V for Victor eh?
Victor Restaurant is a dining establishment located inside the Le Germain Hotel Toronto Mercer in downtown Toronto, which is slightly hidden, just behind King Street West on the much quieter Mercer Street. Read our review of the hotel here.
Hotel restaurants often get bad press, and often rightly so for boring menus of burgers, pasta and club sandwiches. However, Victor Restaurant have spiced things up, replacing their old menu with French Creole-inspired cuisine.
This was our first visit to Toronto, and in fact Canada, so setting the scene, it was warm and cosy with subdued lighting when we dined. Contrast that to the darkness and cold winter weather outside.
Being suckers for cocktails we were offered these two beauties.
Victor G&T - Rhubarb and ginger gin, Cochi Rossi, grapefruit slices, rosemary and pink peppercorns.
Victor 75 - Bourbon, St. Germain, angostura bitters, orange zest and a sparkling reisling from nearby Niagara.
Our first starter was a classic Steak tartare with house mustard, vegetables and slices of grilled baguette. Moderately piquant, the mustard was delicious and the steak was non-fatty and delicate.
While our other starter was white grilled shrimp crab croquette smoked pepper. Creole comfort food with warming, lively flavours. Again, a little bit piquant with chargrilled prawns and a meaty crab cake to complete a happy round one of food.
Lake Erie almond fish - fish from not too far away (didn't catch the specific fish though) served with French beans, wild rice, lime and butter sauce. The fish was cooked to perfection - nicely browned with a crispy skin, sliced almonds and a buttery citrus flavour. The beans were also cooked flawlessly with a squeaky crunch.
Braised Ontario lamb shoulder with roasted mushroom, celeriac purée and porcini jus so this was overall quite rustic and earthy. Quite wintery too, a bit like a deconstructed stew, we enjoyed this immensely. Comforting but not too heavy.
We shared a chocolate cinnamon bread pudding with butterscotch sauce, vanilla Chantilly cream, oat crumbles and petals of edible flowers. Lots going on here! Plenty of sweet flavours, fruity flavours, some spice and cream too. With a mix of soft and crunchy textures it was a very satisfying way to end the meal.
The setting was lovely, service was exceptional and we were certainly treated to a special meal. We love foodie surprises and the menu was only just changing when we visited so quite different to what we were expecting from reading about the restaurant prior to our trip. The chef even came out at the end of the meal to talk about the new menu and offered us some spice rubs for taking back home with us!
This was good honest food taking inspiration from many places but utilising many local ingredients like the lamb, fish and wine in our Victor 75. In addition to the cocktails we also had a local beer, Octopus wants to fight from the Great Lakes Brewery, which was a smooth, hoppy beer. Cloudy with a prominent head and herby orange flavour.
As we were staying as guests at the hotel we did not use the nearby toilet facilities, instead preferring to use those in our room so we did not perform our usual 'toilet check' but I'm sure they were in good order like the rest of the lobby and reception area.
Note that there are two Le Germain Hotels in Toronto and this restaurant is located at the Mercer St hotel.
+ Interesting menu with a focus on creole cuisine
+ Excellent fine-dining food
+ Provenance of food and drinks
+ Cosy interior, hidden away from main street
- No toilets in the restaurant itself so you need to use hotel facilities, which require a lift
30 Mercer St,
Website Victor Restaurant
Breakfast Mon - Sun 6:30am - 11am
Dinner Mon - Sat 5pm - 10:30pm Closed Sundays
Telephone : 416-883-3431
The restaurant is at ground level and wheelchair accessible. Toilets are on the second floor of the hotel but easily accessed from the elevator.
Disclaimer: we received a complimentary meal but the food was exceptional and although Fred wasn't there I'm sure he would have enjoyed each course for he is a kitty connoisseur.