Toronto, ON M5J 1E3
The Fairmont Royal York's new signature restaurant Reign is serving artful plates of French fare in a sophisticated setting.
Reign was introduced as the more food-focused half of a two-part redesign meant to mark the historic landmark's 90th anniversary this year. Its sister restaurant, Clockwork — which got its name from the massive 90th anniversary clock that now towers of the bar — offers champagne and cocktails with small sharing plates for a quick bite.
Like Clockwork, Reign was designed by the award-winning design firm the Rockwell Group. It sits off to the side of the lobby bar and begins with its bakery and café. The countertop stretches on to become Reign’s cocktail bar where guests can enjoy live piano or the quiet crackle of the enormous glass-encased fireplace. The Pavilion can be found further into the restaurant, where archways split off into the private and semi-private dining rooms of Reign.
The kitchen is lead by executive chef jW Foster, back from his work at other Fairmont hotels in Banff, San Francisco, Dallas, and Shanghai.
“It means a lot to be back,” says Foster. “We used to drive by this big hotel when I was a kid, and when I finally got the chance to work here [in 2002] it never left me. The experience of working around the world was incredible, but I felt the story between this hotel and me was never complete.”
For Foster, the most important aspects of the new menus are sustainability, seasonality, and buying local. Complying with Ocean Wise standards for sustainably caught seafood and working with approximately 120 local Ontario farmers are two ways Foster is bringing those culinary philosophies to the plate.
“This is a historic property in Canada and it’s important to showcase what we produce in Ontario,” says Foster. “A lot of our farmers will say their grandpa or aunt or somebody brought them to this hotel when they were kids, and it’s important to them to be a part of this.”
One of the best examples of this is Reign’s Niçoise salad ($25). Sustainably caught albacore is marinated, seared, and served with what’s seasonally available from local farmers. In this case, it was served with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, olives, green beans, and a sliced duck egg.
Reign’s steak au poivre ($75) is an angus rib eye served with a perfect brandy jus, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.
Reign’s aged hanger steak ($44) is served with double-cooked frites, mustard aioli, marrow butter, and red wine jus.
For something a little different, you can order the frites at Clockwork ($12), where they’re fried in duck fat and served with a side of garlic aioli, Harissa sauce, and ketchup.
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