There’s no question that this blogging world has granted me some pretty amazing opportunities. I’ve had the chance to try things that I may not have tried on my own or to take familiarity of things to a whole new level. It’s opened my eyes to a world beyond my everyday. For that I am grateful. I’ve also met some pretty incredible people out there who like me, want to experience life, not just live it.
Recently I was invited to the Shangri-La Hotel for an intimate event. My friend Daniel (aka dothedaniel.com) had partnered up with the hotel and BOSK restaurant to host a small gathering of influencers for an event to unveil the new Garden Suite and spring menu.
I was honoured to be included in this fun group of interesting people. We all felt like family getting together to share a meal complete with laughter and love. It truly was a wonderful and well-thought out evening. But that was no surprise coming from this luxury hotel! Every detail was taken care from start to finish.
I’ve been several times to the Shangri-La Hotel prior to this visit. I had recently fell in love with the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris located in the hotel (bliss!) and I’ve attended several press conferences here during TIFF. Yes, I was in the very same conference room within a couple metres from Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman and director Denis Villeneuve. Another time I had stood next to Michael Fassbender at the bar. I had no idea at that moment as I’m terrible at recognizing celebrities until someone else points them out. I guess it’s because everyone feels so relaxed here. No one bugging them for selfies and such, you know what I mean?
This evening’s special event gave us a quick tour of the hotel. We meandered through the lobby where the afterwork crowd seemed to relax and unwind with cocktails or late afternoon tea. During the evening, you’ll often discover live entertainment by local musicians. The last few times I’ve been there have been two guys singing (and I swear everytime I walk by they lure me with “Suit and Tie”) and they are seriously good! By the way, the hotel has over 75 different teas in their library and if you aren’t sure what to order, then ask their in-house Tea Sommelier! I had inquired if they also carried the flowering Jasmine Tea…and, yes, of course! It’s beautiful if you have a chance to experienced that.
We also checked out their beautiful new Garden Suite – different from the other suites I’ve seen. This one has it’s own garden terrace and worth checking into! A large canopy bed and deep tub beckons for a blissful weekend away! It’s on my “Honey, let’s go” list.
Just as our thoughts started drifting off to dreaming this life of luxury we were offered a taste of a the Lobby Lounge’s latest hockey themed cocktails at the lobby bar. Hey, it is Canada after all. No comment about the Toronto Maple Leafs but drinks proudly named Hat-Trick (a twist on a Caesar made with a choice of gin, vodka, or tequila) and Zamboni (a refreshingly citrus fizzy concoction made with Southern Comfort and Bacardi White Rum) were clear winners!
Dinner at BOSK was spectacular. In a private dining room, we were treated to a tasting menu with new dishes for the spring season and signature favourites. Chef Damon Campbell is the executive chef for Shangri-La Hotel and has returned to Toronto after spending the previous four years in Asia. He first joined Shangri-La in 2008 working in Kuala Lumpur as chef de cuisine for the hotel’s award winning signature restaurant, Lafite, garnering numerous awards. He was nominated by Time Out Magazine for ‘Chef of the Year’ in 2009. He quickly become executive sous chef at Edsa Shangri-La in Manila, Philippines that housed six international restaurants. Prior to that I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had also worked in Vancouver with Diva at The Met and La Toque Blanche in West Vancouver. He also worked as chef de partie under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller at French Laundry in Napa Valley. A restaurant that I had visited about 15 years ago and one of the first spots that had made a foodie impression on me.
Here at BOSK Chef Campbell took the time to walk through each outstanding dish. Each one so very unique and reflective of his culinary career. There is no doubt that this restaurant is truly something special and worth visiting. Presentation is every bit as important as the flavours. All your senses are focused and rewarded. Outstanding dishes like the marinated fluke with citrus snow is beautifully presented and insanely fresh. The Caviar Donut is crazy good and I will never look at another donut quite the same. It’s completely raised the bar and well, that powder sugar dusted jelly-filled has been officially kicked off my list. The Nova Scotia Lobster with house made gnocchi is a delightful signature dish that understandably is a dining room favourite. “The staff love me when I ask them to make those tiny gnocchi,” says Chef Campbell with a laugh. To them, I say thank you! Your hard work is very much appreciated!
BOSK is winner of the “Best of Award of Excellence, Wine Spectator, 2013”
The wine collection here boasts over 700 bottles selected by in-house sommelier, Mike Moffatt. If you want to talk wines, this is the place to be. Some of the rarest and most interesting offerings are available here. Many from vineyards that are not accessible to us at the LCBO but make rare appearance not only in this restaurant but also debuts in Canada.
Needless to say, the dining experience at BOSK has introduced me to another amazing chef in Toronto. We’re very lucky to have him!
Thank you to the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto, BOSK restaurant and Daniel Desforges for a truly memorable evening.
Shangri-La Hotel and BOSK are both located at 188 University Avenue, Toronto.