp, preserved ramps, mustard cream cheese, dill and radish. It was the mustard cream cheese that called my name, but the preserved ramps were also a nice refreshing touch.
My main was Roasted Heirloom carrots, radish, cauliflower steak, watercress, oven dried ricotta and fig vinaigrette. (Is there a vegetarian-steak revolution in Toronto- I just had grilled and smoked carrot “steak” at Yours Truly a few weeks previous.) Anyway, this plate is quite lovely, no?
And then I sampled some of my friend’s Northern Ontario Rabbit Confit, which was as good as comfort food (fancy comfort food!) gets. Soft, tender and juicy.
We rounded off the meal with a sample of dessert–that is the addictive pine nut brittle in the front, there were soft, chewy macaroons and a deconstructed creme brulee, mini-meringues and some lovely cheese. And could the cheese/dessert board itself be more rustic? I feel like that was ripped right up from an old barn and polished up. A floor I’ll eat off of anytime.
And if you really want to hit the town and then not have to make your own bed, there are the trendy and luxurious Hilton suites. We got a sneak peek at the launch.
Executive Chef at Tundra is Kevin Prendergast and the kitchen team sources local foods, wild ingredients come from a Quebec-based organic forager and other herbs come from the hotel’s garden. Cheese is from that wonderful place, Cheese Boutique, in the west end.
Most importantly you can get jerk wings off the “nibbles” menu until midnight.