TORONTO — Leña — Oliver & Bonacini’s latest venture — has opened at Toronto’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
The new restaurant, which focuses on bold flavours, instinctual cooking and bringing people together, spans three floors in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship Canadian store. The project was spearheaded by the company’s corporate executive chef Anthony Walsh and pays homage to his mother-in-law, Elena, from whom he has drawn a wealth of culinary inspiration.
At Leña, Walsh’s menu showcases the vibrant essence of South American cooking with unique Spanish and Italian influences, and encourages a convivial spirit at the table. The menu features items such as salt cod fritters with capers and dill crema ($11); smoked jamón croquetas with sherry aioli ($12); iced scallops served with apple and mostarda ($21); and Rabbit & Snail Rice, featuring green pepper tomato sauce, white wine and artichokes ($34).
“Leña represents the influence of the Latin table on me as a cook — from preparation, to service, through to my culinary DNA,” says Walsh. “We see the food identity at Leña as an expression of matriarchal ideals at the table — an ode to the excitement and love of that style of cooking that percolates in all of us cooks.”
The restaurant’s kitchen is helmed by executive chef Julie Marteleira, who has been a fixture within Oliver & Bonacini since 2010, guiding the culinary teams at Jump, Auberge du Pommier and Luma.
The large restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a buzzing all-day bar, a large dining room, a lower-level lounge and a variety of private dining spaces. Its interior — designed by Toronto-based DesignAgency — spotlights South American style while enhancing the existing heritage art deco qualities of the building.