Victor at Le Germain launches new menu celebrating Toronto’s neighbourhoods
Here's a report from Lorianna De Giorgio of the Star’s web team from an event the other day at Hôtel Le Germain in Toronto, a personal fave of mine.
Toronto wouldn’t be Toronto without its diverse neighbourhoods, and the eclectic mix is spotlighted at Victor Restaurant and Bar.
The Mercer Street restaurant housed in the Hôtel Le Germain, underwent a major redesign last year turning it from a French eatery — which its owners felt was too physically disconnected from the hotel itself — to a place that's more integrated with the cozy lobby. With the new look, came the Taste Toronto menu, which offers dishes inspired by the city’s neighbourhoods.
Neighbourhoods include Little India, Chinatown, Korea Town, Little Portugal, Little Italy, Japanese Village and Kensington Market.
The dishes from Little India’s channa masala and mango chutney to Korea Town’s glazed short ribs and kimchi hand rolls, are designed as individual appetizers or combined to create a mixed tasting meal.
Little Italy is represented with delicate miniature tiramisus, while Chinatown’s fare offers seared scallops with guylan and black bean sauce.
Executive chef David Chrystian, whose past positions include Patriot, Accolade and the Drake Hotel before coming to Le Germain five years ago, launched a prix-fixe version of the Taste Toronto menu under a different name about a year-and-a-half ago, with the older format focusing on four courses and only one neighbourhood.
The new menu, which launched in March, allows diners to try a variety of cuisines in one sitting. (In the photograph, you’ll see, from left: samplings of sushi pizza of albacore sashimi, lobster roe and wasabi mayo, plus mango chutney and channa masala). Prices range from $14 to $79, depending on the number of dishes ordered.
“The concept of the restaurant, and now the menu that we’re serving … is something that we should all be proud of as citizens of the city. It’s an amazing city in its diversity,” Chrystian told a few dozen journalists and editors at a media night April 7. “And here we are doing nothing except trying to showcase that for perhaps the rest of the world, but also for ourselves.”
The intimate space with its masculine old-world charms features a private dining space closed off by a floor-to-ceiling glass and metal wall, two zinc bars, custom wallpaper, limestone dining tables, and white oak and brass sofas with plush purple velvet fabric.
It was designed by Toronto architect and designer Jenny Francis, who has successfully beefed-up Victor’s image from French and slightly stuffy, to classically cosmopolitan.