Address: 550 Wellington Street West. Toronto, ON M5V 2V5
Phone: (647) 348 – 7000
Tucked in the Fashion District is Colette Grand Cafe, bringing the streets and culture of Paris, France to life in Toronto, Canada. Hid within the developed condominium community, I was quite surprised to see a restaurant so cute and unique, adding diversity and multiculturalism within the city. The restaurant expressed a theme of spring’s bloom and refreshment with the plants and the blue-white canopy. The park, the low rise townhouses in front made the outlook of the eatery very relaxing, slows down your pace and sights could be perceived a couple of miles away. There is a parking lot, holds fifty cars, across the street, which is convenient for drivers. Taxis are lined at the front door, which is also convenient for travelers. The restaurant intersects on Bathurst Street, therefore, TTC street cars and transit are easily approached.
The decor was gorgeous, a European influenced or inspired design. I love the high ceilings and the arches, causing an illusion where the space is very tall and grand, especially with the chandeliers. If you noticed, there are a lot of round shapes in the restaurant – arched ceilings, lighting and chairs. The shape helped to unite the ground and ceiling, instead of being a separate entity. The tiling work, especially how it is on an angle, elongated the space too, wider and longer than usual. Natural sunlight seeps through the full drop down windows at the front, resonates through the whole restaurant by reflecting off the white walls, pale beige chairs, tables, and tiles. The natural light not only adds life to the restaurant, it also acted as the main element of the whole design. It felt as if the interior united as one with the exterior, like you are sitting outside or in the hallway.
Meanwhile, the buffet area has a complete different theme from the dining space. It is darker in colour, with wood floors, like the 1800s castles in Europe. I think it helps to differentiate the spaces from one another. I absolutely love the flow, the grandeur and sophisticated beauty of the whole restaurant.
My girlfriends and I reserved for a Sunday Brunch Buffet, $54 per person, early in the day, at 10:30 am, when they open. Each buffet customer can be seated for two hours. Once the two hours limit is up, the servers automatically bring the bill over. You can cheat-sit there for as long as you want, if you do not get caught. But if you were asked to leave, they give you the option to sit on the patio to enjoy the beautiful weather, as long as there is space.
Colette offers a wide selection of food items in their buffet. *Note: Food selection changes weekly. They are made according to the supplies of fresh produce purchased by the restaurant. What I had and seen in the pictures can be different from your selection when you visit.*
The large salad bar and cold cooked food selection is located at the entrance of the cafe.
The salad bar was quite standard. There were three types of green salad – baby spring mix with arugula, spinach and radicchio or garden salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions or a kale salad. You can top it the different sauces on the side – balsamic vinaigrette, thousand island sauce, Italian dressing. They also had extra toppings like nuts, dried fruits, oat on the side to additional touches to your salad. A Mediterranean twist was added to the menu by serving a quinoa and a couscous salad, made with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, red onions and olive oil. They also had a lentil salad with kidney beans, chick peas, tomatoes, pepper, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Italian pasta salad or a Greek style pasta salad were part of the options too. Thai curry bowl was spotted within the large food selection, as well as, a Spanish paella inspired rice dish. Italian stuffed tomatoes, peppers and eggplants were served. There was many more choices, but my brain could only remember so much. Nonetheless, the selection was diverse and multicultural, like there was always something for everyone.
A fresh and unlimited copious amount of cooked seafood – mussels, smoked salmon, king crab legs, shrimp and lobster meat – with bowl of sliced lemons for juicing and a bowl of pungent cocktail sauce to bring out the natural flavour sat gloriously next to the salad choices. During the refill process, I admire the staff for changing the food trays while stocking up.
I loved the large antipasto tray of salami, prosecutto, sausage, olives, mozzarella, pamigiano, and a cheese I do not recognize. On the side, they had marinated grilled eggplants, artichoke hearts, grilled zucchini, asparagus and peppers. You can customize your antipasto to your own taste and have unlimited supply of it. Everything was scrumptiously fresh, with strong sweet flavours.
Hot foods area is tucked inside the cafe and offers a standard breakfast selection. The hot food trays contain sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, french toast, potatoes. They also had caramelized peaches and brie on the side, therefore you have the opportunity to make your own sauce for the dough goodies. Roast beef and wellington salmon were readily prepared within the selection, where both were kept hot under the heat lamp, cut to the customer’s request.
Fresh omelettes were made fresh on the spot per customer’s request and customized to their palette because they get to pick what could be on the omelette from the list of ingredients provided. *Remember, you can choose between egg whites or not.* When prepared, approximately 10 to 15 minutes, the server will bring it up to your sitting table.
The dessert and fruit bar had a lot of variety. Those with the sweet tooth could choose from parfait, chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cake pops, meringue, lemon bundt cake, citrus triffle, strawberry shortcake, madeline, black forest trifle. I was relatively disappointed with the dessert selection the day I visited because they either lacked flavour or did not have enough variety. In fact, they did not represent the complexity and delicacy of French style pastries, like macarons, eclairs, specialty croissants, puff pastries, tarts, mousse cakes etc. While, the healthy individual could choose from cantelope, honeydew, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, grape, watermelon, and orange.
Food was very healthy and fresh. If you love food the way I do, you will love the variety of selection that you can try out. I enjoy the customization in pretty much everything. Instead of picking from a fixed menu, you make your own. One thing I ask the restaurant to do is to label each dish, just for clarity. The kitchen staff are very intelligent and clever because everything they prepare does not conflict with cultural, religious or personal behaviours. I hope to try the Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce some day!
You know Colette is a high end restaurant when all the food was plated in Staub cast iron pots, or Staub ceramic kitchenware. In fact, our dining ware were made of sterling silver because they are heavy duty and you see the polishing marks. These little fine details make the restaurant special and provides confidence to the customers. I must compliment the restaurant’s management staff. The servers change all our dining ware to prevent cross contamination and mixing of flavours. Also, when the new session begins to roll in, they completely prepare new fresh food and serving utensils. Nothing from the previous time slots were served and used again. It was really considerate because this helps quality control and good restaurant management. In conclusion, I had a pleasant but expensive experience at Colette Grand Cafe.