Summer vibes have officially hit Toronto, and you know that means patios and cottage escapes. If you’re craving some cottage time during the week though, check out DEQ Terrace at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto’s Cottage Social season! The DEQ Patio seats large groups of friends, but also allows for some intimate conversations right off Simcoe Park on Front Street. Torontonicity was invited to their Cottage Social launch, and I had the opportunity to chat with new Executive Chef Murray McDonald!
Chef McDonald, formerly of the Distillery District’s Cluny, spent five years at the gorgeous maritime Fogo Island Inn. As a true east-coaster, Chef McDonald brings a delicious Canadian seafood-focused menu to DEQ Terrace. He firmly believes in supporting local businesses and industry, so as many ingredients as possible come from Ontario and Canada.
The Cottage Social launch featured a gorgeous spread of fresh seafood for guests to enjoy. Chef McDonald is working on bringing in more variety of shrimp from across Canada to truly feature the diversity of flavours available in this country.
I immediately took an interest in the Tuna Tartar on the menu: cucumber, avocado, black pepper jam, taro chips and lettuce wraps. It’s the perfect sharing dish when your group is craving something creamy, but light and delicious. I would recommend pairing this dish with Le Grand Fizz cocktail on any hot Toronto evening, as the Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain, fresh citrus, and soda make for an equally refreshing and light drink.
Looking for a fun and flavourful cocktail? Definitely check out the Sub Zero Margarita: Casamigos Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, Blue Curacao and fresh lime juice. It’s made as a frozen drink, bringing a hint of nostalgia for carefree summers sipping slushies with friends on summer vacation away from school. Except now it packs a punch with tequila and a delicious salted rim!
We were also treated to the Burrata: fresh stuffed mozzarella, brioche gremolata, grilled house sourdough, lime, cilantro, and a side of the most delicious tomato jam. The cheese itself oozes perfectly from the middle when you insert your knife, making it the most perfect dip for the sourdough bread. The fresh bread itself is soft and fragrant, making mouths water as soon as it’s brought to the table.
Make sure you hold on to that tomato jam for dipping the delicious Truffle Frites! These make another perfect sharing dish, but consider grabbing a couple for the table as the earthy truffle flavour keeps you going back for more.
If you’re looking for a cocktail that quenches thirst, is full of flavour, and brings some interesting notes, try the Silly Goose: Grey Goose Le Citron, salted watermelon juice, cinnamon syrup, lemon, and muddled cucumber. I know…it sounds odd, but the cinnamon and watermelon combination is amazing! The watermelon brings a juicy sweetness, while the cinnamon brings a warm ending note. This may be my summer drink for 2018!
If you’re craving a Bellini or Mimosa-style cocktail, try the Sunkissed: grapefruit Grey Goose, canton ginger liqueur, mango syrup, lime juice, and prosecco. Vibrant, fizzy, and quite gorgeous, it tastes like sunshine in a glass!
Despite only being a part of Toronto’s downtown core since 2011, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto feels as though it’s been here forever. This is because it continues to contribute Canadian-focused experiences to the dining, culinary, and social culture of this great city. The DEQ Terrace is no exception, with it’s comfortable, chic, and perfectly-situated patio just steps away from St. Andrew or Union station stops. True-Torontonian tip: Make sure to grab a patio seat early on nights with fireworks from the CN Tower, as you’ll be front row for the light show! Enjoy!
DEQ Terrace, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, 181 Wellington Street West, 416-585-2500