What’s on the menu at Joni, the renovated Park Hyatt Toronto’s swanky new restaurant

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What’s on the menu at Joni, the renovated Park Hyatt Toronto’s swanky new restaurant

Name: Joni
Contact: 4 Avenue Rd., 647-948-3130, hyatt.com, @jonirestaurant
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Owners: Park Hyatt
Chef: Antonio Soriano
Seating: 90 in main dining area, 30 in lounge
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, physically distanced tables, contact tracing
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

On the main floor of the newly reopened and restored Park Hyatt, Joni serves globally influenced fare inspired by the city’s sprawling food scene. It’s as luxurious as you’d expect for the upscale hotel chain, but refreshingly free of stuffy traditionalism. “In the kitchen, we play like kids,” says Soriano. And so, some of the menu’s best features are the fruits of trial and error: like a purée made with month-old “black apples” aged at precisely controlled temperature and humidity, an experiment inspired by black garlic (and much more delicious than it sounds). From-scratch everything is a given, including miso and koji made in a dedicated fermentation space upstairs. Ingredients from local suppliers—lamb from Tamarack Farms, chocolate from Soul Chocolate, freshly milled flour from Brodflour—make regular appearances in the food.

Sweet potatoes cooked on a Binchotan charcoal grill for that smokey goodness only grilling can impart.

 

Tender, charcoal-roasted sweet potato is topped with delectable crisps made of its own skin. Creamy, savoury house-made miso peanut sauce is a lovely foil for the potatoes. $18.

 

Nasturtium flowers and sprigs of kinome destined for the Hawaiian Kampachi (yellowtail) Crudo. A kinome leaf is the technicolour dreamcoat of flavour: at first bite, it tastes vaguely minty, peppery and citrusy all at once before fading into an herbal heat.

 

Sustainable Hawaiian Kampachi is dry-aged for a week before it appears here, set in a pool of juice pressed from sea buckthorn berries and chiles. Acidic and slightly spicy, the juice works a bit like lemon or lime in a ceviche, lightly “cooking” the fish for a firmer texture (already most of the way there thanks to the aging process). Peppery kimone leaves, strips of daikon and sprightly nasturtium flowers finish the dish. $24.

 

The Tamarack Farms–sourced lamb shoulder getting a fiery braise in deeply flavourful coffee-kombucha jus.

 

Perfectly medium-rare lamb braised in coffee-kombucha jus is nestled among sunchokes and cabbage, dotted with black apple and sunchoke purées. Sweetness from the sunchokes and sous-vide braised cabbage highlights the meat. $45.

It’s not easy to incorporate chestnut flour into a pasta dough recipe and get the texture right, but Soriano has done it. The cappelletti is stuffed with more chestnut, celeriac, ricotta and lemon. It’s finished with beech mushrooms, shaved black truffles and a mushroom madeira butter sauce. $37.

 

Here we have a lamb pithivier, a take on a classic French meat pie stuffed with tender, ultra-savoury braised lamb and cabbage. It’s surrounded by lamb jus and served with a dollop of Celtic mustard—mustard amped up with anchovies, seaweed and cider vinegar. This dish also comes with an arugula salad (not pictured here). $34.

 

Earl grey chocolate ganache, sponge cake and lemon ice cream, topped with pretty chocolate leaves. Look at the shine on that creamy dollop of ganache. $17.

 

Underneath those green apple ribbons and flower petal garnishes, there’s a ball of savoury-sweet koji barley ice cream and a walnut financier. The dessert is finished with dots of black apple butter, made by aging apples in a temperature-controlled fashion similar to the process behind black garlic. It tastes like an apple that’s been severely wisened by an extended academic sabbatical. $15.

 

A fashionable feast

 

Chef Soriano.
The drinks

Beverages include fun, seasonal takes on classic cocktails, a tight selection of beers and an international wine list. Plus, there are a few perks only a place that deals in hotel-level volume can boast—Dom Perignon by the glass, anyone?

The Canadian Daisy is a blend of Lot 40 Rye, Aperitivo Nonino, Grand Marnier, angostura bitters and a hint of fresh lemon. All the foam on Park Hyatt’s cocktails is plant-based, but it’s not aquafaba—it’s B.C.-based Ms. Better’s Bitters Miracle Foam, a neutral and dense product with no distracting chickpea flavour. $17.

 

Here we have the Currant Cosmo (left, $16) and Shandy Moderne ($15). The former is a refreshingly tart take on a cosmo with a pronounced red currant flavour, thanks to a strong berry cordial. The latter, a playful cross between a negroni and a beer-based shandy—Peroni beer, Campari, and sweet vermouth with an orange slice.
The space

There’s a main dining area and a nearby section of lounge seating—each opulent and grand, but comfortable. Think soaring ceilings, warm colours, and high-impact art like a massive, stunning beadwork piece by Indigenous artist Nadia-Myre. Display cases lining the dining room will feature rotating collections thanks to a partnership with the Gardiner Museum—currently, they encase a fantastical 3D series called “Fable” by Nurielle Stern. The space is bookended by a cozy fireplace on one end and a dramatic, pitch black staircase on the other. Walk up to the second floor for a cool bird’s-eye view.