With a new season comes a new menu! We are pleased to be serving up a host of new dishes at Biff's Bistro, from fresh interpretations of bistro classics like flavourful steak tartare, to light and bright desserts like our punchy lemon tart.
Click here to take a look the full menus. For reservations, please call 416.860.0086 or book your table online.
Carrot & Goat Cheese Mousse - pea purée, spring vegetables, pistachio mint gremolata, rye & seed crackers
Steak Tartare - truffle porcini mayo, pickled mushrooms, spiced lentils, croûtons, egg yolk
Octopus & Chorizo Salad - kale, fingerling potatoes, chorizo, romesco sauce, olives, toasted almond
Hue Pancake - herbed omelette, shrimp, St-Canut pork, herb salad, sprouts, hoisin peanut sauce
Pan-Seared Trout - lettuce purée, sweet potato, apple & golden raisin chutney, chicken jus
St-Canut Porcelet - mustard, spring cassoulet, pork crackling, wild leek crème
Chicken Suprême à l’Américaine - Dijon wine glaze, garlic & herb crust, fennel confit, glazed vegetables, roasted chicken jus
Lemon Tart - rhubarb, vanilla meringue
Photos by Cindy La
Now that summer is finally underway, our beloved bartenders Jeff and Monica have been whipping up an array of fresh seasonal cocktails to enjoy 54 stories above the hot city streets. From their unique interpretations of the Moscow mule and daiquiri to unexpected elements like kvass, dandelion and marshmallows, there’s no shortage of creativity on the menu.
Whether you’re joining us for a quick weekday drink or several rounds while watching the sunset, we look forward to giving you something to cheers about.
Basil Daiquiri - Havana Club 3 Year Old rum, lime, basil + sugar
Cherry Caipirinha - Pitú Cachaça rum, lime, rooibos tea, sugar, cherries + Angostura bitters
Dandelion Smash - Crown Royal Northern Harvest rye, dandelion, citrus + sugar
Grapes of Plenty - Absolut vodka, Dolin dry vermouth, Cave Spring Riesling, sugar, lemon, Angostura bitters + tonic
The Last Spike - Spicebox whisky, maple, Drambuie, marshmallow, Laphroaig + chocolate bitters
Peach Julep - Maker’s Mark bourbon, sugar, peaches, Amaro Trevisano + mint
Strawberry Collins - Beefeater gin, lemon, strawberries, sage, sugar + soda
Stubborn Mule - Olmeca Altos Plata tequila, lime, ginger, jalapeño, sugar, ginger beer + kvass
Photos by Cindy La
From the prevalent basement kitchens to eye-catching neon street signs to the glass elevator ride up 40 storeys to Duck & Waffle
, many restaurants’ architecture and design left a lasting impression on the group. Indeed, one of the major differences between London and Toronto’s landscapes has much to do with sheer age. London is a two-thousand-year-old city (making Toronto an infant in comparison) with an incredibly rich breadth of architecture.
Some restaurants let architecture and design take a back seat to the cuisine. St. John
’s simple, no-frills setting creates an atmosphere in which what’s on your plate commands the most attention. Others choose to invest heavily in their design and décor. Chiltern Firehouse
, for example, is a gothic Victorian fire station from the 19th century. Architects transformed the space into a boutique hotel housing an ultra-chic New York style brasserie, complete with high ceilings, hanging light fixtures, large mirrors and a bustling open kitchen.
“Design-wise, they play up what they already have going for them and simply let the building and original architecture speak for itself,” said Andrew. “It’s hard to look past some of the unbelievable architecture off the raw bones of some of these places.”
also boasted an impressive design, having been restored in 2010 by Toronto firm Yabu Pushelberg - the same group who designed Canoe
for O&B. The room combines charming historic details like stained-glass windows and marble floors with contemporary lighting and breathtaking gallery walls featuring more than 300 pictures.
“Berners Tavern was one of the most polished and refined places with the most jaw-dropping space,” said Michael. “I would be quite happy sitting there for the whole evening, because it’s quite spectacular. Images don’t do it full justice.”
Of course, the value of real estate is through the roof, which pushes London restaurateurs to work hard to maximize every inch of space. At Granger & Co
., like many other eateries, the entire kitchen is in the basement. As a result, someone’s full-time job is to run food up and down the dumbwaiter.
“The ingenuity of space was leaps and bounds ahead of us,” said Andrew. “Even service stations were literally just the width of a computer screen – half the size of O&B’s smallest ones. They really have to figure out how to maximize every nook and cranny.”
Notwithstanding a little weight gain, all three guys are feeling energized and invigorated by their experiences – and ready to move forward with some new concepts and ideas at O&B.
“It’s all about being inspired,” said Anthony. “We don’t think about copying anything. It’s more about what element hits you or strikes you as interesting – and then you morph it and you love it and you own it. These things take time. When it comes to what inspires, not very often is that linear.”
“London and Toronto aren’t worlds apart,” Michael explains. “There are great parallels between who we are, where we come from, our cultures, the language we speak and our appreciation for having a great cocktail, enjoying a wonderful meal and being in a city that’s just a bloody great city.”
All of us who work for O&B know that great service is absolutely essential to any dining experience, from the host who takes your reservation to the server assistant who clears your dessert plate.
The service culture may be different in London – not necessarily better or worse, but the tone edges on being a little harsh, forward and brusque. Still, any lack in warmth was made up for in the staunch knowledge and expertise of each staff member.
“Everyone had a passion for what they were doing and you could see that,” said Andrew. “The bartenders, in particular, were super personable. They’d talk to you and explain what they were doing. They’d try and guide you to the right decisions, which were very spot on and a bit brash, but just really British.”
Since the group was often eating during off-hours – lunches at 10:30am or 2:30pm, dinners at 5:00pm – they found they were able to interact much more with the chefs and other back of house staff. Many chefs were eager to share their own restaurant recommendations to add to the itinerary, while the chef at Burger & Lobster
proudly showed off his waterfall device in the basement where he kept the fresh lobsters. When the group came back upstairs, the kitchen had cooked them another burger and lobster – on the house.
Back at The Palomar
, Anthony enjoyed “f*cking rock star good” service. He noticed the cooks were very active behind the counter, serving and engaging with guests. As someone who appreciates the conviviality in any dining experience, this was a huge plus for him.
“You can’t forget that you’re cooking for people – that’s a big thing for me,” he said. “It makes a big difference. You can only get so far with great food and drinks.”
Finally, our boys dish the dirt on some of the coolest restaurant design elements - click here to read more!
Rest assured, there were no teetotalers on this trip. Michael, Andrew and Anthony were seriously impressed by London restaurants’ attitudes towards mixology. Small details, like the way the tinctures and bitters were lined up along the bar, or the flair with which the bartenders poured their drinks, did not go unnoticed. The trio posted up at the bars at Berners Tavern
and The Savoy
to relax and observe these “artists in action.”
“The way the bartenders flip the jiggers, stir the cocktails and rim the glassware - it was all done with pride and pizazz and flare,” said Michael.
“You can tell they take such pride in every single thing they do with drinks,” said Andrew. Everything was done the way it should be done. They didn’t skip anything. They didn’t take shortcuts.
In addition to classic libations, the group also experimented with a variety of weird and wonderful drinks at Artesian
, an award-winning cocktail bar known for their experimental cocktails – some of which are inspired by the surrealism of Salvador Dalí. Drinks served in custom-made wooden boxes adorned with lights and mirrors is just one example of the drama and intrigue that surrounds London’s cocktail culture.
“It was oddball obscure and left you scratching your head,” laughed Michael. “Is there anything you can’t find in this city?”
Next up, the trio share their impressions of London's brand of service and hospitality. Click here to read more!