What’s on the menu at Roses Cocina, the new-wave Tex-Mex kitchen inside Hotel X

What’s on the menu at Roses Cocina, the new-wave Tex-Mex kitchen inside Hotel X

Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

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Name: Roses Cocina
Contact: 111 Princes’ Blvd., 2nd Floor, rosescocina.ca, @roses.cocina
Neighbourhood: Exhibition
Owners: Brandon Marek and Michael Kimel (Harlo Entertainment), and Adrian Niman
Chefs: Executive chef Adrian Niman (Rasa, Sara), chef de cuisine Sean Usher (The Gabardine, Food Dudes)
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

In 2020, the Toronto-based private equity firm Harlo Entertainment added Hotel X to their food and beverage portfolio—alongside spots like Mimi Chinese, Planta and Kasa Moto. Then Covid hit. Fast forward two-plus years and the first of three new hotel restaurants, Roses Cocina, is finally up and running, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two more spots are planned to open in the coming months.

Chef Adrian Niman

Roses Cocina is the group’s ode to Tex-Mex. “It’s refined North American, with an emphasis on Mexican flavours,” says Niman. Some dishes, like chicken wings in an agave barbecue sauce, are more American comfort food with a Mexican flavour flourish. Others, like a citrus-cured hamachi tostada are more by-the-book south-of-the-border plates. “Everything has a spin,” says Niman. “And everything is made in house, even the puff pastry and brioche.”

Here’s the aforementioned tostada. For it, tender hunks of yellowtail are served with tomatillo, cucumber, avocado, jalapeño, red onion and aji amarillo. $26.


The sausage rolls are Texas potluck by way of Tijuana. They’re made with chorizo and c with coriander mustard and tomatillo salsa. $17.


“Since Rasa, all my restaurants need to have a chopped salad with a crunchy element,” says Niman. This one gets its crunchiness from blue tortilla crumbles, its creaminess from avocado, chipotle ranch, cotija and jack cheeses, and its saladness from romaine, cabbage and halved cherry tomatoes. $18.


This blackened beet plate (served with poblano crema, Tajín, lime and pecans) was inspired by Niman’s trips to Tulum. They serve a similar dish at his favourite restaurant there, Hartwood. $13.


The tuna aguachile is neither traditional Mexican, nor is it American. It’s simply Niman’s very fancy take on the dish. Here, he’s made a tea from hibiscus flowers, soy and kombu, then blended that with chipotle to flavour the raw fish. A traditional aguachile, by comparison, would cure shrimp in lime, cilantro and onion. $22.
This fried chicken is unadulterated Southern American comfort on a plate. $30.


This beef rib gets slathered in a house-made adobo marinade (annatto paste, vinegar, chipotle paste) before it’s vacuum-sealed and left to cook sous-vide for 16 hours. It’s then finished with a glaze of the braising liquid, cocoa, coffee and molasses. Served with a sweet potato purée and fresh beets. $75.


“You can’t really elevate fajitas—they’re great! Flour tortillas, grilled meat, charred onions and peppers…what’s not to love? So, instead of reinventing fajitas we just improved the quality of the meat,” says Niman, who’s using Snake River wagyu picanha as the protein showstopper. $85.


Pastry Chef Jeroen Van Helvoirt uses yuzu rather than standard lemons for this meringue-topped pie. And that’s not the only switch-up—the crust’s made from pretzels. $13.


The cherry cheesecake comes topped with vanilla cream and served with a cherry-rose snow. $13.


The drinks

Beverage manager Ben Kingstone (Mother, Butcher Chef) has built a formidable cocktail program, including on-tap and barrel-aged cocktails, and a bunch of house-made infusions—think avocado-infused tequila and even truffled Hennessy VS). The infused liquors, though, aren’t for straight sipping—they’ve been made with particular cocktails in mind.

The Sayulita is one of the on-tap, force-carbonated cocktails. It’s a blend of lemongrass-infused Moneybag vodka, Tanqueray gin, cucumber-infused dry sake, salted coconut and rosewater cordial, mint and soda. $19.


Roses is also hoping to build up an enviable tequila collection featuring small producers you can’t get in the LCBO. They’ll be offering two kinds of tastings: a family tasting (three options from the same distillery) or a horizontal tasting (three reposados or añejos, for instance, from different distillers). A flight comes with a side of sangrita (fresh tomato juice), an orange segment, and some agave and cricket sugar. Various prices.


The space

The sun-drenched room boasts a postcard-worthy panorama of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. And when the patio opens, it will seat an additional 50 guests.

Niman (left) and co-owner Brandon Marek