By: Alison Silveira
The Drake One Fifty in the Financial District is a wonderful spot for weekend brunch. I was invited to sample scrumptious dishes that did not disappoint!
While I nibbled on warm freshly-baked scones, head bartender, Gord Hannah, started off brunch by leading a cocktail master class. Did you know that the Caesar was invented in Calgary in 1969 by restaurateur, Walter Chell? We get to pour and mix this classic Canadian drink consisting of Absolut vodka, Clamato Juice, Carroll & Co. spice mix, horseradish and celery, while not forgetting to first salt the rim of the glass. If you like your Caesar spicy, the Cilantro Tequila Caesar is a must! See the recipe below for this delicious concoction!
You can also enjoy the original Sacre Coeur (Mezcal, dry vermouth, Capo Capo, lime juice, egg white, orange flower water, Perrier lime natural spring water) at the convivial marble bar near the large windows, which overlook York Street.
Chef de cuisine, Jon Pong serves a choice of brunch favourites including: house-smoked salmon Benny with dill hollandaise, salmon roe and toasted sesame; the Drake grilled shiitake omelette with furikake, Bulgarian feta and baguette crostini and the Drake breakfast. I opt for the latter, which includes skillet corn bread, breakfast sausage bacon, two poached eggs, chicharrónes and BBQ bean purée. It was certainly hearty and delicious, especially the fluffy cornbread and well-seasoned sausage bacon. I enjoyed these classic breakfast standards with a twist and had to save room for sweet, fluffy pancakes topped with miso banana caramel and chocolate cream.
“The Drake is known for its innovative cuisine and the flagship hotel has amassed a cult brunch following,” says executive chef Ted Corrado. “We want to bring that West Queen West flavour to the Downtown Core with some familiar dishes and new culinary creations that work for a light bite or hearty meal and always highlight the best Ontario has to offer.”
What I like about brunch in the Financial District is that it's not heavily busy or too loud. While that could change, for now, it is certainly refreshing to arrive at the Drake One Fifty without the usual weekday traffic.
The interior is large with booths and emerald-green banquettes in a classic space with a contemporary look and feel. Geometric patterns on the floor are visually pleasing to the eye. L.A.-based artist Gary Baseman’s exhibit, My Eyes are Bigger than my Stomach, feature quirky-looking, cartoon-like characters that pop off the walls.
I also appreciate that the Drake One Fifty is committed to working with local providers. The restaurant sources bacon and pork from Perth Pork, beef from Cumbrae’s, walnuts from 100km Foods Inc., cheese from The Cheese Boutique, Ocean Wise sustainable seafood, seasonal Ontario produce and foraged mushrooms. The Drake One Fifty prides itself of making all breads, pastries, granolas and preserves in-house in the Drake’s commissary kitchen.
If you needed a really good reason to justify enjoying a gluttonous brunch, go on Saturday, November 19, when 10% of brunch sales at Drake One Fifty, The Drake Hotel and Drake Devonshire will be donated to SickKids!
Brunch is served at the Drake One Fifty on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located at 150 York Street. For more information, visit: drakeonefifty.ca.
As promised, here's the recipe for the spicy Cilantro Tequila Caesar:
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. Carol + Co. Bloody Mix
- pinch horseradish
- Clamato Juice
- cracked Pepper
- celery Salt
- lemon wedge
1. Begin by moistening the rim of your glass with a lemon wedge, coat with celery salt and ice.
2. Next, bruise your cilantro by putting it in the palm of your hand and slapping it with the other. This will really bring out the flavour! Add the cilantro into the glass and pour in the tequila, Carol + Co. Bloody Mix, and horseradish.
3. Top off your glass with Clamato juice and garnish with olives and cracked pepper to taste!