A quietly dignified not-so-little secret nestled just down the street from Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, the eight-story boutique hotel InterContinental Yorkville recently announced a brand new wine pairing menu for its fine dining restaurant, Signatures. It’s part of a 20th anniversary celebration that also sees the looks-older-than-twenty-in-that-classic-way hotel finishing off a room modernization project that started with a 2005 redesign. DailyXY was hungry and thirsty, and tired. We went to the right place: A 12-course tasting preview, with complimentary wines at every round, was on offer, and a well-appointed room to sleep it off.
Variety Is the Spice of Wine
Wine pairings are one of the great advantages of the modern approach to cuisine and, as multiple award-winning chef Joe Rabba demonstrated during a media-exclusive preview in early April proved, the kitchen at InterContinental Yorkville is beyond ready. (Red wines go with red meat, whites with chicken and don’t ask me about fish… is so 1998.) The all-new Signatures menu consists of custom dishes specially tailored to match classic wine selections. The hook: diners are encouraged to bring their own wine, and consult with the staff to find its perfect partner. You are therefore all-the-more encouraged to return, with different bottles, for radically different experiences. Bon appetit. Et encore, et encore, et encore.
If you’re one of those petulants who protest corkage fees, Signatures has the crafty workaround you’re looking for: No corkage fee from Monday to Thursday. Other nights, the fee is less than $20. Given the fact that you stand to make a killing in terms of acquired knowledge from the pairing possibilities, the former is a steal and the latter a deal – putting the “win-win” back in “wine.”
Tastes Great, Less Shelling
DailyXY enjoyed every course in the tasting preview. While there were numerous highlights, there was one clear champion: vanilla-poached lobster, which had attending Toronto food bloggers out-tweeting each other with 140-word raves. As suggested: Vanilla-poached lobster with baby spinach and truffle risotto, to be accompanied by Chablis. ($30)
Burgundy: On the Lamb
Among many notables on the tasting menu was the succulent olive-oil marinated grilled lamb chops, served with salad of Quinoa, to be accompanied by Pinot Noir/Burgundy ($32).
Proof Is in the Proof
If the rooftop lounge scene isn’t your thing, InterContinental Yorkville’s Proof Vodka Bar is the polar opposite of the soulless hotel bar that makes you feel like you’re stuck in an extended scene from Up in the Air, sans Clooney and Farmiga. Great atmosphere, lively mixed crowd, real mojitos — here’s an après-diner bar we can drink at even when we’re not on the road.
Image courtesy of InterContinental Yorkville.