Le Pavillon Toronto

French bistro to open in former Toronto power plant

Le Pavillon is sure to be Toronto's most hyped restaurant this spring, even if it's only temporary. Operating during the Luminato Festival at the Hearn Generating Station, the classically inspired French bistro will have the most novel location in the city: the former power plant's control room.

This has long been a coveted space for urban explorers, but the thought of putting a restaurant here is quite daring. It's fitting, then, the partners behind the venture are some of the most respected names in the Canadian restaurant business. Le Pavillon is the brainchild of FrĂŠdĂŠric Morin (Joe Beef) and John Bil (Honest Weight).

When asked to describe the concept of the restaurant, Morin and Bil say that they're trying to resuscitate a version of French dining that no longer exists. "The space in the Control Room, not without reminding us of Homer Simpson's workplace would seem a better fit on a Kraftwerk album cover than as the home of this fleeting 'grand restaurant,' but that's the fun!"

There's no word about menu items yet, but in terms of vibe, the most illuminating bit of info is that the restaurant is modelled after The Copain dining scene in the French Connection, which features a brand of culinary opulence that's rarely witnessed today. That restaurant featured table-side cart service and classics like butter-drenched escargot, frogs legs, and roast beef tenderloin.

Given that the name Le Pavillon derives from what was one of the first French bistros to make waves in New York City back in the 1940s, it's not surprising that the focus will be on the classics. Owner Henri SoulĂŠ was a trailblazer, whose restaurant was emulated in pretty much every major city across the U.S. in the 1950s and '60s.

It will be an intimate space. Each night features 18 pre-bookable seats and an additional 24 reserved for walk-ups. Tickets for the 15-day event went on sale today, and are selling quickly. The cost of a dinner, which booked at two and a half hours is $113. Tax, tip, and alcohol are extra.

This is a dining experience that will likely never be reproduced in Toronto, so you can bet it will be the talk of town when it opens on June 10. For more information and reservations, head to the dedicated Luminato site for the restaurant.

Photo by Jonathan Castellino in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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