Avalon shares many of the qualities of a successful love affair; it’s plenty serious about the right things but has wicked fun with others. It’s stark and elegant, bright and comfortable. If you’re here for Dinner with a capital D, plan to spend big money, feel serious, and eat well.
The room is stark, clean and simple, with table setting nicely spaced. Large windows along one wall look out toward CN towerville, the ledges set with fresh bouquets of red roses. Simple clean design hints are the soulful remnants of the building’s past when it was occupied by One of One. This tiny, romantic room sits proudly in the centre of clubland.
Chris McDonald is the chef/owner here, and holds tight reign on all goings on. And it shows; A Muscovy duck breast has a heady intense taste of porcini mushrooms and caramelized onions, wood-grilled sardines and steam-smoked Atlantic salmon. A classic infrastructure – big protein, big sauce, and a starch, flavours reflecting a confidence with global ingredients.
Start with the wood-grilled sardines or the Jerusalem artichoke soup, working up to the exotic crisp fried calves brains. Try one of the chef-selected four-course dinners, and look for that unadulterated treat that shows up from time to time.
Discreet waiters hover about, and the food, although not showcasey, always beyond pleasing. In fact, food here is the culinary equivalent of Neitzche; intense, and way over our heads. Even the service goes above and beyond, with waiters timing up your meal starting with our petite amuse gueule.
The gastronomic menu includes six courses for $85 – and the ingredients are rich. Make no mistake, this is pure expense account dining. So, prepare yourselves for a bill and a half!
Follow the slim marble staircase into the elegant, compact dining room. Careful attention to detail is clear, whether in the spray of fresh flowers on each table or the menu, which is created daily. (There’s both an a la carte menu and a prix-fixe Chef’s Gastronomic Menu.) Avalon has one of the most inventive kitchens in the city, and it demonstrates its creativity through pairings of flavors rather than a showy multiplicity of ingredients. Main courses favor fish and fowl, such as steamed Boston fluke and Alaskan king crab with a sweet-pea sauce, or lightly smoked Moulard duck breast with pommes Anna and a black currant coulis. Desserts include treats like pear-and-elderflower sorbet and a wide selection of cheeses. The globetrotting wine list represents New World and Old.