Riz En Folie Report
I tried it out today! They have 19 flavours on their menu though I don't think they had them all out. An interesting note: their website states that the flavours were created by chef Daren Bergeron, executive chef at DECCA 77.
The woman at the counter was very generous and wanted me to try everything before I chose. I sampled:
• sucre a la crème (subtle flavour, very sweet)
• coconut (their most popular, apparently. It was quite good, with little bits of coconut.)
• Exotica passion (passion fruit)
• spicy chocolate (A "chocolate chai" type flavour with cardamom - I didn't find it chocolaty enough)
• butter scotch (a little bitter)
All of them have a nice creamy texture. They offer a few different toppings (fruits, nuts, chocolate).
They have a mini format (about $2 and change), a medium size ($4) and a large ($6). I think they also have larger family-size formats. The containers are reusable and they will give you a $0.25 discount on your next purchase if you bring it back. I'm not sure if they use the same take-out containers for customers who eat in. I hope not, as it would be pretty wasteful to do so. The plastic has no stamp on it indicating whether it’s recyclable.
They also have a variety of espresso based drinks and some cold beverages too.
The décor is really cute – stark white walls and fixtures with pops of bright colour everywhere (reminds me a bit of Nocochi across the street).
They will deliver within the Concordia ghetto area, but add this caveat under that section of their webiste: "Please pay attention: Comfort creates laziness. Now and then, take a walk and come over to delight yourself." A bit strange.
http://www.rizenfolie.com/ (warning, plays annoying music)
A few friends and I had the chance to sample some of their puddings the other day. I liked the coconut a lot. It was ordered by my partner. It had a great flavor intensity without feeling overwhelming. For myself, I ordered the sucre a la creme, which I mistakenly assumed was condensed milk. It tasted like it though, warm and sweet. A friend had the passionfruit and since I am not a big fan of the fruit, I wasn't impressed much, but your mileage might vary. Lastly, another friend ordered rough and tough (funny name eh?). It was chocolate rice pudding with mini marshmallows and -I think- pecans. It was good, in that "I can't believe I am eating this junk" way. Yay, marshmallows!
We tried the mini sizes, and I think the portion was just right. I think if I had more, I would have gotten bored and gotten into a sugar coma for no reason (but I am not the greatest fan of this dessert). The textures are nice, the pudding is impossibly creamy with just a little bit of rice bits remaining in it. This is very different from homey rice puddings that keep the integrity of the rice.
I am not sure if I'd like to go back again yet. Rice pudding is such an odd thing to order outside, and I am thinking that I can use up my calorie allowance for something more decadent. However, I am worried that the place will not survive and then I will regret missing it in my life forever. I passed by a few times during the last week, and I see hardly any people inside. Such a pity, especially since the staff is really friendly. It is in a somewhat inconspicious location, with such an unusual product offering, but I hope the people will catch up.
I don't think it'll last. The decor is bright but almost clinical and the seats are uncomfortable; can't see people wanting to hang out there. And, as you mention, the "puddings" verge on bland and cloying. I also found their pourability odd (rice pudding you ladle?!) and the salty substrate to some of the flavours disconcerting. There's also the issue of the rice: al dente almost to the point of grainy and not really serving any role other than adding textural interest, kind of like the tapioca pearls in bubble tea. The coffee (Lavazza) is passable, though my allongé was the shortest ever. On the plus side, service was extremely friendly and sampling was encouraged. Not being a fan of rice pudding in the first place, I doubt I'll ever return, especially when Nocochi is just across the street.
I don't get why they put it there. It seems to me that somewhere on the Plateau or even in the Mile End or in the JTM general area would have made more sense. Maybe they should have taken a few lessons from Rice to Riches where the rice is definitely there although the dessert is still very sweet and cloying. But the stuff is really good.
I think they put it there because of the high student density.
I like the rice pudding at Riz en Folie, and would eat it again. I personally prefer a rice pudding with more distinct rice grain and texture, but I love the flavours you can choose (I am a glutton for choice). It makes for a nice change from ice cream, and it sits lighter in the stomach than a big pastry/cake/donut.
Re: business model, I think they would benefit from expanding their offerings from just rice pudding to ice cream and cookies. Just think it would draw more customers. Just my 2 cents. (Look at me! I think I am some kind of business person! So not the case!)
Can't wait to try it though it's just far enough so I don't have time to go on my lunch break. I went once again at Rice to Riches last weekend and it was lovely as usual. I'm very fond of the stuff, the creaminess, the velvety texture, the slightly al dente of the arborio rice. So far qay from the rice cake my mom used to make with Uncle Ben's rice that we actually called rice pouding and ate with maple syrup.