The new Parkroyal on Pickering is colossal. A foyer rises a few stories to a ceiling of wavy inverted terrace in cream, gray, slate and sepia, the upper side of which becomes a podium that elevates the hotel blocks with yet more slender pillars. Forest canopies and shrubbery overrun every possible corner of the facade and it could well fit the vision of a post-apocalyptic city fortress. If you take my word for it, by apocalypse, I actually meant global warming – the new Parkroyal Hotel along Pickering road is a BCA Green Mark Platinum Award recipient. And the hotel’s international buffet at Lime Restaurant seems to share its vibes.
Lime Restaurant, in looks, is not a foreign body like most hotel restaurants. The design focus is roughly the same, albeit reassembled: mirrors as walls, for light and heat scattering, in tetris-like Mondrian; fibreglass and teak counter tops; walls of blond wood strips in similarly terraced bands. Against the woven seats and the floor-to-ceiling glass exterior, the restaurant feels cavernous. Move to the bar and the mood feels slightly subterranean. If you prefer lounging, the sofas are right behind the buffet stretch. There are no partitions or delineation and the space does not feel disjointed in any way.
In fact, no one seems to stick out in any way, even the odd hotel guest who orders a la carte quietly in a corner. And strangers are equally game to share tables at the longer communal tables at the chacuterie table or the dessert table.
Most other times, a garden or greenhouse should be what you’re getting. Starters surround a portion of a rectangular counter top in the centre aisle. Split-headed spotlight stands line the table, punctuated by pots of terragon, basil and bell papers. This is where you will find a humble selection of bread (densely packed with carbs but not as much flavor) and cheese – the cheddar-friendly Comte, a delectable semi-soft Tomme de Savoie, and the Kikorangi, a slightly astringent blue cheese.
Seafood here comes racked on an ice rampart, piked with pieces of driftwood. The Canadian Oysters are small but as they say, rather sweet. Just be careful with the occasional bits of sand (karma might have to do with it). There are also Tiger Prawns, Clams, and Mussels, all fresh and good.
The mains are all about the meat. Lamb Shank has a deep nutty stew. The meat has parted ways with the bones, puzzingly, as they fall short of being off-the-bone tender. The Braised Chicken Chasseur was much more yielding in texture. The sauce, while not as rich, was reasonably complex with a demi-glace base that bubbles thickly with the heat from the induction plates.