Bosk, the signature restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto, takes its name from the French word bosquet: a small wooded area that can lend refreshing reprieve from the elements. Set foot inside, and another French word may come to mind: touché, because a welcome respite is exactly what you’ve found.
Warm oak panelling and screens propagate that forested feel and the ceilings are artfully dotted with pendulum-like Bocci lights (180 hang spectacularly above the bar). Outside, a seasonal terrace was opened this past May to allow for a luxe, fresh-air picnic of sorts—don’t forget the sangria—and chef Damon Campbell’s menu hasn’t ventured far from nature either. Originally from Vancouver, Campbell sharpened his knives working at the French Laundry and Lafite before moving to Toronto and focusing on contemporary Canadian cuisine. Fruits de mer are bountiful at Bosk—think Nova Scotia scallops, wild Atlantic halibut, and a decadent Northern Divine “caviar donut”—as are other summer menu delicacies like Brome Lake Duck with pistachio and hibiscus jus, or Ontario iceberg salad with cornbread, grapes, and blue cheese.
No matter the season, chef Campbell’s passion for butter takes pride of place on each table beside the ritualistic bread basket. Members of the kitchen staff create their own bespoke blends daily, so the butter’s flavour du jour is always a surprise (perhaps a salty pat with seaweed, or a sweeter ricotta, honey, and rosemary combination.) Bosk’s parmesan focaccia—though delicious in its own right—is not the right vehicle for these luxe spreads. Instead request a plain, crusty baguette. The French have taught us well, after all.
Bosk Restaurant, 188 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 0A3, 647-788-8294.