The Distillery District in Toronto is known for its beautiful architecture, art galleries and food. Stirling Room (55 Mill Street, Building 36) recently celebrated its two year anniversary in the heart of the Distillery. At their 2-Year anniversary celebration, they introduced a new website and a new tapas style menu alongside newly minted Chef Lana Khan.
The party itself was filled with the whose who of Toronto's social elite who were treated to a red carpet filled with stilt walkers and circus performances on the inside bar.
I had a moment to speak with Chef Lana to ask her about the inspiration behind the new menu for Stirling Room, "I wanted to create a menu that was healthy yet diverse and inspired. Toronto has so many different cultures represented. I was able to create delicious, flavorful and unpretentious food that people could relate to." The result: a fun fusion menu served up to Distillery go'ers afterwork and on weekends.
Some of the dishes that stood out on the menu included the Rapini & Cheddar Turkey Sliders ($12.95), which Chef Lana told me was probably the most popular item on the menu to-date. Biting into the slider, the turkey meat retained all of its juicy qualities while a homemade grainy mustard and mayonnaise combination was lightly added to the whole-wheat bun.
Next up was the Vietnamese Shrimp Rice-Paper Wrappers ($8.95) which tasted as authentic as you could get — packing a lot of flavor into a small bite. My only complaint was that it was a bit heavy-handed in the mint department. But that's a personal preference.
We followed this up with an Antipasto Kabob drizzled in Herb Olive Oil ($8.95) which were simply to die for. The simple flavors of Prosciutto and Salami were layered in with Bocchini cheese. The light olive oil drizzle added an extra kick. Chef Lana said of recipes like this: "Simple foods that taste good reminded me of my family. My family would always cook a lot and keep everything simple and healthy, so I tried to adapt this to our menu."
Following that, we were given Baked Pita Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus ($6.95) and Italian Herbed Flat Bread with Tomato & Balsamic Jam ($11.95). I was personally more a fan of the pita chips; they provided an extra crisp factor. But I also found trying to scoop the tomato & balasmic jam with the herbed flat bread difficult at times. Beyond the eating capabilities, both the hummus and jam were excellent. Chef Lana shared that, "All ingredients for everything I've made in-house including the jam or hummus are always bought fresh and local from markets. We always try to make everything in-house if we can."
Finally, we ended off our meal with the Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Pops ($5.50) which Chef Lana disclosed was her favorite item to make. This is honestly an excellent dessert with the banana retaining itself (not getting too squishy) and feeling rotten in your mouth.
Overall, the new tapas menu is great but has lots of room for growth. As Chef Lana told me, she would love to infuse it with more of her cultural background (Portuguese and Guyanese). One of the biggest things she would love to add: a Chorizo Poutine. With these forward thinking ideas, the Stirling Room menu can only go up from here.
Photos by Yuli Scheidt
Amanda (Ama) Scriver is a foodie and music fiend. She is a food writer for Pink Mafia with her 'Eats' column and works as an event planner full-time. She enjoys random adventures that you can follow each and everyday through Twitter (@amapod) or follow through Instagram (username: amapod).