taste Canoe — spring 2024

Savour a new season with Executive Chef Ron McKinlay’s latest celebration of fresh Canadian flavours


Posted by Canoe
on May 7, 2024

As nature awakens, so too does our appetite for fresh, local ingredients bursting with colour and taste. In our 54th-floor kitchen, braises are being swapped for quicker cooking methods, spotlighting lighter fare peppered with bursts of green. Our new seven-course tasting menu is designed to excite the palate as Canada’s harvest blossoms.

Coming out of the winter months, Executive Chef Ron McKinlay is eager to highlight what’s in season, celebrating classic spring ingredients like lamb and peas, as well as an abundance of vegetables and herbs. Teasing previous Canoe plates, dishes are refined for spring, transforming underutilized crops and cuts to deliver some of the most elegant and creative fare in the city. From the exceptional bounty of our friends at Country Boys Produce to Canadian-raised meat sourced from long-time partners, every element is carefully considered based on seasonality and freshness.

Often planning weeks or months in advance to source the best ingredients as they become available (asparagus and zucchini blossoms are soon to come), Chef Ron McKinlay shines a light on whole animal cookery and root-to-shoot cuisine one bite at a time.

Join us as we explore the latest Taste Canoe menu, breaking down each course to uncover the treasures that lie ahead.

crispy oyster + sea lettuce grissini

A signature Canoe kickoff, a double crunch duo offers an exquisite snack to start. Fried in squid ink and vodka batter until delicate and crispy, Chef McKinlay wraps each oyster in housemade duck prosciutto seasoned with a Canadian togarashi. Made by Chef Mike Sonier of Ethical Table Food Co., the specialty spice blend features seven sea vegetables: dulse, nori, sea lettuce, kombu, wakame, laminaria longicruris, and knotted wrack sourced from east and west coasts. The oyster sits on a bed of truffle custard with a vinaigrette of sea buckthorn and seaweed. Beside it, sea lettuce grissini — a style of crunchy breadstick — gets dipped in foie gras parfait and wrapped in pancetta. 


Once palates are primed, Chef McKinlay’s first course of roasted scallop tartare delivers a refreshing burst of brightness. He sears one side of the mollusk in foaming butter for added depth, then dices and seasons it with reserved roasting butter, imparting a delicious nutty flavour. The mixture is then seasoned with smoked mussel and an emulsion made from aonori, seaweed flakes that are earthier and more vibrant than nori. Sea buckthorn caramel brings a hit of sweet and sour, pickled apple adds acidity and sweetness, and hazelnuts offer texture to top it off. Chef McKinlay then adds a sauce made from vermouth, scallop skirts, and buttermilk split sauce with aonori oil. The result is a bold yet light dish that pops with vivid green.

pig’s trotter

Revisiting an underappreciated ingredient, pig’s trotter is modernized to deliver a technically driven and refined plate. Stuffed with sweetbreads and morels, guests are treated to a sumptuous slice complemented by crispy pig’s ear, crumb-coated and fried sweetbreads, and fresh ziti pasta bound together with a morel and Périgord truffle Béchamel. Earthy springtime flavours take centre stage with the addition of garlic purée and Madeira jus split with foie gras fat, as well as first-of-the-season nettle hachée that cuts through the richness of the dish.

cod + crab

Inspired by a dish seen on a previous Taste Canoe menu, Chef McKinlay stripped down the current version to lighten it up while keeping its flavour profile intact. On the bottom is a savoury porridge of Canadian grains, topped with a pickled vermouth gel for acidity. A mixture of Québec snow crab and poached Fogo Island cod tossed with brown butter is next, finished with puffed grains and wild rice from the Prairies, as well as foraged dill, chervil, tarragon, and marigold flowers. A deeply flavourful broth of lobster and crab shells is poured tableside, ensuring a big hit of shellfish in every spoonful.


Utilizing multiple different cuts, the fourth course infuses elegance into the classic springtime duo of lamb and peas. Building from the bottom up, a base of pea and lettuce purée is topped with roasted lamb loin and deep-fried haggis croquette, made from what Chef McKinlay calls “all the good bits”, also known as offal. Perched on top, a lamb toast adds height, drama, and more greenery. Consisting of charred baguette topped with a mild and creamy lamb liver parfait, whipped feta, and thinly sliced cured lamb loin, it is finished with crispy onion rings and local pea shoots from family-run vertical farm Goldfarm. Lastly, ricotta salata (fresh ricotta that is pressed, salted, dried, and aged) delivers delicate shards of white. To complete the dish, lamb jus and basil oil join the plate, bringing thoughtful lightness to a classically heavier meat course.


For a perfectly pleasing palette cleanser, Executive Pastry Chef Raffaele Stea presents an ode to Ontario forest rhubarb. Utilizing the fleeting spring vegetable in as many ways as possible, he delivers an array of textures, flavours, and temperatures with rhubarb compote, sorbet, and foam that are paired with white chocolate soil and ganache. Enhanced by nori, the dish erupts with tartness, sweetness, umami, and depth. Topped with a sugar-dusted sheet of rhubarb pulp, the plate is completed with a tableside pour of rhubarb verbena before diners are invited to — quite literally — crack in. 


For the final dessert course, Chef Stea delivers pure garden gastronomy with a trio of spring-forward ingredients: camelina oil, goat dairy, and marigold. Starting with a marigold parfait made from goat milk, he adds goat yoghurt mousse and marigold gel made with preserved lemons. Light and subtle with gentle hints of nuttiness, he uses Canadian camelina oil for a sponge cake, while aerated white chocolate adds crunch. Drizzled around the plate are goat yoghurt foam, green marigold oil made from the flower’s stems, and sunny orange petals courtesy of our friends at Goldfarm. Take a sniff to savour the springtime aromas and bask in the combination of fat, acid, and freshness.

petit fours

Three small bites are last to the table. Dipped in caramelized white chocolate with toasted oats, Chef Stea’s creamy frozen ganache Cognac cork features 70% Cacao Barry, molded by a real champagne cork. Also featured is a wild blueberry, lemon and sumac meringue tart, made using jam from last year’s harvest, and a light coffee caramel choux.

Now available with a side of the city’s best views, we invite you to indulge in the vibrant flavours of spring as we pay homage to Canada’s wonderfully diverse culinary landscape. Join us in our dining room or secure a spot at our chef’s rail for an intimate glimpse into the artistry behind each dish.

Reserve your table for Taste Canoe today, and embark on a culinary journey that celebrates what’s blossoming in our backyard.

Please note, ingredients are subject to change based on seasonal availability.
Reserve Now