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Ruelo - A new French Patisserie in Richmond Hill

Whilst picking up my take-out lunch from Richmond Court in Time Square today, I noticed a new pastry shop just opened up directly across from them. Went in and bought a few to try out. The result, surprisingly good!!! A real find!

I had the 'Ruelo' - Valrhona chocolate mousse, crispy praline, vanilla creme brulee, almond chocolate cake and the 'Macha Seasame Red Bean' - Green tea bavarois, sesame bavarois, red bean paste, sesame almond shortbread crust. Presentation was very nice, the crust and cake components were very aromatic and buttery. The chocolate very velvety.

Looking forward to trying out some of their sold-out items eg., 'Raspberry Lychee' - Raspberry bavarois, lychee jelly, chocolate cake and 'Green Apple Caramel' - Apple mousse, caramel bavarois, caramelized apple jelly, walnut dacquoise.

BTW, though Chinese, the pastry chef/owner was trained in Paris and has certificates and diplomas on the wall to proof it.

Now, I don't have to drive all the way down to Bayview, Mt Pleasant/ Eglington to get my French pastries!.

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  1. Tried the Green Apple Caramel last night -- quite good, though I don't think I would necessarily try it again as it didn't seem to harmonize quite well. The caramel bavarois bit however, was superb; I wouldn't mind a cake built mainly on that. Also, the presentation was lovely, but there was a little neon green bit with dot cut-outs around the lower half of the cake which looked great, but was nothing texturally or taste-wise and was more off-putting than anything.

    However, I'm definitely going to try all the other cakes as the execution and presentation was quite decent and it's a step-up from the usual cakes one gets in Richmond Hill.

    1. A second taste of Ruelo has changed my initially reluctant opinion of this shop. It really is quite good as Charles endorsed.

      I picked up individual portions of the Ruelo and the Apricot Crème Brûlée Tart , which were both smashing. Nice contrast of textures and rich flavours along with simple and elegant presentation. The tart paired a nutty and buttery almond shortcrust shell with almond cream and apricot morsels, topping it with rich crème brûlée -- delicious.

      I also like that they're served in little plastic gold plates with fluted rims so if the cakes go sliding around in the box (this always happens to me), they won't as readily smash into the wall or other things in the box.

      They do seem a bit pricey ($3.95 each) considering their more diminutive size in comparison with other shops in Richmond Hill/Markham, but you are saved the drive to midtown or downtown. Then again, I quite like their smaller sizes -- rather like the pastries found in the patisseries in Japan.

      They also had madelines and small lemon pound cakes ($4 each) for sale and coffee and other espresso-based drinks available, so you can eat there as well. I picked up a menu card and here's a few of the other flavours -- Chocolate Earl Grey Tea (milk chocolate mousse, Earl Grey tea bavarois, ginger sponge cake), Mango Almond (mango mousse, chopped mango pieces, almond bavarois, almond dacquoise), White Chocolate Exotique (white chocolate mousse, exotic fruit jelly, flourless chocolate cake), and Banana Chocolate Tart (chocolate shortcrust, carmelized banana, milk chocolate mousse).

      1. I am curious to try this bakery since there are no (as far as I have found) any bakeries offering real French pastries in Richmond Hill. Charles, I know that you said that the pastry chef is Chinese but trained in Paris, but are the desserts geared to Chinese tastes? I am Chinese myself, and I know most Chinese people don't like very sweet desserts. I tried a bakery on Yonge a couple of years ago which claimed to offer French cakes and pastries and the cake that I ordered was definitely not French. It was run by a Chinese lady and I suspect it was meant to offer, shall we say, 'Chinese-style French pastries'! I like sweet, rich and decadent!!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chocolatemama

          FYI, I have SWEET tooth and have lived and worked in Paris for 2 years! During that period I've eaten pastries from Laduree, Millet, Pierre Herme,Stohrer and Lenotre.....etc. Based on that I can vouch that the products from Ruelo are indeed based on authentic French technique. However, the creative use of some ingredients like lychees and green tea do render some of the cakes 'pseudo-fusion'. No matter what, if a patisserie takes the time to use real Kirsch creme and Port soaked cherries in their Black Forest, it must tell you something about the pastry chef and her products! If you like 'sweet. rich and decadent' then you must try their 'Ruelo'! Enjoy and do report back!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            I'll stop by this weekend and give it a try. Given that they are using "authentic French technique," how do they compare to Parisian patisseries (I'm assuming they aren't at the same level as Ladurée, Pierre Hermé, et al.)?

            1. re: tjr

              Actually the chocolate dome 'Ruelo' reminds me of a similar cake I had at Dallayou, Paris. Obviously the Parisian version is better. But, for Richmond Hill to have such a decent Patisserie, I am more than satisfied for now!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                We dropped in and picked up a green apple caramel, a Ruelo, the matcha red bean and some madeleines. The cakes/tarts were quite good, fairly decadent though not overly so (a good, French decadence, not a heavy, overly sweet, American decadence), and well-made (the technique, as Charles mentioned, is definitely there). The matcha red bean was very good, and reminds me a lot of wafuu-French sweets in Japan.

                The only miss was the madeleines, which were far too dry.

            2. re: Charles Yu

              OOOOHHH! I am so excited to hear your comments! I will definitely go and give it a try! Thanks, Charles!

          2. Pay Ruelo another visit this lunch time.

            Bought 3 more cakes to try out. This time selected two traditional - Fruit tart and Blueberry cheesecake and one 'creative' - Apricot creme brulee tart.

            lsk's description of the apricot creme brulee tart was spot-on! The ultra-buttery shortbread crust was so aromatic and yummy as with the rest of the cake! Unfortunately, the other two was a bit of a dissappointment! The presentation and taste were both kind of 'rough on the edge'! The cheesecake a tad too 'salty' and the fruit tart's shell a bit too crumpy and dry with not enough custard or fruit to offset it'. Futhermore, for a $1 more, the 'Rahier' fruit tart counterpart is much better value with a more refined and gorgeous presentation, much bigger size and lots more fruit. An overhaul is definitely warranted for the latter to make them more appealing and attract repeat customers!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Charles Yu

              So excited to read about this! Yay for more food coming to Richmond Hill! Now...will the man make us macarons a la Pierre Herme? I will pay the shop a visit and see if he knows how to make them!

              1. re: Sandybandy

                Hello Sandybandy,
                'Macarons a la Pierre Herme'!! - Now thats wishful thinking for Richmond Hill!!
                Next, we'll be wishing for ' Tarte fin aux truffe a la Joel Robuchon', Ha!
                BTW, Ruelo's owner/pastry chef is a she!!

            2. I went to Ruelo this afternoon and picked up the Ruelo, the Green Apple Caramel and the Apricot Creme Brulee Tart. My husband and I thought they were all delicious. The Green Apple Caramel was so FRESH tasting...I don't think I've ever tasted such a fresh apple flavour in any dessert before! The other 2 were amazing! My favourite was the Ruelo, just because I love chocolate, but my husband favoured the brulee tart.

              I thought the prices were reasonable for the quality that you get, but as someone else had already pointed out, they are a little small. I personally would prefer to pay $1 more for a slightly larger portion.

              I went there at around 3:30 pm and there wasn't much of a selection. They only had the 3 types I purchased, the blueberry cheesecake and another petit fours-type thing there. It would have been nice to have a larger selection, but I guess it was late in the day.

              I will definitely be going back again! We need to spread the word on this place to make sure it remains open. I thank you Charles for introducing me to this place but my waistline hates you for it!!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chocolatemama

                You are most welcome!
                BTW, I'm more concern about my cholesterol level than my waistline! Ha!

              2. Went back today to Ruelo -- picked up the Macha Sesame Red Bean. Not my favourite, but I know some people who'd quite enjoy it.

                Also, I picked up some madeleines -- a small bag of 15 or so petite madeleines for $4. A little on the dry side, so a cup of tea was necessary, and not as tender as I'd like them to be, but acceptable nonetheless. They're scented with orange zest instead of the usual lemon and you can see the flecks of vanilla bean in it.

                Learned that they're open from 12PM - 9PM, so if you have dinner at or around Times Square, there's probably still time to have some dessert after.

                I think the selection is rather limited since they're new -- I went at 4 PM and they had only four varieties -- the Macha Seasame Red Bean, the Ruelo, the Green Apple Caramel, and the Apricot Crème Brûlée Tart. I think I might just call ahead on the day that I do go to check what kinds they'll have and if I can reserve any.

                1. Sorrry but it's not new.

                  She's had a shop for years called Le Papillon located at that Chinese plaza on Leslie just north of 16th Avenue and recently closed down that shop, moved to Time Square, and renamed it to Ruelo. She took a pastry course/program in France but did not work nor apprenticed there.

                  I am advised that she is very passionate about baking and so any success and publicity she gets is well deserved. Her cakes are definitely better than all other Chinese bakery in Toronto.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: syoung

                    Sorry ! The one moved from Leslie / N. 16th Ave to Times Square is called "LOUIS XIV". Ruelo is a brand new French patisserie!! I went there few time, tried Ruelo, blueberry cheese, Green apple Caramel, Raspberry lychee, Macha sesame red bean, mango almond, they are all very rich in flavor and decent looking....Double thumbs up!! I don't know about the world, but it is definitely the best in town!!

                    1. re: syoung

                      I think maic is right! Ruelo and Le Papillon have no connection. Ruelo's owner and pastry chef are much younger couple. .

                      1. re: syoung

                        The pastry chef from Ruelo is a very young Chinese lady who has completed Le Corden Bleu patisserie program in Ottawa. One well-known wedding cake chef once told me that the Le Papillon chef has actually more of an Australian style than French style!

                        I actually didn't know Le Papillon was closed down and moved to LOUIS XIV. I walked past by on Saturday evening after having my Ruelo cake and the matcha red bean mousse mini sample. Didn't want to eat too much desserts before dinner. :) BTW, I liked the Ruelo cake, but not so much with the macha mousse sample ~ it was quite bland, and the pastry bottom was a bit soggy/soft. The chocolate mousse, on the other hand, was quite smooth and not too sweet.

                      2. Thanks for the tip, this is quite the find. I just finally got around to going and tried the Macha/Red bean, Ruelo, Mango Almond, Raspberry Lychee, and Tiramisu. Not only were they delicious, but all together they were quite a sight to behold.
                        I'd of loved to get more but the richness has defeated me.
                        I noticed they also do high tea at lunch time, has anybody tried it?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: graydyn

                          I too was going to wait for Charles' review before I plunked down my $10 for the afternoon tea. Great cakelettes. The afternoon tea includes mini finger sandwiches (smoked salmon, cucumber, etc.), scones and tarts. The space itself was a bit 'un-tea' friendly, so I was not so inclined to return for the tea. I was also a bit disappointed to hear that she does not bake the bread for the sandwiches, but I guess I am expecting too much!

                          Thanks for the great tip, Charles Yu.

                        2. Hi Charles,

                          Do they offer any dessert cakes/cakelets made with chestnut (paste/mousse)?
                          I'm a fan of La Bambouche's Mont Blanc- chestnut cream, negrita rum, and dacquoise chocolate), but am not keen on making the trek over there.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: sugarcube

                            I didn't try it, but I did see a chestnut cakelet when I was there yesterday. It looked like a bit of cake with some kind of chestnut mousse piped on top.

                            1. re: sugarcube

                              You can call ahead to see what's available and reserve it, that's what I usually do. She added new items to the regular selection and chestnut was available yesterday.


                              1. re: shir

                                Thanks graydyn for the info.
                                Shir, thanks, that's a good idea, I'll do that before I drive over.


                                1. re: sugarcube

                                  Here's a copy of their menu, sugarcube. Hope it helps. I know that she cycles her cakes each day (ie does not make all of them each day), so do call ahead. I did not know that she would change her cake selection so soon, but I guess the others would know better.


                              2. re: sugarcube

                                I received a special order chestnut tart that was based on the Mont Blanc, so if you'd like a real Mont Blanc, you might want to call them and arrange it. Here's a picture of the Mont Blanc tart: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64353772....

                                1. re: lsk

                                  Thanks Isk, it looks and probably tasted amazing!

                                  1. re: lsk

                                    Looks great, lsk. Can anyone order this? Does she have small versions as well? I do feel like a chestnut cake right about now...

                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                      Yes, anyone can order it. I was just there yesterday, picking up the Chocolate Earl Grey Tea (had to order this in advance because she doesn't have this in her regular "cycle" of cakes), and there was another special-ordered chestnut tart in the case.

                                      I'm not certain if she'll do a small individual portions, you might want to call them and see, BokChoi.

                                2. Thanks for the tip Charles Yu. I have been back twice since your post. The first time I was quite impressed with the Ruelo, the Macha, and the Raspberry-Lychee cakelettes. They had strong flavours and the textures were nicely balanced. It was nice to know that she uses only natural and fresh fruits to achieve colours and tastes in her cakes. It wasn't 'blow your mind' great or anything, but it was a tasty cake. I had a positive opinion of her cakes tho my dining companions were more impressed than I. They were raving about it.

                                  Raspberry: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
                                  Ruelo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
                                  Ruelo inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                  The second visit to try the mango cake left me quite disappointed unfortunately. The cake (what minimal amount was present at the bottom of my cake) was very dry in texture. The mango gelee was nice, but nothing standout. There was a significant amount of Crème bavaroise in it as well. I would liken her version of this creme to the traditional fruit & creme toppings often seen on Chinese cakes and tarts - and I am not a fan of this. Too much resemblance to whipped cream IMO. And there was no dacquoise layer that was of any significance to offset this creamy/fluffy texture. I may head back to try the other flavours, but I would recommend against the mango cake. My dining companions were really disappointed as well.

                                  Mango: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                  I would say it is "Good", but I feel that it falls short of its potential. I really had high hopes for an Asian-ingredient influenced French patisserie. Great concept. I would not make the drive out there again for a cake, but if I were in the immediate area and felt like a cake, I might stop in. I think I'll go once more to solidify my opinion.

                                  Thanks for the find Charles Yu. It's good to know there is a good cake shop so closeby and near some of my usual destinations.

                                  1. First time bad experience with Ruelo Patisserie as follows:

                                    the cashier/server service was very poor on April 13, 2009 afternoon. She had very bad attitude and unpleasant maner and unprofessional customer service when my friend & I asked her about the $9.99 High Tea menu. Btw, we didn't order the High Tea menu because those items are unappeaIing. It was so disappointed!!!

                                    I hope cashier/server is not the owner otherwise customers would walk away from this shop.

                                    $2.25 to $2.50 a piece of macaron at Ruelo is too pricey in comparing Pusateri's macaron is only $1.50/pc at Yorkville.

                                    This shop is quite small and the interior design doesn't fit the English High Tea style.

                                    Actually, there are so many delicious desserts at Soho Metropolitan Hotel's Sense Cafe, Pusateri's at Yorkville and Dufflet at Queen St West or Yonge/Eglinton and Holt's Cafe.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: urbantoronto

                                      Just fyi, I think Macarons go for about $2 - $2.50 on average. The larger ones at La Bamboche are $2.50 (smaller $1.50, but they're tiny).

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/547557 for the master Macaron discussion.

                                      But tea is cramped in there. Though cheap, if you're looking for the High Tea experience, you'll have to head downtown to one of the hotels or Moroco Chocolat to get it done right, I'd think. I hear Windsor Arms is really lovely.

                                      http://www.foodpr0n.com/ - food. is. love.

                                    2. Hi all,

                                      I have to disagree with most of you. I had a terrible experience at Ruelo with their poor service and not so tasty cakes. I don't believe they use fresh ingredients, and if they do, I don't think the cakes are freshly made.

                                      I just sent an email to them to make them aware of the reputation they are creating for themselves if it continues:

                                      Hi Ruelo,

                                      I am writing to express my entire family’s extreme disappointment in our experience with your bakery. I had called in to order a small cake for my sister’s birthday and expressed that we needed the cake for Saturday April 25th at 2pm. I was assured by the lady on the phone that it will be ready anytime on Saturday, so I can come by anytime. I also requested that the cake have some writing on it: “Happy Birthday Sabrina”. We also had a special order cake as we wanted the cake flavours to be changed, which was a $5 cost for a 5” cake. Pretty unreasonable considering the cost of the materials, but we didn’t mind since it was for my sister’s birthday. I was also practically being rushed off the phone, but I just assumed that the bakery was very busy and brushed it off.

                                      When I hung up with you, I was confident we would at least receive the very simple cake order on time, despite the lack of customer service…. That is, not until my Mom called and said that the cake was NOT ready at 2pm and she was told to come back later. Two hours later, my Mom finally had cake in hand. Only to find that the writing on it was VERY wrong: “Elaine Sabrina Happy Birthday” (See attached photo). “Elaine” is MY name, and should never have ended up on the cake!!!! All my Mom got was a shrug. No apologies… This is extremely poor customer service. On top of that, we would have expected that the order be perfect, especially since cakes is your sole business.

                                      We were further disappointed when we actually tasted your cake. The $5 change we made was NOT worth it, never mind the exorbitant cost of a tiny 5” round cake. We all firmly believe that the $27 we spent on the cake would have been better used somewhere else. The chocolate almond cake base was dry and coarse, which is not at all what we were expecting. In fact, we almost choked on it because it was so dry. The cake itself actually tasted stale, and was definitely not freshly made.

                                      As a customer, I would have to consider this order a complete failure from end to end. I am never going to recommend your bakery to any of my family or friends. You clearly do not hold customer service and the delivery of quality products very highly in your bakery.

                                      I sincerely hope that you take this complaint into consideration and possibly improve your service and product quality for future customers.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: souffle23

                                        Hahaha, that's almost a cake worthy of the cake wrecks site.

                                      2. I'm sorry to hear about the bad experience at Ruelo. I love their chestnut macarons and their scones when I'm around the area and need something to eat. I understand the cashier's attitude would be perceived as rude, because I felt the same way when I first visited. But after a couple of visits I realize she is just a little blunt but not on purpose, in fact she is quite nice from our few chats. I would go there if I really crave for cakes and macarons, but if you really want a full afternoon tea experience then certainly this $9.99 tea cannot beat a $30 Windsor Arms tea.

                                        1. My friend and I went in to take a peek today, looked like a really nice store. We were too full from Northern Dumpling Kitchen to try any. :(

                                          For the record though, she went to the Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, not Paris. It says so on the certificate, plus my friend w/ me also went to Ottawa's LCB and recognized many of the cake shapes from his program.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: aser

                                            Ruelo is really bad.. bad service, bad cakes all served in a good looking shop.

                                            Tried them twice, and was dissapointed each time. We now go a few doors down to the Louis XIV store which serves better quality delicous cakes.

                                            1. re: stephentoronto

                                              Boy! What opposing reviews!

                                              The only pastry I've tasted that was good is Petite Thuet lately.

                                              1162 Yonge Street Toronto, ON M4W 2L9 - (416) 924-2777 near summerhill subway across the big LCBO.

                                              I had the mille feuille, it was $5 for the piece...but it was to die for. I've had french Pastry in paris (only memories of french pastries..... booohooo...hoooo....)...and this compares. But I haven't been back to petite thuet, since 2 weekends ago I tried to drive there and there was a freakn marathon on yonge street! wahhhh... never made it there...drive drive drive..cudn't get across! ughhhh!

                                              But my referral to petite thuet saids everything is to die for!

                                              1. re: Chocaholic

                                                Might not be "opposing", more like "time buffets all enterprises, some fight back, some do not" reviews.

                                                Never been there so I can't tell, but it wouldn't be the first GTA place that started off strong and then spiralled down in quality/service.

                                              2. re: stephentoronto

                                                Hi Stephentoronto,

                                                You really think Louis XIV's cakes were delicious? I bought cheesecake like 1/2 a month ago n' it tasted awful. On top of the cheesecake there were some kinda powder substance on top which i don't even kno what it is. The base of the cheesecake was really hard which I can't even cut open. Ever since that experience i've never went back again. I was wondering which cakes did you try that were so delicious?

                                                1. re: CakeLover1225

                                                  Agree with you! Louis XIV cakes are borderline mediocre to bad!