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For those of you who have been following @settledownthisisaniceplace since their soft opening on July 14, you would know that this garden oasis is not the typical Toronto restaurant experience.
Octopus Garden has been functioning as an invite-only space, allowing them to perfect their dishes and cocktails. For those of you who have been lucky enough to visit, you would know that Octopus Garden is truly a unique experience from start to end. When you arrive at 1296 Queen Street West, you must curiously wander through a brick tunnel until you are met by red barrier ropes and a pink framed mirror (the perfect selfie photo op). As you turn to enter the space, you are welcomed into a bright and almost enchanting space full of lush vines and beautiful botanicals.
Their menu features everything from delectable charcuterie boards and lush salads to fresh oysters and lavish pastas. Don't forget to pair your meal with one of their signature cocktails or a glass of an international wine.
The operating partner, Cameron Wilson, said that like many others during lockdown, he wanted to be anywhere but Toronto. So as a result, Wilson, along with pals Harry Butterfield and Yossi Yallouz, transitioned from friends to business partners and within 60 days, they created a family-owned and operated business for like-minded people to enjoy.
"We wanted to create something different, a space that is new but yet comforting. In other words, somewhere you haven’t been but still feels familiar," says Wilson.
At the age of 21, Wilson flipped a coin on whether to start a career in fashion or hospitality. After landing on fashion, Wilson operated Untitled & Co. which explains his artistic visions and passion for design. He even purposely placed the pink mirror near the entrance in homage to the classic pink Untitled & Co. hoodie. However, Wilson has also been involved in the hospitality industry for 15 years and has worked with Toronto favourites like Vivoli, Cafe Nervosa and Gusto 501.
When designing Octopus Garden, Wilson created an escape from the city. With that being said, he was inspired by specific decorative elements from all around the world, such as the fountain from Place des Vosges in Paris, furniture from Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and the whimsical pops of colour and botanicals from Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Wondering what surprises you can expect from their grand opening? Not only will they be introducing an extended version of their soft opening menu and a more detailed wine list, they will also be starting their cocktail hour programming and immersive night experiences. According to Wilson, these after-hours affairs will go beyond the city's standard of bottle service in a more creative and theatrical way.
Stay tuned for Octopus Garden's additional gift shop element, where they plan to "bridge the gap between retail and hospitality spaces while also empowering POC artists."
Tables for their opening night on August 13 are booking up fast, but keep an eye out for the release of their OpenTable page so that you can visit Octopus Garden yourself as soon as possible.