Browsing and Sluicing in Toronto and the Niagara Peninsula
Jonathan Ray discovers that Canada’s most vibrant and global city is home to some exceptional restaurants and a vibrant cocktail culture with some of North America’s most exciting wines on its doorstep.
Toronto is an eight hour flight from London (and not even seven back) and is as entertaining a place to visit for a long weekend as New York or Chicago. There are trendy shops and boutiques, fine galleries and museums, a fantastic film festival and the coolest of cool jazz scenes. Best of all, there are some superb restaurants and the cocktail bars are among the most exciting and innovative it has been my pleasure to order a rum negroni in.
My Westjet flight from Gatwick is three hours late and I miss dinner with my date but even that can’t dampen my spirits; I’m in Toronto and I’m going to have a blast. Best of all, I’m going to concentrate on the bars and the restaurants. Oh and the wines. If I stray by chance into a gallery or museum, so be it, but it’s the grub and the booze I’m here for.
I make straight for the Four Seasons and into its dbar where I sink a large glass of 2012 Charles Baker Riesling from just down the road in Niagara. It’s pitch perfect and just what I was after although I didn’t know it. Crisp, clean and apple fresh with typical petrol on the nose, it slips down disarmingly easily.
I order a Yankee Burger and wash this down with a large glass of 2012 Norman Hardie Unfiltered Pinot Noir, also local and also a belter. It’s deeply coloured and concentrated with dark and sour cherry flavours, damsons and a touch of spice. Heavens the wines of Ontario are good! I have a glass of 2012 ‘Stratus’ Syrah to make sure.