Toronto has a new rooftop experience in the downtown core at 627 King Street West. Lavelle is located on the sixteenth floor of a new residential development. Created and run by Freed Developments and Trademark Inc – it’s housed in a large, 16,000 square foot space. The dining room and bar seat 250 people. Outside is being billed as one of North America’s longest rooftop pools. I am here to dispute that. There are actually two wading pools and one swimming pool, all narrow. Although large for Toronto, I can name six rooftop pools off the top of my head in Miami that are much larger. But I have to say the space is beautiful, with a cool, trendy vibe. In the warm months it is great to sit outside, take in the fabulous views of the city, look at all the beautiful bikini bodies and sip a cocktail. The inside space is also very aesthetically pleasing, with a relaxed elegance, and either looks out to the pool or the Toronto skyline. If you want to swim in the pool you have to spend $200 on a membership, which doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. The vibe reminds me a little of an episode of Sex and the City, but the crowd is a little more, “wannabe”. The indoor space features retractable glass walls and windows, but for some reason were not open when we were there. It could have been the winds that day, we saw some items blow into the pool.
They are open seven days a week and they serve lunch, brunch and dinner.
The restaurant menu is from the former executive chef of La Societe. Yikes, I never liked the food there. To be fare I haven’t gone for dinner yet, just brunch. The restaurant had only been open for a month when I went in September 2016 and was still experiencing growing pains. The staff is young and very attractive, but there were service issues. We sat for ten minutes with no napkins or cutlery when they brought our food. We had to wave someone down. They say the menu is French inspired, but I didn’t find this at brunch. There are the typical brunch items like waffles, pancakes, an egg section, a toast section and a few mains like steak and eggs and a burger. The food is presented nicely but it is just mediocre, with no dynamic flavours or ambitious dishes. Our toast dishes – one with avocado, Granny Smith, feta and a poached egg on thickly cut sourdough, and one with ricotta, hazelnut, wildflower honey – both came with cold eggs. My poached eggs were also overcooked and not runny. The tuna tartar, although a nice presentation was a measly portion at $22. It came dressed with soy, sesame cracker, daikon, pickled ginger and cilantro.
For desert we tried the s’mores, which was a thick and creamy chocolate ganache on a some lose graham crackers with some marshmallow ice cream. The taste was decent but the portion was tiny. They use large plates and the food gets lost on them.
If I were being completely honest, I would recommend coming here with friends. Order a few drinks, go for a swim if you are a member, but eat somewhere else. It is THE new party spot, a multifunctional urban oasis/playground for the young and the single. They are also planning a juice bar and an ice cream parlour. The views are wonderful and the music is chill – relax in a cabana or a day bed, and order bottle service. If you don’t travel or have a cottage, this is a nice little refuge from the maddening crowd, and it is right in the city.