The Cactus Club is a massive trendy new restaurant in Toronto offering a spectacular atmosphere, great service and acceptable food.
Three separate levels split up this 500-seat restaurant. Each floor is trendy and unique.
The first floor was a bar with tightly packed tables, the second floor offered booths and larger tables with a more homey atmosphere, and the top floor was a massive bar area with plenty of tables and a fully retractable roof.
We were seated on the second floor in a booth. Light jazz music set the mood and allowed conversation to be had without difficulty.
Service was very friendly and quick- a surprise given the sheer size of the restaurant. Our waitress never missed an opportunity to inquire about a refill or answer one of our questions about the menu.
The menu included an assortment of interesting appetizers, meats, salads and pastas. There was also a feature menu of the location’s unique signature dishes.
The tuna tataki appetizer ($15.50) was fantastic. Great portion size with 12 pieces to share between the three of us. While certainly odd to eat this Japanese dish without chopsticks, the semi-rich umami flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture easily made up for that.
The ceviche appetizer ($16), was the first on a long list of disappointments throughout the evening. Portion size was good, but that’s where the enjoyment stopped. The dish lacked flavour apart from its fishy taste.
The kale + grilled chicken salad ($16.50) was extremely tart (sadly not an exaggeration), making it inedible. We ended up sending it back and swapping it for another salad.
The quinoa salad ($14.50) had a splendour of different ingredients. This too came with several thin slices of chicken breast.
The first few bites were fascinating as your mouth explores the different ingredients and flavours offered by the dish.
However, it quickly became apparent that the dish both appeared and tasted as if someone had thrown leftovers from the fridge into a salad with the hope that it would work- it didn’t.
Both salads, while unenjoyable, had very large portions and could easily be split between two people.
The Duck Confit ($25), a signature dish, was more fulfilling. The single duck leg was cooked to perfection, topped with tons of greens. It was placed on a large bed of lentils soaked in an excess of vinegar, which made them far too tart.
I strongly recommend paying the additional $9 for another duck leg, otherwise the dish is insubstantial.
For dessert we had the key lime pie ($8.25). This and the tuna tataki made up the two saving graces of the meal.
It was very creamy and somewhat rich. It came served with a large dallop of cream on top which blended perfectly with each bite of the delicious pie.
It comes as no surprise that this restaurant is popular among Bay street bankers. The trendy, unique and vibrant space offers a multitude of dining experiences.
However, the average Torontonian looking for a nice quality meal will be disappointed if they expect anything more than trendiness and acceptable food from this multi-level establishment.
77 Adelaide St. W.