Just before its grand opening, Vv Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief, Nicki Laborie, gets a sneak preview of the Templar Hotel’s newest restaurant and lounge, Parcae.
The Templar Hotel has seen many faces in the last few years making it a place that not everyone necessarily understood. We saw The Monk Kitchen, various pop-up dinners, TIFF parties and A-listers regularly snapped out front. But other than that, there has never been a trendy restaurant and lounge in the place – until now.
Parcae, scheduled to open officially this Wednesday, November 11th, is the new 50-seat restaurant (downstairs) and lounge (upstairs) opened by well known Toronto personalities Dan Gunam (Roosevelt Room, Ganzi, Via Vai), Michael Motamedi (Masterchef Canada, Baffi) and Reza Abedi (EFS, Wildflower). Add to this trio executive Chef Danny Hassell (formerly Chef de Cuisine at Bar Buca and Mamakas) as well as Sous Chef Joseph Awad (formerly of Au Pied de Cochon), the team is made up of the perfect blend of our city’s who’s who and daring gourmands.
Walking into the hotel to check out what this place is all about, the restaurant is not in view of the street – but once we turn the corridor we are greeted by a sexy photographic wall featuring men and women body parts and a sleek bar/lounge with stunning wooden floor paneling. The stairs leading into the dining room are grandiose and once downstairs the dim lighting and continued sexy vibe certainly invites guests to stay for a long leisurely meal.
Adam Cacciatore, one Toronto’s great restaurant General Managers, happens to have just left Portland Variety to join the Parcae team. To no surprise his team is top notch and the service appears quite seamless.
At first glance of the menu I immediately say to my date that the menu is quite reflective of a chef who worked under the celebrated Rob Gentile of Buca. Lamb brains, horse carpaccio, H.K chicken leg all scream nose to tail cooking also found at both chefs previous places of employment.
That said, Chef Danny comes by the table to say hello and tells us he just spent one year working at Au Pied de Cochon under the celebrated chef Martin Picard where he pushed his culinary skill. To add to that, much of the menu is inspired by his recent experiences in Quebec as well as his Italian heritage.
I immediately order the lamb brains after he tells us it’s one of his favourite dishes. And I concur – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside paired with bitter cicoria and a sweet and salty sauce, the entire bite screams satisfaction in every sense.
As the room fills up the social scene is vibrant and there is a nice bustle in the room, but nothing uncomfortably loud. We move on with our meal also trying the horse carpaccio, with duck egg yolk and leeks – delicious; the duck ravioli which reminds me of Thanksgiving with flavours of nutmeg and cinnamon; and the special of the night, the fish bone marrow risotto, which actually blows my mind.
The two highlights of the night for me were the last dishes: the branzino and the octopus & bone marrow. The branzino, which is not a fish I would usually order or enjoy, is actually cooked to perfection and tastes like it was grilled on a BBQ by the ocean. The braised octopus and bone marrow is well – exquisite. The flavour and texture combination in this dish is an explosion at every bite with added crunch from crispy onions and buttery crostini. Add to that Chef Danny’s special sauce and this is a dish I will be coming back for.
Thank goodness I was limiting myself to a couple of small bites from each plate or I would explode. The desserts come out and one bite of each is enough. But the best bite is of the bread pudding inspired by Chef Danny’s mom. It literally has everyone in the room wowed and only giving high praises.
Opening this week it will be interesting to watch the reaction of Toronto diners to some of these innovative menu items – though our city has definitely proven its culinary power isn’t going unnoticed. And if Parcae can keep hitting home runs like it did for me last week it is sure to become one of Toronto’s great dining destinations – as well as an uber-cool place to hang out.
Parcae is located at 348 Adelaide Street in the Templar Hotel and opens officially November 11th.
Have you checked out Parcae yet? What did you think? Let us know below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.