Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
I think this is going to be the shortest post I’ve ever written. The tarte au citron flavour at Bang Bang is basically like the best lemon meringue pie you’ve ever had, but as an ice cream.
Lemon meringue pie? Delicious. Bang Bang? Delicious. Cram those two things together? Yeah, it’s delicious. Of course it’s delicious. That’s just math.
The ice cream is creamy and pleasantly tart, with a great lemony flavour. It’s got silky meringue swirled in for some additional creaminess and to help cut the tartness of the ice cream. And then there are buttery, delicious chunks of pie crust.
It’s all just as good as you’d hope it would be.
Location: 120 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The lemon meringue croissant from Butter Baker is one of those things that I saw on Instagram and immediately had to eat. And yes, I know: this makes me part of the problem.
A very strong argument could be made that social media (Instagram in particular) is making our cuisine appreciably worse by incentivizing restaurants to serve visually innovative food in which the actual taste is an afterthought (e.g. Sweet Jesus).
And that’s absolutely the case here. I mean, look at that! It looks so impressive! But it gets less impressive once you start actually eating it.
For one thing, it’s almost impossible to eat without getting sticky meringue all over your face. But let’s set that complaint aside, because a lot of cupcakes are just as hard to eat without making a mess, and only a monster would argue that a cupcake isn’t great.
The two main issues here are that the croissant itself is merely okay, and the lemon curd filling is completely bland. The latter point is especially egregious; the whole appeal of a lemon meringue pie is the delightful way that the tartness of the lemon curd is offset by the sweetness of the meringue. But here, the curd is disappointingly anemic, with a limp sugariness and almost no sour bite. Because of this, the whole thing comes off as one-dimensionally sweet and boring.
I will, however, give Butter Baker props for the use of creamy Italian meringue over frothy, dull French meringue. This is correct; French meringue is for jerks.