LIFESTYLE: Colette brings a Touch of France to the Thompson Hotel
“They exchanged looks full of mischievous security.” Colette, The Other One.
With high expectations, I headed over to Colette on a rainy afternoon for a preview of this new restaurant, bar, and bakery. Those expectations were blown out of the water – the tranquil water of the pond-like feature beside the gorgeous terrace, to be exact. I don’t often use superfluous, flowery descriptions like that, but Colette Grand Café definitely warrants it. It’s just so pretty. With 150 seats, Colette offers a variety of dining options. There’s the cute Parisian-esque bakery at the front, selling coffee, tea, delectable pastries and macarons, and reasonably priced baguettes and croissants ($2.50 each).
They even have homemade dog biscuits for your furry companions. “Coming in for a coffee is an emotional experience,” owner Steven Salm joked. “You have to deal with people without having had any coffee yet.” And so he wanted there to be lots of sunlight pouring into the room, especially on those depressingly cold winter mornings that we experienced this past winter.
The drink selection is only the best – coffee brewed in French presses, Sloane tea steeped in tea balls from Lloyd’s in London, and a selection of 5 juices made on the premises (those will be available starting this week).
There’s the covered patio for pastries in the morning, transitioning to dining seating for lunch and dinner. As you walk further into the restaurant, you enter the pristine bar area along with the living room and library space – a place of classic French designs, armchairs, and bookshelves.
Further in, the dining room seats 50 and has a more refined design. Beside it, there’s a pavilion-like area with large windows, planters, archways, and marble floors. Then there’s the large terrace just outside the entrance, emulating the South of France.
Decorated with florals and bright colours at the moment, the space will evolve with the seasons. It’s classic, elegant, and a friendly space. “I don’t ever want to hear the word uptight,” Salm says, in terms of the feel of the space. I doubt he will. Executive Chef Michael Steh has prepared impressive menus featuring foie gras, seafood, lamb, pastries, and of course – cheese. All the selections I tried were delectable – and the white wine, a blend from the south of Rhone, washed it all down beautifully.
Open now, Colette offers a bakery open daily from 7am-6pm, with the dining room open on 11.30am on weekdays and 11am on weekends for lunch and dinner. On the weekend after Labour Day, Colette will be introducing what’s sure to be a delicious brunch. Check it out!
Colette Grade Café
Ground floor of the Thompson Hotel
550 Wellington St W.
– Kaitlin Bardswich