Cactus Club Cafe Sherway Gardens
Etobicoke, ON M9C 1B8
Cactus Club Café is all set to open its second location in the GTA at Etobicoke’s Sherway Gardens shopping centre this week.
The new outpost will be unveiled on Oct. 24, after an intimate first-look tasting event held for local food media. On hand to mingle with the crowd at the event was Richard Jaffray, president and founder of the Vancouver-based upscale-casual restaurant chain, and two of the chief architects of the Sherway location’s menu, Food Network Iron Chef Rob Feenie and local chef Cory Vitiello, who’s head of culinary development in Toronto.
The Sherway Gardens location is part of a $550-million redevelopment that has added upscale retailers and brought The Keg and JOEY Restaurants, among others, into the mall’s dining mix. This is Cactus Club’s second Ontario restaurant; the first opened in downtown Toronto in 2015.
“When the opportunity for [the Sherway location] became available, we wanted to do something from a design perspective that was special. As a suburban restaurant, this is our best one yet. It’s a flagship location,” Jaffray told Post City Magazines. “Building on the success of our first Toronto location in the Financial District, our new location will allow us to reach more guests and continue to grow our brand in the East.”
The Sherway location’s doors open to the public on Oct. 24 at 5:00 pm.
Inside its doors lies a sleek, two-level, 450-seat space decked out in contemporary decor accents and materials — Brazilian slate floors, white oak beams and red cedar, among others. Punctuating the space are works from Cactus Club’s art collection, including pieces from Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and L.A. street artist Mr. Brainwash. A large custom piece of Marilyn Monroe, created by local artist Daniel Mazzone, animates the soaring two-storey entranceway.
Work by Daniel Mazzone — whose art has also been prominently displayed at Yonge and St. Clair — hangs in the foyer
Beyond the art, the space features a second-floor, all-season dining room and lounge outfitted with one of the largest retractable restaurant roofs in North America.
On the food side, the kitchen’s handiwork was on full display courtesy of a five-course dinner served in the street-level dining room aglow with flickering votive candles. Showcasing the kitchen’s globally inspired, modern Canadian fare, the meal featured two of Feenie’s signature dishes, double-braised beef short rib with buttered mashed potatoes, and puff pastry apple galette with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and two of Vitiello’s creations, lobster and prawn squid ink tagliatelle with pistachio green chili pesto, and salmon fresca with fresh herbs, baby gem tomatoes, shaved fennel and hummus.
The lobster and prawn tagliatelle
Complementing the food was a selection of wines poured by sommelier and service director Sebastien Le Goff, who has curated a list featuring labels from Canada and around the world.
By Don Douloff
Published: October 24, 2018