Tag Archives: Review

Colette Grand Café: Review

28 Aug

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My introduction to Colette happened in the casual bakery-cafe section of this new Thompson Hotel establishment. Though the restaurant serves a wonderful menu of modern French dishes, having first heard of Colette through an encounter with a delight sample of their double chocolate cookie, I was anticipating another exquisite experience of its French pastries and viennoiserie.

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Visiting Colette Grand Cafe is like suddenly finding yourself in Southern France—inspired by that idyllic region, the dining room also features hints of the countryside with a predominantly yellow, blue and white palette, reclaimed-wood furniture, and a large wooden bookcase in the middle that displays china dishes while also serving as a space partition.

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I enjoyed the fact that the property is loosely divided into a bakery-cafe, a lounge and a formal dining room. The transition between each functional space is seamless and mostly conveyed through the use of subtly shifting decor. While the library-style lounge features beautiful reclaimed-wood tables, inviting wingback armchairs, and kitschy knick-knacks, its formal dining room appears more polished, but also having the same natural wood and soft blue tones carried over.The bakery-cafe is airy, with plenty of seating, barrel vaulted ceilings, and hand-painted tiles. Customers are free to choose from an enticing array of pastries and confectionaries at the counter before choosing a comfy banquette to sink into.

The profiterole creation was a perfect combination of buttery, flaky, and creamy—the oddest balance of purity and decadence. I was impressed with the quality of ingredients used in the cookie sample I received before visiting Colette’s and that’s what primarily drew me to another visit. I was not disappointed with this particular choice and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a healthy sized dollop of mascarpone cream with his or her afternoon coffee. The chocolate stone, unfortunately, looked and sounded more impressive than it actually tasted. Filled with dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate whipped cream, cocoa nibs and flourless chocolate cake; I would say this one lacked the complexity and decadence of the profiterole—an unexpectedly one-note dessert that didn’t quite hit the mark for this chocolate-enthusiast. As for Colette’s coffee, I imagined that most bakery visitors would wish to accompany their sweet selections with a coffee or espresso. Which is why I was surprised and disappointed to be served a rather average cup of cappuccino and a rather disagreeable double espresso served without an espresso cup. Continuing the same theme of average, the classic butter croissant was also underwhelming.

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Overall, I liked my experience at Colette’s just enough to believe another visit may be worth while, especially for a full lunch or dinner next time. However, it seems as if it’s decor and atmosphere definitely stole the spotlight from the food.

550 Wellington St. W., 647-348-7000
colettetoronto.com
@colettetoronto
Owner: The Chase Hospitality Group
Chefs: Executive Chef Michael Steh, chef de cuisine Matthew Swift and executive pastry chef Leslie Steh

Baby It’s Cold Outside :: Spin Dessert (Kingston)

30 Jan

I’ve never been warm to the idea of dessert as an entire meal in of itself; yet when Spin Dessert opened their new Kingston location, I knew our meeting would be imminent. Already a veteran of the dessert-café game, Spin Dessert found a new home on 260 Princess St. for the same delicious fare and urban chic aesthetics of its original Toronto venue. A little different from its neighbors traditional design scheme, Spin’s most attractive feature is its open concept design. The first level is split up by demi-stairs into levels. The elevates section in the back is a smattering of Parisian café tables that is a nice alternative to the plushier, banquette seating arrangement at the very front of the store. Take another look and you’ll notice there’s an entire basement level that is visible from above through a transparent balcony. Exposed piping of course, is just icing on the cake to cap off this atmosphere of cozy sophistication.

We set our minds to attempting the biggest, baddest thing on the menu, thought our larger than life appetites could handle it. It also doesn’t hurt, certainly, that the workings of the bakery and espresso bar are on full exhibition and the selection of in-house cakes behind their shiny glass displays speak for themselves.  We ordered “Baby It’s Cold Outside” which is one of many tempting options amongst the January Red Velvet promotion. It’s a red velvet party of red velvet cake smothered in red velvet ice cream, white chocolate shavings and whipped cream. I was worried the cake would drown in the ruby sea of liquid velvet but it positively held its own—super moist and unbelievably rich cream cheese flavor.
Next up is the very interesting “On the Floor”; pistachio ice cream on waffles might be intimidating to some but it was something I swore I needed to try. Being a bit harder to find and unconventionally savory, I commend Spin Dessert for venturing outside of the box. Pistachio ice cream is great for having a salty bite that can pull ice cream’s sweetness in new and interesting directions, but unfortunately Spin Dessert’s rendition fell a little short and offered an ice cream that didn’t taste too different from your traditional, vanilla based ice cream, albeit a little nuttier—but definitely still incredibly creamy like all their ice creams and generous with chunks of real pistachio nuts. To wash it all down, I ordered a great chai latte but ended up clutching to my iced water for the most part to cope with so much ice cream.


Overall, there are mixed emotions about Spin Dessert; the ingredients are amazing so all the waffles, ice creams, crepes taste flawless, yet there’s something to be desired in terms of originality and diversity of flavors to keep me coming back.  I don’t mean different flavors of ice cream because Spin has got that covered, but outside of that flavor range, it would be more exciting to see less traditional desserts to match its modern aesthetic. Keep in mind that I am speaking purely from the dessert perspective since Spin does also offer a savory crepe selection and all day breakfast menu that is waiting for you to try. The portions also seem a bit excessive and I spotted quite a few people sharing an order between each other.  I recommend coming to Spin Dessert with lots of company, a big appetite, and a fair sweet tooth. For a moderate dessert lover like myself, it has been a great day for new experiences but will definitely be purging my system before my second visit.
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