One of our favourite places in Toronto is the Distillery District. Although it’s not easy to navigate the streets in heels due to the cobblestone streets, we love the vibe of the stores in the area, and there are some fabulous restaurants.
This week we went to Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie for our anniversary dinner. This restaurant is huge! 11,000 square feet to be exact. The space is beautiful, and very French!
I was so happy they had my favourite wine – Megalomaniac Narcissist Reserve Riesling from the Niagara Peninsula. If you haven’t tried it, you need to – it’s the best Riesling I’ve ever had. So our dinner started off very well!
The menu is made up of French Cuisine, and it had a large offering of small plates if you wanted to have a dinner where you share and sample things with the table, or traditional large entree’s. We decided to order lot’s of the small plates so we could try as much as possible.
When I do a restaurant review I cringe a little because the hardest part is taking photo’s of the food to show you what we ate! Usually we are out for dinner when I review, so by the time we sit down at the restaurant things get a little romantic and the lights are dimmed. It was like a timer was on for our arrival, because as soon as we sat down the lights were dimmed. This would normally be a great additional to the ambiance, but when you are writing a review for your blog, you end up muttering a curse word under your breath, and do the best you can!
My applogies in advance for the quality of the food photo’s – the food was presented and looked beautiful in person!
We ordered so many of the small plates they likely wouldn’t all fit on our table, so we started with a few plates and as we finished them our server would bring out new additions. We started with their freshly baked bread, cut fresh from their bread table. My favourite was baked fresh with olives. I was lucky in some ways because my husband just started a no-carb diet, so the bread basket was mine! The poor guy – I chose a restaurant where there was an actual bread bar in the centre of the restaurant. Carbs were everywhere, so I am sure it was torture.
We tried the Sal Cod Donuts ($11) with a smoked potato dipping sauce, which we thought sounded a little strange so we tried them. They were so filling we couldn’t finish them. I thought I even tasted a bit of sugar on the outside (a homage to the “donut”?), and believe it or not it worked well with the flavours.
I’m not a super big fan of kale, but no-carb boy needed something to eat, so I offered to order the Crisp Dinosaur Kale & Queen Kale Salad ($10) with charred corn, king oyster mushrooms, and a chili lime dressing. That dressing had some kick, and it changed my mind a little about kale – this salad was actually pretty good considering my thoughts on kale.
The Potted Pork Creton ($10) was a Quebec style pork pate, with apple bread and an apple and lemon balm jam. This one I felt needed to have the jam in each bite or I wasn’t too wowed, but the jam really made it pop.
Yes, we ordered French fries. But listen, these were like the French fries of my dreams. AMAZING! Plus they aren’t really French fries, they are Crisp Frites ($8) with a garlic aioli, so it was much more sophisticated. We were dying. My carb-free date had a taste, and was ready to quit the diet because of these frites. So beware, they actually have the ability to convince you to do things you wouldn’t normally want to do.
Cheese is my weakness, so we decided to order the Triple Cream Delice de Bourgogne ($11) with toasted walnuts and a walnut sauce. My husband and I differed on our opinion of this one. He wasn’t a big fan because he thought it was too sweet and creamy. It was almost a whipped consistency. I thought it was to die for and I ate all of that cheese. Like I scraped the cutting board it came in on.
No dinner for me is complete without sampling the oysters at a restaurants raw bar, and luckily Cluny had their very own Raw Bar and Seafood Counter right in our view. We tried the two types of fresh oysters they had that day from PEI. We decided to order four and I ate three of them, so I am sure you can imagine my opinion on them. They were chilled, fresh, and shucked well without any shell debris. They came with a red wine vinigarette and their own spicy seafood sauce, fresh lemons and horseradish.
Instead of ordering dessert from the menu, we instead stopped at Cluny’s bakery which is connected to the restaurant. There you could buy their fresh breads, and desserts to eat there or take home. We picked up some macaroons because anywhere I see macaroons I buy them! We bought some to bring home to our babysitter for the night as they were some of the gluten free treats they had to offer (they had one other dessert that day which was gluten free as well). We had the salted caramel, strawberry flavoured, and the donut flavoured macaroon. They were much larger than ones I have had at Nadege or Butter Avenue in Toronto, and they were tasty too.
Kid friendly? I think yes! Although we had a pretty romantic dinner, we did see a couple children dining there for dinner. They had booster seats, and high chairs available. There is a children’s menu for brunch, but they do not have one for lunch or dinner. They seemed quite accommodating, and the server said that they were willing to modify items on their menu for children which I thought was pretty awesome. It’s one of those rare places where you could go for a date, or you could go with the kids and have a great experience both ways.
Overall I loved this place, and I will be back for sure.
Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie is located at 35 Tank House Lane in The Historic Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Toronto.