My first stop for this year’s Summerlicious was Bymark – one of several Chef Mark McEwan’s restaurants, located in the Financial District at Wellington St & Bay St. Both Chrissy and I were extremely excited about this lunch date since Chef McEwan is such a highly-regarded figure in the Toronto food scene. And seeing that he was the main judge of the show Top Chef Canada, we were expecting nothing less than perfection ;)
Before I begin my review of Bymark, I’d like to talk a bit about my thoughts on Summerlicious. I know that many people tend not to judge a restaurant’s quality based on a Summerlicious/Winterlicious experience since they don’t have high expectations anyway, but my question is, why shouldn’t we?
1. If anything, a Summerlicious experience is even more important than an experience based on their regular menu. Why? Because restaurants should put out food that they’re actually proud of. If the food isn’t up to standards, then what makes it okay to serve it? Due to the fact that there’s a higher volume of customers and the prices are lower? So the chefs/cooks are incapable of delivering quality food or service consistently?
2. The purpose of Summer/Winterlicious is for restaurants to showcase their food and expand their customer base. If new customers are unsatisfied with their meal, then why would they even bother returning? This is a wonderful chance for restaurants to make many good first impressions, so I don’t understand why so many would mess up this huge opportunity by serving mediocre food.
Okay, time to get back to my lunch experience at Bymark :) Their lunch menu was set at $25, and dinner at $45. Bymark is made up of a dining room, bar, and an amazing patio. I enjoyed dining in the warm and comfortable dining room as the ambiance was great. It felt good to dine at a restaurant that we’ve actually seen on TV ;D Although our waiter was friendly and didn’t rush us at all, it took a while for our orders to be placed.
For appetizer, both Chrissy and I tried the Tuna Tartare with avocado salsa, vegetable spring roll & spiced aioli. What I enjoyed about the tuna tartare was how it was put together – neither too loose nor too packed together. However, I found the temperature not ideal since it was on the warmer side – who wants to be served raw fish or meat warm? Certainly not appetizing in my opinion. There was also more vinegar added than it required; the sourness overpowered the natural tuna flavour. The avocado salsa was again not cold enough, but I liked how creamy and rich it was. The vegetable spring roll was delicious and fried perfectly.
My main course was a Roasted Turkey Sandwich with a side of french fries, and I got to say, this was one tasty gigantic sandwich alright. A generous amount of succulent roasted turkey sandwiched between two slices of crisp bread and a combination of fresh toppings; it was mouth-watering goodness. The combination of avocado, crisp pancetta, tomato, roasted garlic aioli, and rocket salad was just divine – it worked with this turkey sandwich. The flavours and textures went together really well, and the bread didn’t become soggy because of all the ingredients. I simply loved it!
Chrissy chose the B.C. Halibut in Banana Leaf that came with leek hearts, beets, fingerling potatoes, and a light coconut broth. From what she told me, the fish was fresh, flakey, and tender. The vegetables were the right softness and the light coconut broth complemented the halibut without taking away from it.
My dessert came in the form of a House Made Ice Cream Sandwich with a white chocolate banana lollipop. The plating was fantastic and this entire dessert was such a delight. I would’ve liked a softer sandwich since it was a little difficult to eat, but that’s the fun part of eating an ice cream sandwich :) The vanilla flavour in the ice cream was very evident and the fresh cream underneath was delish. The lollipop was creamy and not too sweet, not to mention how much I love banana flavoured foods without liking the fruit itself ;) I think it’s the mushy texture of bananas that turn me off, haha. This was a fabulous finish to my lunch at Bymark!
The other dessert we had was Chocolate Marquise with raspberry coulis & meringue crumble. Incredibly rich, chocolately, and dense – we both found it pleasing. Although not a fan of berries, I have to admit that raspberries go well with chocolate. The raspberry coulis not only added some colour to the presentation, but a tang that contrasted the sweetness of the chocolate marquise itself. Exquisite!
I had to take a shot of the restroom because it was pretty fancy ;)
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed in the food at Bymark, but I certainly wasn’t wowed either. I would consider making a return visit for their Lobster Poutine or Lobster Grilled Cheese though! Also, I wouldn’t mind if they speeded up their service a little bit either ;D
66 Wellington Street West
Toronto, ON M5K 1B1