What’s on the menu at Alder, Patrick Kriss’s new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant inside the Ace Hotel

What’s on the menu at Alder, Patrick Kriss’s new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant inside the Ace Hotel

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Name: Alder
Contact: 51 Camden St., acehotel.com, @aldertoronto
Neighbourhood: Fashion District
Owner: Ace Hotel
Chefs: Patrick Kriss (chef/consultant), Devin Murphy (executive chef of Ace Hotel Toronto), Matthew Betsch (Alo Food Group corporate chef)
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

From the dining room, you’ll see the open flames of a wood-fired grill carefully tended by the kitchen team. Fire is at the centre of this menu, but in a subtler way than you might expect. Roasted protein is a main attraction—like suckling pig with butter-enriched jus or a 20-ounce dry-aged striploin with roasted garlic—but this is light, Mediterranean-style fare accented by fire. Think charred-poblano aioli under a radish-topped bigeye tuna carpaccio or potato flatbread with briny strips of white anchovy cooked in the wood-fired oven.

As with any Kriss project, sourcing and seasonality reign supreme. The Santa Claus melon and cucumber salad, laced with paper-thin serrano ham, won’t be around in November—neither will the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes with burrata, basil and sourdough croutons. Guests can expect regular rotation and a focus on excellent ingredients, manipulated with care and thoughtfully enhanced with the blend of maple, oak and birch fuelling the hearth.

Lemon-and-olive-oil-marinated Santa Claus melon is layered with thinly shaved cucumber, slices of sweet Barese cucumber, shaved serrano ham, mint, and wisps of jalapeno and jingle bell pepper. Christmassy-sounding ingredients notwithstanding, this piquant, refreshing salad is as summery as it gets. $20
Beneath the red peppers—charred, peeled and lightly marinated in sherry vinegar—is an anchovy cream base boosted with confit garlic (guests can ask to omit the cream to make the dish vegan). Dehydrated black olives, garlic chips, fried parsley, and paprika oil complete the picture. $16
A mix of all-purpose and potato flours gives the base of this flatbread a pleasant chewy texture. It’s topped with San Marzano tomatoes and anchovies times two: olive oil and brown anchovy paste for an umami bass note and fresh, briny white anchovy for a zingy topper. It’s finished with Manchego cheese and thyme. $14
Thin slices of cured bigeye tuna crudo rest on a smoky charred poblano aioli. Red and breakfast radishes, along with pickled pearl onion, basil and fruity olive oil, round out the rosy array. $28
A deboned organic eight-ounce salmon steak is cooked in the wood-fired oven and served skin-on with confit shallot, dill and caper in a sauce of brown butter and lemon. $42
A half-grilled chicken is brined, rubbed in a mix of mustard, paprika and coriander, stuffed with an onion, roasted over the fire for a couple of hours, then brushed with harissa oil. The sauce mounts rendered drippings with brown butter and thyme; tear-shaped sweety drop peppers top it off, and house-made harissa is served on the side. $34
Here we have roasted suckling pig cut into hefty chunks and topped with crispy skin, thyme, chive and watercress. It’s served in a butter-enriched pork jus with charred chimichurri corn on the side. $32
If you like coconut, run, don’t walk—it’s laced through every element of this marvellous cream pie, from the rum-syrup-brushed macaroon cookie crust to the coconut milk pastry cream to the toasted coconut and shaved, caramelized white chocolate topping. $16
Discs of mille-feuille are shaped into the style of a thin, shatteringly crisp arlette cookie and rolled in cocoa powder and sugar. They sandwich layers of chocolate ganache and vanilla Chantilly and rests on a salted caramel base. Inside, there’s a surprise disc of frozen peanut butter and sour cream parfait. $16
Chef/consultant Patrick Kriss
The drinks

It’s a tight wine list, but there’s a little something for everybody with a mix of local and old-world bottles as well as established and up-and-coming producers. Cocktails reflect the Alo Food Group’s modus operandi—time-honoured classics with creative twists, like a layered Select Aperitivo–spiked take on a spicy margarita. Draft beer includes options from Toronto’s Muddy York and Eastbound Brewing Co.

The Be Like Water (shout-out to Bruce Lee) pairs Ketel One vodka with pink-peppercorn-and-verjus syrup, basil, and a mix of lime and lemon juices. “Pink peppercorn is the friendliest peppercorn,” says Alo Food Group operations director John Bunner. $18
The Iceberg Fiction (shout-out to Hemingway) is a thoughtful tipple that’s sort of like a spicy margarita but with layers you can taste on your way through the drink. The base is Select Aperitivo, topped with creamy orgeat, jalapeno-infused tequila, and lime and lemon juices. $18
Pagan Poetry (shout-out to Bjork—this is a highly referential cocktail card) pairs Del Maguey Vida mezcal with Guerra Blanca vermouth and the apple-y goodness of Boulard calvados, along with Cynar and a hint of maraschino liqueur. It’s a delicious transition to autumn. $18
The space

Even though the restaurant is on the ground level of Canada’s first Ace Hotel, oversized windows and super-high ceilings ensure it doesn’t want for air or sunlight. The room radiates warmth, from the fire in the back to the generous use of Douglas fir, brick and terra cotta. Cozy booths tucked into the structure lend a lived-in feel. A stockpile of logs for the wood-fired grill overlooks the dining room.