Chef Patrick Kriss of Alo, Alo Bar, Salon Alo and Aloette, has thrown Toronto foodies a lifeline, during Covid-19, by establishing a covered patio at 485 Wellington Street West and calling it Alo Midsummer. Now you can enjoy a gastronomic experience while dining outdoors, under a beautiful canopied tent. They are offering a luxurious, and premium ten course blind tasting for 2-4 guests per well-spaced table. It just opened on Friday, July 24th and is open till the end of September.
It is located in the parking lot of a former Toyota dealership. Chef Kriss has created a temporary oasis, complete with wooden floors, ceiling fans, twinkle lights, leatherette banquets, tables with comfy streamlined chairs, white tablecloths, champagne and bar carts, beautiful glassware and dishes, pulled together by a cool pipped in music soundtrack. The servers’ uniform is navy Bermuda shorts with a white button-down shirt and a tucked in tie. How he came up with his concept and executed his vision so quickly is mind boggling. His servers were highly polished, and I was there on day two of the pop up. I felt totally safe and was impressed that everyone handling the cutlery wore white gloves. Silverware was changed for each of the ten courses.
The meal was outstanding, using the finest of ingredients. They also offered wine pairings, clever cocktails, or nonalcoholic beverages along with a champagne cart.
The price tag was a bit steep at $250 per person before beverages. But I don’t begrudge anything because of the quality of the ingredients, like sea urchin, foie gras, Japanese fish and rice, wagyu beef, black truffles or butter from Normandy. It was a rich indulgent meal to say the least. We had a range of globally inspired dishes, although many had a Japanese influence. Executive chef Nick Bentley, and his mentor, Patrick Kriss served items like Japanese Koshihkari rice that had a creamy texture, topped with chanterelles which was a personal favourite dish for me. To a large glistening scallop topped with a precious amount of caviar. As well as a generous portion of perfectly cooked wagyu with crispy morel mushrooms. Chef Kriss’s compositions are beautiful and his techniques are grounded in the best of French and Japanese traditions. He treats his products with respect and a flawless execution. (Although I would request a tad less salt on some dishes.) Our ten-course journey culminated in a series of light, sweet imaginative offerings by pastry chef Domenico Giammarella. We started with a palate cleansing lime and kaffir leaf treat, that was followed by an Ontario strawberry labneh and then a ruby chocolate ice cream sensation. Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without some delectable petit four. Yes, it was a lot to eat but we managed. I mean, it was difficult to turn down anything that was offered as everything was executed to near perfection. Why Michelin hasn’t come calling I’ll never know.
It was an inspirational dining experience and I have deep respect for chef Patrick Kris and his well-oiled crew for dreaming up this little slice of heaven. The table is yours for the evening, and the experience runs about 3 hours long. Go now while you can because it may only be open till the end of September. Book a reservation on the Tock app. Fine dining is alive and well during the era of Covid-19.
Highly recommend for treating yourself to a very serious and special dinner.