What’s on the menu at Holts Café, Holt Renfrew’s fancy new spot for brunch, afternoon tea and cocktails

What’s on the menu at Holts Café, Holt Renfrew’s fancy new spot for brunch, afternoon tea and cocktails

Name: Holts Cafe
Contact: 50 Bloor St. W., 416-355-2832, holtrenfrew.com, @holtscafebloorstreet
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Chefs: Benjamin Lillico (The Rich Uncle Tavern, Langdon Hall)
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Contemporary Canadian cuisine with some European influence. Guests can expect classic staples including Niçoise salad, steak frites and duck a l’orange, along with some plant-based options, like butternut squash risotto. Weekend brunch brings the usual suspects (a Benny, buttermilk pancakes) but also duck confit with roasted potatoes and a sunny-side-up duck egg.

The dinner-only labneh dip is topped with almond and sumac dukkah, pomegranate seeds, cold pressed canola and wildflower honey, and surrounded by vegetables. $21.


The organic carrot tart is a plant-based main that tops phyllo pastry with cashew crème, young sprouts, hemp and flax and apricot chutney. It’s finished with almond and sumac dukkah. $25.


The Salade Niçoise dresses slices of albacore tuna with marinated peppers, fingerling potatoes, green beans, tomato and butter lettuce tossed in sherry vinaigrette, then finishes it all with caper berries and dollops of egg yolk. $28.


Served with a choice of fries or salad, the truffle mushroom tartine is topped with chèvre, warm mushrooms, and finished with watercress and shaved truffle. $32.


Here it is again.


Roasted lamb loin comes with a sunchoke medley, potato, turnip and kale. It’s finished with a Madeira jus. $38.


For $65 per person, the three-tiered Afternoon Tea set is stacked with sandwiches, scones and sweets. It’s served with a choice of Sloane tea blends, but guests can pay a bit extra for prosecco ($13), Crémant de Bourgogne sparkling rose ($17), or Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial ($40).


The tea tray sandwiches could include heritage egg éclair with truffle and light spice, ricotta and pear on toast with fennel and orange, a rye finger sandwich filled with crab and shrimp salad seasoned with seaweed aïoli and dill, a buckwheat blini topped with smoked salmon, and a gruyère and black forest ham croissant with mustard.


It might also feature freshly baked sweet and savoury scones with preserves, Devonshire cream and maple butter.


The dessert tier may include ice wine jellies, a green tea and white chocolate parfait, a square of dark chocolate ganache with raspberry and hazelnut, a lemon and lavender tart and macarons.


Here’s a whole spread.


And this is chef Lillico.


The drinks

In addition to a list of international wines by the glass and bottle—including a sizeable champagne selection—there are signature cocktails, including some zero-proof ones.

The Renfrew is like a sophisticated boba cocktail made with sparkling rose, Cointreau, white cranberry juice, lime juice and rose “caviar,” then finished with a spritz of rose water. $18.


The Smoked Manhattan is made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Cocchi Storico vermouth, amarena syrup and a cherry. It’s presented under a cloche with cherrywood smoke. $19.


Here it is, sans cloche.


The space

Billing itself as a dining destination for fashion and food connoisseurs, the flagship location of Holts Café dominates the Bloor-facing side of the luxury retailer’s third floor. Alex Cochrane Architects created a space with a variety of areas, including a large dining room and bar flanked by a lounge, and a semi-private space. Natural light floods the space now, thanks to new 20-foot-high windows by Gensler of Toronto.

The entrance is just past the renovated women’s footwear department.


Here’s the main dining room.


And here’s the east dining room.


This is the lounge area.


And the bar.


This is the semi-private dining suite.


Here’s the lobby.