Stratus

www.stratusrestaurant.com

There are not too many interesting breakfast spots right in downtown core so when trying to figure out where to take Ma Cherie for a quick surprise meal with a twist, the options were somewhat limited. Thankfully Stratus opens very early, located conveniently and offers a splendid view to help you get inspired for the day ahead.

APPEARANCE

When asked about a restaurant on top of TD Center Towers, most will instinctively recall Canoe. Stratus is a less known and less altituted (“only” 36th floor) cousin residing on TD South tower. A gym is also sharing the floor, occupying the north side and taking over the downtown view. Stratus is looking over the lake and the ever-evolving area around Union Station. It is not a very large restaurant, and we felt a bit intimidated walking in. There was an upscale, business-like vibe in the air highlighted by glamorous interior with shiny reflective glass and polished surfaces all around.

NOSE

There were actually almost no people at 7:30am on this bright Thursday morning. Mon Cheri recognized one of TD’s Senior Vice Presidents having a working breakfast by himself. We were put back at easy by our friendly waitress who promptly poured us some water and highlighted some menu options. The menu itself was a conservative and structured one-pager with a not-too-memorable wordmark adoring the top. The page was slid in an de-bossed leather cover. Our choices were also fairly conservative: Scottish Oatmeal and an Egg Benedict. Their Chicken Omelet was a temping option we considered, but after checking with the waitress that truffle oil is part of the dish, that pushed us away from that breakfast dish. We also asked for some tea, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

SWIRL

After ordering, we learned a bit more about Stratus from our waitress. The ownership of the gym sharing the floor is the same as this restaurant. We inquired about the design company behind their interior, and our hostess handed us the general manager's card. We were happy to learn that the owner was very involved in the design of the interior. The appeal was definitely there for the older folks with smooth jazz ambient pouring from the sound system, brown upholstery and a general feel of being in a high class place. Some elements of design were a bit dated, but it was all flowing together very well

PALATE

Their milk base oatmeal bowl was not too large but filled with goodies: walnuts, golden raisins, shredded coconut, dried cranberries and brown sugar. A very diverse mix of toppings, we thought. Waitress suggested to add mixed fresh berries, but we thought that $10 is a bit too much for that option. We did find the dish quite was filling, none-the-less. We asked our waitress for the coconut on the side as we were afraid of the artificial flavor coconut flakes sometimes have. This was not the case, the flavor had no perfume intensity to it - it was quite genuine and the shape of the shredded coconut was organic - dried long thin threads. A great addition to the dish, we thought.

As expected, the Eggs Benedict was decisively a less healthy dish, but still not too hard-hitting or heavy. The square plate that the benedict was served on had a sense of style, but was not too stable on the table in terms of its balance. The Benedict itself was not special, but rather typical and conservative, nothing exciting to mention. Their side of home potatoes was a comforting side, crusty and typical. Their home-made ketchup had a hint of anise, which we found intriguing and quite awakening to the palate.

FINISH

There was something appealing about eating breakfast above a waking up downtown with GO trains ferrying people in like veins bringing blood to kickstart Toronto’s heart. We should try to come here in the evening one day to oversee the same city getting ready to sleep.

On a less lyrical note, while Stratus is definitely pricier than your average breakfast spot, it has a classy appeal. We recommend coming here at least once to see for yourself!

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