We haven’t visited Yorkdale for quite some time and recently there were notable changes to the mall. Restoration Hardware was high up on our list to check out. It is a store, first and foremost, but also an adorable cafe, which we could not pass on stopping by.
APPEARANCE & SWIRL
Courtyard Cafe was right in front, as we entered and stepped on the RH metal branding carved into the granite floor. Our focus was on food, so we’d thought of disregarding the rest of the store for the time being, but as we joined a 40-minute waiting list, we ended up wandering the hallways lined with very expensive fixtures.
But back to the food…, the restaurant was set in a tone-on-tone street with fake balconies of 3-floor buildings. We noticed the luxury crystal pendant chandeliers working hard on setting a grand mood with candlelights on the tables. The atmosphere would not have been complete without the sounds of a trickling water from the many small waterfalls and the light lounge jazz music in the background.
NOSE & PALATE
Our waitress Angelica was prompt with suggestions and we landed on an RH Burger, plus a Shaved Prime Rib French Dip. It did not take long (unfortunately…, we could have enjoyed the tranquil courtyard a bit more) for our plates to arrive on the table. Shaved Prime Rib was ordered medium-well and its thinness and quality were remarkable. There were no chewy parts there, which was an achievement - some light-melted cheese and a side of a much-needed pickled hot pepper completed the picture. A side of thin gravy broth for focaccia to soak up contributed well to the dish’s texture. A fairly generic side salad was not bad for balancing off this hearty dish.
The RH Burger was a must-to-try and their “most popular item by far”, - as our Angelica mentioned. It came with 2 patties and a side of seasoned tomato, topped with a lettuce leaf. We appreciated that it was not all just stuffed in there. The patties were lean and, combined with the mayo, cucumber, and diced-onion mix, created a bit of a Big-Mac taste. The yellow egg bun was also on a sweet side and failed to stand out. The side of garlic aioli was ready to help enjoy the crispy side of fries. We were surprised by the generous portions of the dishes and sides; it was quite a decent meal for the money, and one also gets to enjoy the gorgeous courtyard.
Mon Chéri had to try their basic coffee, as this was a cafe primarily after all. He took it in a cup to-go, as we went to explore the 4 floors of modern fixtures and furniture. The coffee was quite bitter with a nutty aftertaste, a worthwhile digestif.
There is a lot going for Courtyard Cafe. An intimate, yet street-like atmosphere can set up a very romantic mood, even at lunch. Great food with generous portions and outstanding balance makes us want to come back and try more dishes under the olive trees with gentle water sounds everywhere .
P.S.: The store itself is very much worth a visit as well. It spans over 4 floors and a rooftop area, filled with light. While the majority of items are out-of-reach for most clients, coming to a place like that could be an excellent catalyst for creativity. Walk the mirror-lined staircase all the way up and enjoy the professionally designed spaces, while thinking about one of the best experiences you had recently.