Hunters Landing recently opened amidst the condos of CityPlace, one of the country's most densely populated high rise communities. The restaurant sits at the pedestal of the Luna condo complex overlooking Canoe Landing park on Fort York Boulevard. And it's already busy.
Owned by Steve Pelton, Peter Brauti, John Young and Scott Manicom, it's the same team behind the much missed South of Temperance , as well as, Williams Landing , and a yet to open Oakville outpost; Harpers Landing. Operations manager Jesse Topliffe along with Pelton oversees the day-to-day and it's Topliffe who's on site today to give me the low-down; He even has his own unit in the still growing condo development and seems genuinely invested in the neighbourhood.
The menu from chef Dennis Palma-Cendeño is varied enough to appeal to pretty much everyone. There's a decent selection of vegetarian plates along with clearly marked gluten-free options. In the evenings there are apps, pizzas, salads, burgers, pastas, mains and desserts.
I try out the Classica Pizza ($14), a stone oven baked pie topped with melted fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, finished with a criss-cross of balsamic syrup. It's an accomplished pie, particularly for a place that lacks a specialty focus.
Under mains, there's a 10oz Ribeye ($32) served with mascarpone mashed potatoes, bacon-chianti sauce, a house pickled cherry pepper and thoughtfully-chosen seasonal veggies, in this case; rapini and grilled tomato. While the steak is delicious, it's the potatoes that have me considering licking the plate, and, in spite of this year's CNE fiasco, I finally have my first taste of bacon preserves. I have to admit the sweet and salty preserve is delicious.
The AKA Chocolate Cake ($6) is a gluten-free dessert that's topped with cookies and cream icing, plum compote, mint syrup and a sprinkle of crushed sea salted hazelnut brittle.
Brunch served weekends, features standards like eggs, bennies and yogurt parfaits - there's even a kids menu. Most impressive is the brunch-only, Absolut Cure ($16) caesar cocktail that Topliffe has made up for us special, out of hours. It's garnished to the max with an entire east coast lobster tail, brisket slider, strips of smoked bacon, a wedge of house smoked mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and a variety of house pickles. It's totally ridiculous, and also, totally awesome.
Occupying a pretty corner lot, the restaurant spans two floors and boasts big open windows with direct sightlines of Douglas Coupland's fishing bobber-inspired installation (also the new city appointed food truck rally point). McMillan Design warmed up the industrial space with eclectic wood paneled walls, copper pipe lighting and a few cozy nooks for semi-private dining. A large wrap-around patio comes complete with its own bar.
Hunters Landing is a solid destination for those who live nearby, and once the nearby construction is complete, the area wÌ¶iÌ¶lÌ¶lÌ¶ Ì¶bÌ¶eÌ¶ could one day be accessible by a streetcar connecting Spadina to Bathurst along Fort York. The restaurant is open weekdays from 11:30am until 2am; on weekends, brunch is offered from 10am to 3pm and the kitchen keeps cooking 'til 1am.
Photos by Jesse Milns