BRONTE - Fantastic beef cheek main course and fantastic creative desserts! The appetizers (I had the foie gras, and Dad had the squid) were the only weak point, and even then they were good (8 out of 10). The 3rd Star is my new favourite cocktail - prosecco, white cranberry juice, fragoli, and wild strawberries - absolutely delicious and perfectly balanced flavours! Amuse-bouche of venison tartare, sweet potato chip and mini beet was lovely. My dad had the haunch of venison main course but said it lacked "succulence". The desserts were absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed the pineapple ravioli with coconut swimming in parsley juice, flowers, passionfruit and raspberries. Dad was fascinated by his dessert - a deconstructed olive tart with olive oil sorbet - more savoury than sweet, but great nonetheless. The wine list seemed decent, but they only had one red and one white by the glass. The Spanish red was unimpressive, but he liked the New Zealand white. I didn't enjoy the Muscat D'Asti Nivole dessert wine, but glad I tried it. Overall, the service was good but the booth was too close to the smoky bar area. Supple white leather everywhere - very luxurious seating and a minimalist yet warm atmosphere. Nice washrooms inside hotel lobby. Overall 9 out of 10.
LE RENOIR - a great deal at $40 for 3 courses. Free round of aperitifs, so I tried their version of the 3rd Star. Not as smooth, it lacked the white cranberry juice of Bronte's version, and had a stronger taste. Great service, as my Dad has visited before and they remembered him. The amuse bouche was announced in French but I think it involved some kind of Quebec cheese coated in nuts and pistachios and then fried - quite nice. The squid appetizer stuffed with foie gras and oxtail was a bit unusual, and the combination of textures was okay but not wonderful. The tuna appetizer was quite good. My main course, lobster with white truffle macaroni, was fantastic, but the artichoke mash on the side was too sharp of a contrast with the rest of the dish. The monkfish with cumin and cilantro was lovely (according to my mom, who normally hates fish), and my dad had the venison, which he was happy to say was much better than Bronte's version. The mini-desserts come on a trolley and we could pick 3 each. They were very good, but not excellent. I tried the lemongrass creme brulee, the dark chocolate/apple shotglass, and the milk chocolate, pistachio, lavender, and apricot shotglass. The wines by the glass were quite good, and I tried an Alsace Riesling with my lobster. They use Mighty Tea for organic teas, and plunger coffee, both included in the $40 price. Overall 8 out of 10. A little smoky near the bar, so our table was by the open kitchen, which is not the best view in this case. Washrooms in the hotel lobby were nice.