Location: 324 Frederick Street, Kitchener
Though I was really hoping to try the kouign-amann at Ambrosia Corner Bakery, it turns out I visited on the wrong day — they’re only served from Thursday to Saturday. My disappointment was short-lived, however. As soon as I saw their Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns, I knew that I needed to put one in my belly ASAP.
Step aside, kouign-amann; that sticky bun has an urgent appointment with my face.
Yes. It’s as good as it looks. It’s sticky, sweet, and incredible. It looks like it might be too sweet, but it’s actually remarkably well balanced. The caramel on top has a very rich, deep flavour, and the buttery, amazing pastry is substantial enough to hold up to the generous amount of sauce. That’s not to mention the underlying cinnamon flavour, which is delightful.
But then do I even need to be writing this? You have eyeballs. Again: it’s as good as it looks.
Location: 3 Wellesley Street West, Toronto
The Chocolate Lava Croissant at 7 Baker is interesting? It’s quite tasty, but also… different.
It’s a high quality pastry, no doubt about it. The croissant is top-notch; it’s nice and buttery, with a good level of exterior crispiness and a tender texture. It’s not the best croissant I’ve ever had, but it’s clearly above average.
It’s filled with an intense, cocoa-packed chocolate pudding that’s creamy and tasty but also… not sweet. Not even a little bit.
It’s weird. It generally tastes good (though without a little sweetness to round things out, the bitterness of the cocoa is overly pronounced), but with the lack of sugar, I’m not sure what it is. It’s ostensibly a dessert, but… desserts are supposed to be sweet, aren’t they?
I certainly didn’t dislike eating it, but it’s flummoxing. I’m flummoxed by it.
Location: 35 Tank House Lane, Toronto
Cluny is a French bistro in the Distillery District that also has an attached bakery where they sell various pastries and sandwiches.
The bakery has the requisite sweets, of course, along with a handful of tasty looking sandwiches and savoury pastries (the quiche looked good, as did the tourtiere). I went with the ham and brie sandwich.
I got it toasted, though I think untoasted might be the better option. Toasting gets the bread a little too crunchified, and melts the fat in the ham, making the sandwich a drippy, greasy mess.
Even so, it’s a tasty sandwich. The bread, even in its over-crunched form, is top-notch, and the speck ham and brie work nicely together. It’s a simple sandwich, but if you’re dealing with high quality ingredients that compliment each other well, further ornamentation is unnecessary.
Location: 1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Bobbette and Belle is one of the best bakeries in the GTA. Maybe the best? It’s right up there, that’s for sure.
I tried the apple bread pudding on a recent visit, which they heat up and serve with a very tasty custard sauce. I mean, look at it. Do I even need to mention that it’s delicious? Of course it’s delicious.
It’s crispy on its exterior and creamy inside, with a great custardy flavour. The apples give it a nice zing, and the melty chocolate (yes, there’s melty chocolate in there, in case it didn’t already seem amazing enough) compliments it so well. My only real complaint is that the apples are a bit crisp. I know some people like their apples firm in pies and baked goods, but those people are wrong. Tender apples 4 eva.
Still, the whole thing is so tasty that it just barely matters.
On another visit (yeah, I’ve been there a bunch, so what, wanna fight about it?) I tried the coconut banana cream pie, which was even better.
I love both banana cream pies and coconut cream pies, so I have no idea why it never occurred to me that you could combine the two, but you can and it’s amazing. There’s also a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom of the pie, which gives the whole thing a rich, caramely flavour — and yet it’s not too sweet. It’s perfect.
The crust is great too — crispy but not overly crunchy, with a nice buttery flavour and a mild sweetness that works amazingly well with the rest of the pie. The whole thing is ridiculously good.
Location: 28 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Donut Monster is a really acclaimed doughnut joint from Hamilton that recently opened a location in Toronto’s Stackt Market. I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about their doughnuts for a while now — if they hadn’t opened an outpost in Toronto, taking a long drive to Hamilton might have been in order.
I’m so glad I didn’t drive all the way to Hamilton for this.
I tried the Cherry Cheesecake Bullseye, which features sour cherry pie filling, cream cheese icing, and a graham cracker crumble.
I know a lot of people are more concerned about a doughnut’s fillings/toppings than anything else, and on that level this was pretty decent — the balance between the tart cherries and the sweet frosting was actually quite good.
But the doughnut itself was seriously disappointing; it was dense and dry and boring. It was like Wonder Bread. There’s nothing to it. I’m pretty sure the prepacked doughnuts you can get at the supermarket aren’t much worse.
It certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but from a high-end doughnut place it’s a huge let-down.