Cafe Boulud 2.0

Back in 2014, I had dinner at Cafe Boulud during Summerlicious and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Thus I was surprised when Cafe Boulud shuttered their doors in June 2015 to undergo a full redesign in both aesthetic and food. Walking into the Cafe Boulud for this year’s Winterlicious felt like an entirely different restaurant. The space was unrecognizable from it’s previous incarnation. Reminiscent of a cozy French bistro with long booth seats and deep leather chairs, gone were the pop-art paintings, replaced by simple framed pieces.

Atmosphere: Being Winterlicious, Cafe Boulud was filled to capacity. We arrived early for our 5pm reservation, the first dinner seating and waited with a growing crowd of like-minded early birds. Complimentary coat check was available, which I took advantage of. Our table was across from the long brass bar and i watched the bartenders prep for a busy night. The dining space was warm, intimate and tables well spaced out. Perfect for date night. Diners were dressed from casual to suit and tie.

Service: This was the first time in awhile that service was lovely and added to my meal experience. Our server had a friendly, genuine smile, chatted with us about the menu and was patient as The Hubby snapped pictures. Bread crumbs were cleared before our first course (I always love this touch!) and we never sat long with an empty plate.

Food: Cafe Boulud’s Winterlicious menu offered 3 choices for each course. For appetizers, The Hubby ordered the charcuterie while I opted for the tuna tartare. The tartare was well seasoned, fresh and I liked the accompanying light yogurt sauce. In comparison The Hubby’s appetizer was more savoury and rich with a pot gold, aka chicken liver mousse. I would’ve been happy if the entire dish was just that amazing mousse.

When it came to entrees, I liked The Hubby’s pick more than mine. He chose the roasted lamb leg while I tried the seafood bouillabaisse. Thick slices of lamb was served in a pool of spiced yogurt with grains and parsley salad. The lamb was tender and not too gamey. My bouillabaisse had saffron potato, clams, mussels and a thick slab of grilled fish. The seafood was very fresh and cooked well. I especially liked the sweet, chewy clam. The fish soup base however, had a very strong flavour that was overpowering.

Both desserts we ordered were quintessentially French, comforting and so good. I had the bucket of freshly baked madeleines. The cookies were still warm, moist with a touch of lemon. I let The Hubby have a one, maybe even two, but they were hard to share. Besides, he had his own savarin, a moist cake soaked in rum topped with mango, pineapple and chantilly cream. I did eat half of his savarin as well.

Overall, I felt the redesign of Cafe Boulud gave the restaurant character. The space felt like no other in the city and my winterlicious meal was still stand-out. I’m looking forward to trying their regular menu and d|bar’s famous Monday Charcuterie nights.

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Café Boulud - Four Seasons Hotel Toronto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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