Cactus Club Cafe Toronto
Toronto, ON M5H 1P9
The West Coast has invaded Toronto, and the city has welcomed it with open arms. The Cactus Club Cafe opened its doors just over a week ago and has been doing brisk business ever since. Helmed by Vancouver Chef Rob Feenie of Iron Chef fame, this is the 28th location for the upscale chain, but the first east of Saskatoon.
The 15,200 square foot space is divided into three distinct dining areas. On the ground floor, you’ll find Kate’s Bar, a good place to grab drinks and dinner with a friend. Upstairs is the quieter Rob Feenie Dining Room and Lounge, with plush leather seats and a romantic vibe. The all seasons rooftop lounge (the roof is retractable) has a party atmosphere in the evening, and some daylight during lunch. The Deck is already packed at 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Even at midday on a Sunday The Deck is starting to fill up. (Image: David Ort)
“We’re all very excited about the opening. I’ve been wanting to come here for the past 20 years and we’re glad it’s finally open,” says chef Rob Feenie. “The most popular dish so far is hard to predict, but the tuna stack that was just added to the menu and the ceviche is doing well.”
The regular menu strikes a fine balance of being geared to both the deep pockets of the financial district and the typical office worker looking for a reasonable lunch bite. Dishes are prepared with great attention to detail and high quality ingredients.
The menu features signature options like Rob’s Flatbread ($14) and Rob’s Tuna Stack ($16) along with staples like chicken tenders and fries ($13.75), teriyaki rice bowls ($17.50) and burgers.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Prawns ($25.75) is a favourite at other Cactus Club locations. It’s a rich and flavourful dish of pasta stuffed with a mascarpone and squash filling, and then topped with truffle butter, sautéed prawns and a crisp sage leaf.
Rob’s Tuna Stack: ($16) ocean wise albacore, citrus tamari vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado, micro cilantro and served with wonton chips. (Image: Amanda Nunes)
Even the lowly butternut squash soup is elevated. Here, the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup ($8.25) is served with seared scallops, crisp black pepper croutons and an apple curry foam.
Along with the typical menu, this location features eight dishes created especially for Toronto. They are the Lingcod Cocotte, Duck Confit, Double Braised Short Ribs and Feenie’s Beef Duo.
Lingcod Cocotte ($33) ocean wise lingcod, roasted mushroom, brioche croutons, pearl onions and truffle butter. (slightly smaller portion pictured) (Image: Amanda Nunes)
For the Ocean Wise-approved Lingcod Cocotte ($33) a filet is seared to a crisp and sits in a truffle butter broth filled with pearl onions, brioche croutons and roasted porcini and button mushrooms.
Feenie’s Beef Duo ($44) is an AAA roasted beef tenderloin served alongside a tender braised beef short ribs with port wine au jus and a smear of celeriac puree. The thinly sliced potato pave on the side is not to be overlooked, and is a perfect pairing.
The restaurant has a prime location in First Canadian Place’s Adelaide Street facade. (Image: David Ort)
The restaurant has an extensive wine list curated by award-winning sommelier Sebastien Le Goff and also has a selection of handcrafted cocktails. It’s safe to say that this much anticipated spot will continue to draw a crowd even after the dust settles.
Published on: Nov 9, 2015