Cactus Club is a chain from out West that I saw during my recent visit to B.C.
They’ve recently opened a location here in Toronto in the financial district. Mr. Spoon and I decided to stop in for a leisurely, light Sunday lunch as we were walking past.
We immediately noticed as we walked up that they have a rooftop patio so we asked to be sat up there since it was a lovely August day with lots of sunshine and not too much humidity. Luckily I was wearing a nice dress so I didn’t feel too underdressed. The waitresses were walking around wearing very form-fitting matching dresses and all looked very put-together with heavy makeup and fully-done hair so I’m glad I didn’t stand out too much. Mr. Spoon mentioned he felt a little too casual rolling in with a T-shirt on but there were plenty of other people wearing very casual clothing for their Sunday brunches.
We decided to sample some cocktails, Mr. Spoon tried the “Summer Smash” which is gordon’s dry gin, cucumber, thai basil, ginger, lime and soda. Now I’m not a gin person, I thought this drink was pretty good but I wouldn’t be able to finish it. Mr. Spoon finished two. Nothing like a nice cool, refreshing drink with cucumbers and booze in it to sip while you’re relaxing in the sunshine and warm breeze, right?
I tried the Passion Fruit Bellini – smirnoff vodka, passion fruit and sparkling wine. Apparently these drinks are part of a promotion and are only available for their “98 Days of Summer” drinks menu.
It was really good, more of a thick slurpee consistency than what I was expecting. The flavour was great, a nice bold fruit flavour and I could barely taste any alcohol. It did give me a bit of a brain freeze, though, and I thought the presentation was beautiful but a bit impractical. (I may have accidentally knocked that short, poorly balanced straw out with my hand while talking. Twice.)
We wanted to split some munchies and keep it simple. The prices were pretty steep at this place as well (I was having sticker shock looking at the menu) so we wanted to just sample some stuff. There was a limited menu for Sunday lunch. Some stuff that could be made vegan but not really too many options. Nothing I’m not used to.
The edemame here was perfect, not a single bad one and a good sized portion. I think it could have used a touch more salt but that’s just me talking.
We also shared some truffle fries with truffle, herbs, grana padano, garlic aioli. Of course Mr. Spoon ate the ones with the cheese on top and I dug around for the naked ones underneath.
What can I say? A girl can’t resist a nice salty, crispy, truffle-y french fry. They were absolutely heavenly. Good enough that it made me wonder if maybe this place would be worth coming back to eventually.
However I did get a very strong whiff of pretentiousness from this place. Of course it’s a chain restaurant from the West coast situated in the heart of the financial district in downtown Toronto, so without a doubt they are catering to people with a LOT of money. And I think they are very successful at doing that. It seemed that a lot of the other guests were there to blow a huge stack on a boozy Sunday lunch in a private booth in a glamorous restaurant just to prove they could. I’m sure the rest of the (expensive) menu is very delicious, but I didn’t get that welcoming feeling that I was among other foodies enjoying food. I felt like a regular person surrounded by rich people who enjoyed spending money just to show that they could.
I suppose there need to be restaurants like Cactus Club Cafe in the world. I don’t have anything negative to say about my experience there, in fact I quite enjoyed everything about it, I just got the feeling that I did not belong in that world.
What do you think? Would you fit in at a place like this? What’s more important to you in a restaurant – atmosphere, food, drinks, service or something else? Leave a comment and let me know.