Ahhh the muddled cocktail.
Muddled cocktails have made a huge resurgence in the past few years, possibly as a result of the 1920s reincarnating itself into hipster coolness, the re-release of the Great Gatsby, or maybe because they are just plain delicious. Whatever their reputation, they are awesome, and I want to drink them all the time.
So, for my 28th birthday, I felt that being the mature late 20s model of awesomeness I am, the usual Jagerbombs and Cosmos would not do. I wanted something more grownup, more delicious, but equally as potent! I had heard that Onyx had a new bartender and a new drink list at their recently opened location on Argyle Street, so on my birthday, us girls went to check it out!
The decor of the new Onyx is lovely: Hollywood glam-meets hipster-meets sexy cocktail lounge, the walls are dark blue, the tables are dark wood, and there is leather everywhere. The lounge side is cozy with huge tufted leather easy chairs and sleek couches. The lighting is dim and warm, and there are two booths near the back of the restaurant that sit at least six people, which is where we sat, and it was like being in our own little world.
The booth is big and cozy, with high plush banquettes and curtains to seal us off from the dining room if we felt so inclined. There is even a huge crystal chandelier to add a touch of elegance to our evening!
The cocktail list is huge and changes daily. Clearly a lot of effort was put into the creation of this menu and it is awesome: They have muddled drinks, shrub cocktails, mojitos, champagne cocktails, classic essentials, and new-age libations (hello molecular gastronomy), something for everyone’s taste. They also have a huge wine list with bubbles, ‘extroverted Whites’ (their term, not mine), and bold Italian reds, just to name a few.
The Cream Soda Float was one of my favourite drinks. Vodka based, super sweet, and topped with Vanilla foam, it was so good! I loved it, and it didn’t take me very long to finish that uber tall glass, but because of its sweetness, it is probably only possible to drink one.
The Cucumber Crush was a big hit with the whole table; the tall empty glasses of fresh mint and ice filled the table at one point. This mojito was super fresh, really springy, and overall awesome.
I love Champagne cocktails and they were flowing at Onyx for my birthday. I tried both the Illusive and the Spring Fling. The latter was my favourite, with its citrus notes, a splash of Moet, and a twirl of orange peel, it was fresh, sophisticated, and way too easy to drink!
There is a tasty looking small plates menu at Onyx. Ranging from smaller bites like Kobe Corn Dog ‘Pops’ ($9) to larger items like Jumbo Shrimp Saganaki ($12), there are lots of great dishes to share. The girls surprised me with an order of Korean BBQ’d Pork Belly Buns ($9) because they know how much I love pork belly! The buns were super juicy, just the right amount of sweet, and totally sharable (if you could bear to part with any of them).
They also have full size meal options, including Salmon Wellington ($28) and a Foie Gras Stuffed Angus Burger ($24) that is on my list for next time.
One of the last cocktails of the night was The Drew, a cocktail not actually on the menu, but created out of demand by a former colleague of mine from the Foggy Goggle. She had asked the bartender Drew (she named the drink after him to honour his clever mixology) to create something delicious, but not too sweet, and this was one of his most mouth-watering concoctions: Sweet but savoury, and a full ring of cucumber around the circumference of the glass, this was a freshly delicious way to end the evening.
Onyx’s new location is about 100 steps above its old space on Spring Garden Road. It’s current, classy and a great place for drinks, or a romantic meal. I had a great night with the girls, and it was the perfect way to start off my 28th year.
Cheers Onyx, your relocation and revamp are working for me!