Voya Restaurant & Lounge
By Contributing Writer: Joanna Lee
Voya Restaurant and Lounge (1177 Melville Street) opened in mid-October 2008 inside Canada’s first Loden Hotel. Voya, derived from “voyage”, is helmed by local chef Marc-Andre Choquette (ex-executive chef at Lumiere). The philosophy: that food can be a journey for the diner through taste, presentation and texture. Offering a modestly-priced and decadently-designed menu, Choquette’s culinary creations include small and larger plates of internationally-fused dishes. Dinner for two included appetizers – octopus carpaccio ($14) and tuna tartare ($16), cocktails, and dessert for $65. The tuna tartare was sophisticated in preparation and presentation – tartare cakes perfectly sandwiched between thinly sliced asian pear. The octopus carpaccio was pleasantly plated with thin carpaccio slices surrounding a mound of lentil salad and crispy noodle-shaped roots in the centre.
With subtle and discreet signage, Voya and the Loden Hotel is somewhat camouflaged and can be easily missed. While the restaurant is chic in a decorative and culinary sense, it is definitely not showy. It’s not a bad thing when it comes to hotel dining. Dinner was relaxing, intimate, “low-key”, and unpretentious – not common of hotel dining. Also impressive was the elegant and decorative dining room. Designed by San Francisco-based hospitality firm, Babey Moulton Jue & Booth, Voya is reminiscent of the 40’s Swing Era with its crystal chandeliers, chocolate-toned upholstery, oversized mirrors and shiny white tables.