The Drake Hotel and executive chef Anthony Rose are excited to announce a unique and exciting “pop up” addition to Toronto’s culinary scene, the Dining Roadshow. The re-imagined dining space will be Drake’s newest food and beverage concept, featuring a seasonally changing restaurant, complete with rotating themes, menus and décor. The experience will be highly theatrical, intentionally whimsical, and above all else, temporary.
Chef Rose, alongside Drake’s dedicated culinary team, is taking his internationally inclined and locally focused approach to comfort food “on the road” with a restaurant-within-a-restaurant. The new space will feature different concepts, covering everything from a kitschy spin on a high school cafeteria to a colourful trip to Chinatown circa 1940s Los Angeles. These special, temporary menus will change every few months along with the design, packaging, music and performance art.
First Stop: Summer School Dining Hall
Thursday, June 23 to Sunday, September 4
The Dining Roadshow’s first stop takes us all the way back to high school. Unlike any high school cafeteria we’ve ever eaten in, the food at this mess hall is really, really good. This “haute” dining hall experience will include menu items like tomato alphabet soup made with ripe, red tomatoes from Cookstown Greens ($9), chilli con carne tortillas served with crispy tortillas from La Tortilleria ($11), lobster roll with poached Maritime lobster on a buttered, pan-fried hot dog bun ($28), pork ‘n’ beans sliced-to-order ($26) and a massive two-pound P.D.T. (please don’t tell) rib steak for two that’s hand-picked and perfectly aged from Cumbrae’s ($81).
The space will be transformed with communal tables made from old bowling alley lanes, vintage gramophones converted into light fixtures, and walls lined with old windows and bookshelves featuring school trophies, textbooks and retro class photos. Instead of vending machines for soda pop, Drake’s Dining Hall will feature an Enomatic wine dispenser, and a “teacher’s lounge” tucked away in the corner serving up summer cocktails with a twist, such as the senior high mai tai, the schoolyard bully punch, the P.D. Day lavender lemonade and even some sneaky little booze-infused juice boxes.
Daily specials will be served on cafeteria trays, lunchboxes will occupy the centre of each table, and glasses of wine will be served in borrowed beakers from science class. Servers will be dressed in prep school attire, and, on occasion, announcements from the principal will be heard overhead. Kids from the glee club might start rehearsing in the middle of dinner and there may even be a good old-fashioned food fight.
Second Stop: Chinatown
Thursday, September 8 to Saturday, November 19
With this year’s edition of TIFF comes the Dining Roadshow’s second stop: Chinatown. Think 1940s L.A., alongside the best in classic Asian cinema and your favourite Chinese dishes, all re-imagined through the eyes of chef Rose, who grew up eating some of the best Chinese in North Toronto. Drake’s Chinatown menu will feature items like firecracker maple shrimp, Chinatown ribs, oxtail wontons, coconut and chili lobster, Mongolian lamb chops and pork belly fried rice. This stop will be complete with old Hollywood paraphernalia, Chinese lanterns, custom quirky fortunes and more.
Third Stop: TBA
Drake’s Dining Roadshow will make a third stop on its culinary tour at the end of November with a brand new thematic, just in time for holiday celebrations. The menu and theme will be announced shortly. You won’t believe where the next stop is going!
Drake’s Dining Roadshow launches Thursday, June 23 and will be open from Tuesday through Saturday with the first seating at 6 p.m. and the last seating at 10:45 p.m. Call 416.531.5042 ext.1 for reservations.
The Drake Hotel is located at 1150 Queen Street West (between Dovercourt and Dufferin). Visit http://www.thedrakehotel.ca or call 416.531.5042 for more information.