Category Archives: Reviews

Victoria’s Restaurant (The Omni King Edward Hotel) – Sunday Brunch Buffet Review

It has been a while since I wrote a restaurant review, so I could not think of a better establishment than Victoria’s Restaurant, located in The Omni King Edward Hotel.

King Edward Hotel - 275

H and I absolutely love brunch, and Victoria’s is a huge favorite of ours.  We even celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary at the hotel!

Built in 1903, the historic King Edward Hotel was Toronto’s first luxury hotel and in recent years, underwent a $40 million dollar renovation.   The world-renowned hotel was home to numerous celebrities and was also featured in film and movie sets.

The lobby is both grand and elegant.  We still take pictures each time we visit!

DSC_0546

King Edward Hotel - 270

King Edward Hotel - 265

King Edward Hotel - 268

King Edward Hotel - 266

DSC_0547

King Edward Hotel - 263

DSC_0548

DSC_0549

DSC_0551

DSC_0552

Victoria’s Restaurant is located in the Sovereign Ballroom, which is truly exquisite with floor to ceiling windows and large teardrop chandeliers.

King Edward Hotel - 003

DSC_0351

DSC_0350

As usual, we requested a table for two by the windows and arrived early to take pictures.

DSC_0572

I chose to publish this review based on our Canada Day brunch buffet, which also happens to be Canada’s 150th birthday.  Executive Chef Daniel Schick and his team really outdid themselves, and it was obvious that a lot of time and thought went into planning the menu.  We were thrilled to see many diverse dishes inspired by provinces within Canada.

We started with grapefruit and orange juice, which is included in the price of the brunch, as well as coffee and tea.  There was also maple iced tea, which was refreshing and sweetened by Quebec maple syrup.

DSC_0648

If you have not guessed by now, I am a huge cake lover, so instead of following H who tends to go straight for the food items, I headed to the dessert table.  I had to look at the ginormous Canada Day cake.  I took note of all the desserts before finding H.

DSC_0658

The brunch was cleverly laid out, with beautifully presented platters of tantalizing food.  Every time we are at Victoria’s, H jokes that I tend to gravitate towards the pastries, and true to his comment, that is where I headed next.

Here is just a brief description of what we enjoyed:

Croissants

The croissants were flaky and buttery, perfect with a dollop of high-quality jam.

DSC_0582

DSC_0442

Assorted Fruit Danishes:

The danishes were also fresh and very flaky.  I loved the blueberry one!

DSC_0581

Blueberry Scones:

The scones were moist and flavorful with a generous amount of wild Canadian blueberries.  I liked how they were not too sweet.

DSC_0584

DSC_0583

DSC_0574

DSC_0577

DSC_0585

Chilled Scallop and Shrimp Salad:

We always enjoy this delicious cold salad.  It is an excellent choice and is well prepared.

DSC_0588

Devilled eggs with Newfoundland Caviar:

The caviar was a pleasant surprise and provided an upscale dining experience.  We had just watched an episode of “Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip” where Acadian sturgeon was highlighted. We have tried caviar from New Brunswick; however, the Newfoundland caviar was firm with a buttery texture; very decadent and sumptuous.

Poached Salmon:

Poached Salmon is another dish that we love seeing at the brunch.  The salmon was perfectly poached, and only required a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. While other establishments feature whole poached salmon, we prefer Victoria’s version of individual fillets.  Not only was it easier to plate, but it provided an elegant presentation.

DSC_0591

Roast Chicken with Fruit Salsa

DSC_0596

White Wine and Herb Steamed PEI Mussels:

We love PEI mussels, either hot or cold, and were happy to see them offered again.

DSC_0592

Antipasto

DSC_0605

Charcuterie

DSC_0600

Wild Mushrooms

DSC_0601

Quebec Pork Creton

The forcemeat-style pork spread looked very similar to pate.  The pork cracklings were crunchy and tasty.

DSC_0603

Heirloom Tomatoes with Bocconcini & Basil Vinaigrette

DSC_0609

Three Sisters Prairie Grains with Orange Lemon Dressing

DSC_0611

Watermelon, Mint and Figs and Goat Cheese:

Pairing sweet watermelon with salty goat cheese was scrumptious, and the figs added another level of texture.  I had to go back for more!

DSC_0614

Fennel Arctic Char with Kozlik’s Maple Mustard

This was a very popular offering and we struck up a conversation with other guests on how much we love fennel.  It was nice to see a higher quality condiment smartly paired with maple syrup.

DSC_0618

Potato Salad with Prosciutto:

I can never resist potato salad.  I love Victoria’s version with just the right amount of tangy dressing and slivers of salty prosciutto.

DSC_0616

Buttermilk Pancakes with Quebec Maple Syrup

DSC_0620

The infamous St. Lawrence Market Peameal Bacon with Fried Egg Sandwiches

DSC_0623

Breakfast Bangers and Bacon

DSC_0626

Eggs Benedict:

No brunch is complete without eggs benedict and Victoria’s version does not disappoint.  H had two!

DSC_0699

Scrambled Eggs with Snipped Chives

DSC_0705

King Edward Beef Wellington:

This classic dish is irresistible and the filet mignon was tender and flavorful. It is definitely the highlight of our brunch every time.  H enjoyed it so much that he did not even notice the Three Province Poutine sitting right next to it!  I forgot about it as well … so sad.

DSC_0628

Three Province Poutine

Chicken and Waffles:

This was by far one of our favorite dishes.  It is so popular nowadays, and we were so happy to see it at the brunch.  The chicken was crunchy and moist with a hint of garlic.  The Belgian waffles were thick and crispy, perfect with just a drizzle of Quebec maple syrup.

DSC_0633

KD Mac n Cheese with Ketchup Chip Crust (kid friendly)

DSC_0635

Pulled Pork Braised in Ottawa Beau’s Beer

DSC_0637

East Coast Corn Fritters on Summer Succotash:

I loved the corn fritters and they were flavorful with a slightly crunchy coating.  The fresh succotash was the perfect accompaniment.

DSC_0641

BC Smoked Cedar Plank Salmon:

We love salmon and it was great to see it offered both cold and hot.  Again, the slightly smoked salmon only required a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

DSC_0646

Roasted Vegetables

DSC_0643

What’s on our plates:

King Edward Hotel - 173

DSC_0717DSC_0708DSC_0707DSC_0711DSC_0719DSC_0723

My favorite part of any brunch/buffet!  Desserts!

Beaver Tails

The sous chef suggested a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

DSC_0651

150th Canada Day Cake:

This cake was a showstopper.  As a cake lover, I was stunned to see such a beautiful cake.  Embarrassingly enough, I just stood and stared at it, as any cake lover would! The fondant and decoration were well executed.  I truly wish I had room for more than just one slice, and I was thinking of this cake for days afterwards!  The vanilla sponge was mouth-watering moist, and I think I tasted lemon curd and Italian Meringue buttercream.  The cake was sumptuous with the addition of sweet and tart berries.

Summer Fruit Crumble:

We loved the crunchy buttery crumble combined with fresh berries.  To gild the lily, we drizzled crème anglaise over top and the simple dessert became sublime.

Gateau Basque:

This is one of my favorite cakes and is a regular feature at the brunch.  It has an intense almond flavor and is truly decadent.  I feel transported to France with each bite.

Fresh Fruit Tart

The shortbread crust was buttery and had a nice firm texture.  The pastry cream and whipped cream were luscious and again paired well with the tart berries.

DSC_0674

Chocolate Espresso Mousse: 

H is a chocolate and coffee lover, so he always enjoys this dessert.  The mousse was smooth and creamy with a dark chocolate flavor enhanced by espresso. The whipped cream and serving size is perfect.

The Great Canadian Butter Tart:

Wow, it was nice to see this classic Canadian dessert added to the Canada Day brunch.  What I immediately noticed was how thin the crust was.  Most butter tarts have a very thick crust and less filling.  These tarts were the opposite and had a generous filling.  The crust seemed to melt in my mouth and had a distinct maple flavor.  I am sad to report I only ate one.

Intense Chocolate Truffle Cake:

We have eaten this cake many times in the past and we love it.  When I dipped my fork into the cake, I could immediately detect how tender the sponge was!

The chocolate truffle filling really is “intense” and super delicious.  The dark cocoa powder makes for a great finish and cuts down on the sweetness.

Crème Brule

This is another classic dessert that we love seeing at the brunch.  I did not have room to enjoy it this time, but H sure did!

Rhubarb Parfait

When I downloaded all the pictures I had taken, I noticed there were so many dishes we wish we had sampled!

Mini Cheesecakes

Chomeur Maple Pudding

Great Plains Rice Pudding

 

Mille Feuille

Nanaimo Bars

Fruit Band

Crème Caramel

Vanilla Cream Filled Profiteroles

What’s on our plates:

DSC_0724DSC_0730

Overall, the food was very well presented and bountiful with appetizing flavors.  The variety of dishes were both classic and innovative.

David Watson, Director of Outlets at The Omni King Edward Hotel checked on us every now and then, and answered any questions we had.  His presence elevated our dining experience, and created fond memories of an amazing brunch experience.

The staff are genuinely warm, welcoming, graciously polite and attentive, yet not intrusive.  The service is what you would expect from The Omni Group.  It was also nice to see Hector again.

We are definitely still thinking of the brunch so a return visit is imminent!

Disclaimer:

Brunch courtesy of The Omni King Edward Hotel.
The comments and my review are unbiased.
This was not a paid advertisement.

 

Seasons at the Prince – Sunday Brunch Review

H and I love to indulge in Sunday brunch, so I can’t believe we have never tried Seasons at the Prince, located inside the Westin Prince Hotel.

Upon entering the hotel, we were greeted with an impressive waterfall, as well as a towering Christmas tree and fireplace. Seasons at the Prince is casual, yet elegant at the same time.  The decor is very clean, modern and minimalist, with more sleek fireplaces.

Seating is spaced well and very comfortable, with a lot of options for privacy.  The semi-circular booths looked very cozy, and we loved our table for 2 which offered a beautiful view of the parklands.

DSC_0370

DSC_0372

DSC_0376

DSC_0378

DSC_0379

DSC_0439

DSC_0468

We arrived early and Aladdin was gracious in allowing me to take pictures before the brunch started. He was “very” attentive throughout our stay, making sure we were well taken care of!

A unique selection of hot and cold buffet items were available, and on our visit we enjoyed the stuffed lobster shells, oysters, mussels and shrimp, salads, danishes, croissants, the omelet and carving station, chocolate waffles, and so much more. The food was very fresh and nicely presented, and I noticed dishes were replenished very quickly.

DSC_0389

DSC_0386

Smoked Salmon, Assorted Deli

DSC_0385

Stuffed Lobster Shells, Oysters, Mussels

DSC_0383

DSC_0402

DSC_0400

DSC_0398

Omelet Station

DSC_0404

Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle

DSC_0425

Roasted Red Skin Potatoes with Lemon and Garlic, Seasonal Garden Vegetables

DSC_0406

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pearl Onions and Sun Dried Tomatoes

DSC_0411

Butter Chicken

DSC_0420

DSC_0416

Tri-color Tortellini with Spinach and Artichokes

DSC_0423

Herb Crusted Barramundi with Citrus Salsa

DSC_0446

DSC_0448

Chicken Apple Sausages

DSC_0450

DSC_0452

DSC_0458

DSC_0454

Chocolate Waffles

Fresh juices, smoothies and fruit balanced out an indulgent brunch, but of course my mind was on the dessert table!  Being a dessert lover, I noticed a beautifully displayed dessert table and was tempted to start there first! 

DSC_0396

DSC_0394

DSC_0455

Desserts

DSC_0445

DSC_0428

DSC_0431

DSC_0427

DSC_0434

DSC_0432

What’s On Our Plates

DSC_0486

DSC_0489

DSC_0484

DSC_0494

DSC_0488

DSC_0491

DSC_0517

DSC_0537

 DSC_0519

My favorite desserts were the chocolate mousse cake which was not too sweet, Tiramisu and Chocolate Pots de Crème.

DSC_0525

Jolanta, our server, suggested we make room for the bread pudding, but to honest, it looked quite plain to me.  As they say, “looks can be deceiving.” I’m so glad we gave it a try … the bread pudding was pure decadence!  The addition of a very light, yet creamy and thick vanilla sauce was amazing.

DSC_0540

Most surprising was the coffee, as I prefer tea. When we asked Jolanta, she informed us it was Starbucks. While we love Starbucks lattes, H does not like their coffee, but this particular blend was mild and smooth, with no bitter aftertaste. Of course H enjoyed the pot that was left on our table, and I helped myself to several cups as well!

While the restaurant was booked solid, we never felt rushed to finish our brunch. We lingered long after everyone had left, and I was impressed that food was still being served, fresh as when we first arrived.

We were having such a relaxing afternoon, looking out at the beautiful grounds when Jamy and Jolanta brought out yet another piece of dessert while singing Happy Birthday. It was very nice that they took the time to chat with us! Most often, servers are in a hurry to clean up and usher guests out, but this was not the case at Seasons at the Prince!

DSC_0551

We had a very enjoyable brunch, the service was amazing, and we’re already looking forward to returning soon!

Note:

  • Sunday brunch is currently $44/person, which includes coffee or tea, juices and smoothies, as well as parking

Disclosure:
This is not a paid advertisement.

Jerusalem Restaurant – Review

Jerusalem Restaurant combines our love of Middle Eastern food with H’s addiction to buffets!

They have three locations: Toronto (established in 1971), North York and Mississauga. Their lunch and dinner buffet is available at 2 of their locations – North York and Mississauga, and offers an extensive variety of Middle Eastern cuisine. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is entertainment, including a belly dancer.

We’ve dined at Jerusalem Restaurant numerous times over the years. The food is aromatic and flavorful. We love the fresh hot pita bread which arrives right after we’ve returned from the buffet tables – just in time to dip with creamy Hummus and Baba Ghanoush! I try not to make a meal out of this, but I fail each time 😦

Jerusalem Restaurant

Jerusalem Restaurant

Jerusalem Restaurant

Jerusalem Restaurant

Belly Dancer 1

Belly Dancer 3

The buffet items include a huge assortment of cold salads, appetizers, seafood, meats, pasta and rice, pizza, side dishes and desserts.

While I can’t recall every single dish, here are some of our favorites:

  • Hummus
  • Baba Ghanoush
  • Eggplant Salad and Fried Stuffed Eggplant
  • Tabboule
  • Fattoush
  • Cold Beet Salad
  • Shish Kabobs (also referred to as Shish Kebabs)
  • Falafel (our absolute favorite, so crispy)!
  • Whole Sea Bass
  • Bamia (Okra Stew)
  • Kafta (Beef Kebab)
  • Lebanese Rice and Chicken
  • Lamb (dinner only)
  • Vegetarian Pizza
  • Baklawa (also referred to as Baklava)
  • Sesame Cookies
  • Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
  • Rice Pudding
Garlic Pita Bread

Garlic Pita Bread

IMG_1886

Freshly Baked White and Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Tahini, Baba Ghanoush and Hummus

Tahini, Baba Ghanoush and Hummus

Beet Salad, Chickpea, Tomato and Eggplant Salad

Beet Salad, Chickpea, Tomato and Eggplant Salad

Various Bean Salads, Chickpea Salad, Pickled Turnips

Various Bean Salads, Chickpea Salad, Pickled Turnips

Couscous, Red Cabbage Salad

Couscous, Red Cabbage Salad

Sun Dried Tomatoes, Couscous

Sun Dried Tomatoes, Couscous

Olives, Cold Salad Items

Olives, Cold Salad Items

Jerusalem Restaurant's Delicious Rice with Vermicelli

Jerusalem Restaurant’s Delicious Rice with Vermicelli

Stuffed Eggplant, Fried Fish Fillets and Roasted Cauliflower

Stuffed Eggplant, Fried Fish Fillets and Roasted Cauliflower

Chicken with Vegetables, Lentils

Chicken with Vegetables, Lentils

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

Whole Sea Bass, Fried Salmon Fillets, Roasted Vegetables

Whole Sea Bass, Fried Salmon Fillets, Roasted Vegetables

Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Roasted Zucchini

Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Roasted Zucchini

Fried Salmon Fillets, Lasagna, Roasted Vegetables

Fried Salmon Fillets, Lasagna, Roasted Vegetables

Jerusalem Restaurant's Delicious Rice with Vermicelli and Chicken

Jerusalem Restaurant’s Delicious Rice with Vermicelli and Chicken

Assorted Pizzas

Assorted Pizzas

Assorted Pizzas

Assorted Pizzas

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Rice Pudding, Fresh Fruit

Rice Pudding, Fresh Fruit

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

What’s On Our Plates (from the last several months, not during one visit)!

Brocolli, Fried Fish Fillets, Falafel, Hummus, Kafta, Beef Stew, Roast Beef, Chicken Shish Kabob

Brocolli, Fried Fish Fillets, Falafel, Hummus, Kafta, Beef Stew, Roast Beef, Chicken Shish Kabob

Lasagna, Rice, Roast Beef, Chicken Shish Kabob, Falafel, Hummus, Beet Salad, Roasted Asparagus

Lasagna, Rice, Roast Beef, Chicken Shish Kabob, Falafel, Hummus, Beet Salad, Roasted Asparagus

Whole Sea Bass, Kafta, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Onions

Whole Sea Bass, Kafta, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Onions

Pasta, Tabboule, Falafel, Roasted Asparagus, Chick Pea Salad, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta, Lentils, Hummus

Pasta, Tabboule, Falafel, Roasted Asparagus, Chick Pea Salad, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta, Lentils, Hummus

Rice, Falafel, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta, Salmon Fillet, Bamia

Rice, Falafel, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta, Salmon Fillet, Bamia

Beet Salad, Chicken Shish Kabob, Bamia, Falafel, Kafta

Beet Salad, Chicken Shish Kabob, Bamia, Falafel, Kafta

Beet Salad, Fried Fish Fillets, Falafel, Roast Beef, Tabboule

Beet Salad, Fried Fish Fillets, Falafel, Roast Beef, Tabboule

Whole Sea Bass, Bamia, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta

Whole Sea Bass, Bamia, Chicken Shish Kabob, Kafta

As you can see, H is very talented at deboning a whole fish!

As you can see, H is very talented at deboning a whole fish!

Various desserts

Various desserts

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

The service is friendly and very efficient; Cathy and Hagop (Jacob), who have been there forever, are the nicest servers you’ll meet. I will definitely have to update this review as I cannot remember everyone’s names, but we really enjoy ourselves each time we visit.

Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday nights; they can get busy at times. Another tip is to get there shortly after they open, when all the items are fresh and hot.

Fall is Here … Return to Edwards Gardens

This is my absolute favorite time of the year.  I love the cold crisp air and the sound of crunching leaves during a brisk walk.

I start thinking of baking with apples, pumpkin puree, squash and other fall ingredients.

There’s a definite chill to the air, and I’m drinking a delicious mug of homemade hot chocolate right now.  I’ll share the simple recipe with you soon!

In the meantime, here are some shots taken at  Edwards Gardens.

DSC_0561 DSC_0562 DSC_0564 DSC_0568 DSC_0571 DSC_0581 DSC_0583 DSC_0587 DSC_0590 DSC_0596 DSC_0597 DSC_0598 DSC_0599 DSC_0600 DSC_0603 DSC_0604 DSC_0611 DSC_0612 DSC_0616 DSC_0617 DSC_0620

Peony Festival – Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens

Peonies are one of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen, and also one of my favorite flowers.  The City of Oshawa hosts an annual “Peony Festival” every June at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens.

The flowers are absolutely gorgeous, and there is such a variety of them, in every color and shape!  The grounds are very well maintained and a perfect place to spend a few hours.  Admission and parking is free.

Taste of the Food Terminal

“Taste of the Food Terminal” is an event that is open to the public only once a year.  If you’re fresh obsessed with produce, this is an inside look at where the freshest fruits and vegetables can be sampled and purchased.

The Ontario Food Terminal is the “stock exchange” for fruits and vegetables, where prices are determined by supply and demand and can change daily. The terminal is the only fresh produce wholesale market in Canada, and the third largest in North America.

The greatest part of the event is that all proceeds went to Foodshare (a non-profit community organization whose vision is Good Healthy Food for All).

The $10 per person admission included a large salad and water for lunch.  Parking was free.

The event was fun but there were some frustrating points: entry into the parking lot was extremely disorganized, even for advance ticket holders.  A lot of the produce that was on display was not for sale and the complimentary salad “looked” better than it tasted.  On the upside, I received autographed pictures of Gary Leeman and Mark Osborne (former NHL players), and had my picture taken with them.  They were both very friendly, approachable and down-to-earth guys.

I’m not sure if I would return next year, but it was definitely something different to experience.


Disclosure:
This is not a paid advertisement.

%d bloggers like this: