Last week, I was invited to and attended my first #ZomatoMeetup! Zomato is an “online restaurant discovery guide” and app active in lots of places around the world, and launched in Toronto about a month ago. Jimena from the Zomato team first contacted me back over the summer, and I have to say that Zomato Toronto has really been growing impressively since its official launch!
The meet-up was located at The Beverley Hotel (335 Queen Street West) on a weeknight with a special menu created for us by Executive Chef, Binh An, and Sous Chef, Jonathan D. It’s a great location just a couple of intersections away from Osgoode station. The place is easy to miss if you’re not actively looking for it, and there’s a certain intimacy and charm in the atmosphere. While waiting for everyone to arrive, we were served special Christmas cocktail concoctions:
cocktail // CHRISTMAS MOJITO
cranberry, cinnamon, rum, mint, with a festive pine garnish
We had a strong start with this festive drink! I had two, lol. After about half an hour, we were seated and served bread and butter before getting to delve into the first of our four-course dinner:
first course // LOVELL SPRINGS TROUT
puffed rice, cucumber, fennel, smoked grapes, pickled mustard seed
Nice and light, and a great first course. Binh An explained that no artificial colours in this trout, which tasted so fresh and delicious. It was my first time encountering smoked grapes as well! Great combination of flavours.
second course // CONFIT PHEASANT LEG
pickled mushroom, strawberry gastrique, green icicle radish
Also interesting and tasty! Contrary to its small size in the photographs, I think there’s actually a good enough amount of meat in this dish. The pheasant was a little salty for me after a while, but worked wonderfully with the strawberry. I’m not normally a fan of radish, but this icicle radish was new to me and I enjoyed it. At this point, I was already super impressed with the dining experience at The Beverley Hotel.
third course // WAGYU BLADE STEAK
beet & truffle tortellini, horseradish potato, red wine jus
Oh man, we really feasted. This was INCREDIBLE. We were explained to that the blade steak is one of the more rare meat cuts used because of its toughness, and was here braised for twelve hours. Binh An said this was particularly close to Argentinian barbecue, which unfortunately I haven’t tried yet! It was served medium rare, which is perfectly how I like it. So juicy and delicious. The steak was also served with charred vegetables, and the black dots sprinkling the plate that you see are actually bits of char, not pepper. The beet and truffle tortellini was a really unique taste combination for me. The creamy mashed potatoes had a hint of horseradish infused in it just to keep things interesting, too. There was so much going on in this dish that managed to maintain a pretty intricate balance of tastes.
fourth course // SPICED APPLE CAKE
spiced apple cake, dark beer caramel, granola, vanilla ice cream
As usual, dessert was the highlight for me – I loved everything here! The dark beer caramel was such a unique combination to go with the spiced apple cake, which was topped with some tiny edible flowers. There were also compressed apples soaked with Guinness, which also had a deeper flavour to complement the sweetness of the cake, granola, and vanilla ice cream. Really enjoyed this one and was able to completely clean it up despite feeling really full, haha.
I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Event aside, I would come back to dine at The Beverley Hotel. Getting to listen to the chefs talk about their food creations was a real treat, too – you can tell how much passion and care they put into their craft. Everything served to us this evening was creative, delicious, and beautifully plated. The chefs also mentioned partnering with Provender and striving to get locally sourced materials. The place has a great atmosphere and apparently also has a rooftop patio that would be nice to experience with better weather. We had excellent service, and our server would even brighten the lights for so that we could snap a few better quality photos of our food before we dug in. Haha, it was truly a table of foodie bloggers.