The Reveal - Colette Grand Café

The Gist: Steven Salm didn't plan on opening four restaurants in a year. It just happened.

He and Chef Michael Steh fell for the neighbourhood and the "community reinvented landscape" filled with urban professionals, agencies and families. Because of that, they wanted to "provide an environment that's really active all day long." They started with the idea of a French bakery and it grew from there. Now it’s a restaurant, café and bakery with options for every meal of the day. All in an elegant, yet unstuffy setting.

And because it’s Chase Hospitality Group (you’ll know their other restaurants – The ChaseThe Chase Fish & Oyster, and Little Fin), the attention to detail and service is as important as the dishes coming out. As Steven says, “Service is a direct reflection of how the food appears on the plate.”
 
Fare: Usually this section goes by the moniker 'grub' but Colette is just too fine a lady for such a crass term. The food here is modern French - simple dishes done well and finished with refinement. Everything from Crab Curry and Rabbit Confit, to Trio de Foie Gras and Shellfish Mariniere. Even brunch is transformed with a Grand Buffet including carving, salad, fresh fruit and pastry stations. 

The bakery, which is open all day, offers a tempting array of freshly baked goods from macarons, entremets, tartes, croissants, baguettes, breads, chocolate chip brownies, fianciers, and a soft egg, cheese and bacon muffin. C’est magnifique, n’est pas?

Libations: The creative house cocktails at Colette run from joie de vivre to après-ski, from the celebratory to the sophisticated:
La Poire ($17) Pear Puree, Calvados, Fino Sherry, Lemon, Ginger Liquer, Sparkling Wine
Wanderlust ($16) Tequila, Gin, Elderflower Liquer, Lemon and Grapefuit
Armagnac Spice ($16) Bison Grass Vodka, Armagnac, Lemon juice, Cinnamon Syrup, Egg White, Candied Ginger
Boulevardier Fumé ($15) Bourbon, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Bowmore 12 yr Old Scotch
Bonne Nui ($15) Dark Rum, Port, Ginger Syrup, Agave, Egg, Chocolate "Straw"

‘Hood: King & Bathurst
 
Deets: There are 150 seats spread out over a luxurious 5,000 square feet, so it's an impossibility to feel crowded here. If anything, you'll want to linger in the space. Different areas were created "intimate, unique experiences" with the dining room, café, library and covered outdoor terrace all separate, yet under the same stunning roof. 
 
Fixtures & Fittings: The beauty and detailing is very feminine (completely opposite to how Scarpetta was) with light shades of blue and yellow, accented with clean whites. The restaurant design was done by Architect Gianpiero Pugliese, AUDAXarchitecture, but it was Steven and his mother, Carla-Rae Prober, an interior designer, that gave the room its distinct Parisian look. Whether you’re in the library or pavilion, there are exquisite touches everywhere - barrel vault ceilings, French cafe-style seating, hand-painted tiles. 

Off the Menu: La Tour de Colette ($65 for 2) features a bevvy of prepared and raw vegetables, lobster, crab, and mussels with aioli and breadsticks. Just try not to feel like you’re in Paris right now. One of the only places in the city doing raw veal, and thank goodness. Tartare de Veau ($16) is so fresh and tantalizing - with its fresh herb pistou, horseradish, hard boiled egg, and grilled seeded sourdough - that the usual beef version just won’t cut it anymore. 

Anyone who cooks knows the difficulty of making soufflé, so the Souffle au Chevre ($16) is extra special. The airy light texture of the goat cheese is deep in flavour. Served with warm beets, walnut crust, arugula & mustard vinaigrette. Lobster a L'Americane ($42) is at once decadent and comforting with stewed yellow and red cherry tomatoes, spaghetti, sauce L'Americane and poached lobster. Le Poulet ($28) features brick roasted chicken with crisp skin, cut into rustic pieces, brushed with fresh herbs, and served atop fresh bean cassoulet.

How Cool is This?! Check out the collection of small hot air balloons in the corner of the bakery. It’s beautiful and whimsical and oh-so-French.  

At the Stove: Chef Michael Steh, Chef de Cuisine Matthew Swift, Pastry Chef Leslie Steh
 
FOH: General Manger Pierre Marguet and Event Manager Jessica Echenberg
 
Head Honchos: Steven Salm, President, and Michael Kimel, Co-Founder, New Business Development, Chase Hospitality Group

Visiting Hours:
Bakery
Open daily 7 am - 6 pm
Dine-in & to-go
No reservations required
Dining room
Monday to Friday: Lunch & Dinner
11:30 am - close
Saturday: Dinner
5 pm - close
Sunday: Buffet Brunch
10 am - close
(reservations recommended)
 
Map It: 550 Wellington St. W. (just south of King & Bathurst)
 
Phone It In: (647) 348-7000

Check out all the photos on our Facebook page.