Awesome NEW "MICRO-BAKERY" in Cabbagetown: Cafe Olya !
Amazing. Really. Olya hand-bakes everything and you can watch her most of the day working on her marble slab behind the counter. Modest frontage. with a small dark sign at 540 Parliament below Wellesley, across from and just south of the Exxon.
Blueberry-ricotta, chocolate hazelnut, apple custard scones. Airy gougeres. Perfect croissants. A variety of seasonal fruits incorporated into small batches of uncompromising treats made with pricey ingredients. No corner-cutting. Every day a different selection, which peaks between 10:00 and 11:00 am. At least two choices at opening times.
Her partner Mike is pulling the coffees and manning the register.
I can't lie: at $ 2,00 per item, it is very FAIRLY priced, but by no means cheap. Still, I used to pick up mass-produced sweets at Starbucks. No comparison. But, if you are buying two dozen for the office, you probably want to go for donuts at TIm's.
This is truly artisanal baking for the cognoscenti.
How do their goods compare with Daniel et Daniel just down the road? Is the coffee better than Jet Fuel? Do they bake anything as mundane as bread? I see nothing on their website indicating so.
If I want inexpensive in the area, I go to Absolute Bakery which must be pretty much across the street from this place. FourBucks and Tim's prices can't compare and the stuff is made fresh daily all day long.
I'm hoping that Olya can be the great croissant place that Cabbagetown needs - D&D and Absolute's croissants are nothing to write home about.
If this is anything like Patisserie 27 near Jane and Annette I'll be very happy (I'm certainly not a croissant expert and haven't tried all of the various places that are often mentioned when discussing great croissants in Toronto, but to my mind Patisserie 27 is as close to the perfect croissant as I've tried in Toronto).
I'll try to stop by tomorrow morning and see. Fingers crossed.
I went this morning at maybe 11:30 am; we bought four croissants, five pain au chocolats, and a plum tart (my wife was going to a brunch party afterwards). These were all the items they had for sale at the time.
Everything was delicious (not as flaky as the croissants from Patisserie 27, perhaps, but still great and much better than the alternatives in the area), but I actually felt sort of bad since we basically cleaned them out of their pastry supply (we bought all the pain au chocolats, and left them with two croissants). I assume they baked more later, but based on my experience it seems that they really don't keep much of a supply on hand at any given time (although I may have caught them just before they were planning on baking more). Good and bad, I suppose; you're guaranteed fresh pastries, but if someone came in after we did they would probably have been peeved at the lack of selection.
For a shop that makes such tasty pastries, hopefully they become popular enough that they can have a larger supply on hand at any given time. I'll definitely be back.
$2 actually does sound cheap these days for a good scone or croissant. Hopefully they can survive until fall when I'm back in the area on a regular basis.
I think they opened in December, 2012. So perhaps they are "newish" but I checked that there have been no Chow-posts on them, so new to this forum at least!
Her scones are in a different UNIVERSE than Absolute, and she is a block downhill from them. Tiny selection of small-batch handmade, and nothing more than 6 hours old. By closing time at 4:00 pm the shelf is bare.
Daniel and Daniel's stuff is mid-scale commercial and often as not, very pretty but stale and relatively flavorless. I am no fan of their baking and when I buy there, I always check for waht is freshest rather than what is to my taste.
And no, sad to say, Olya does not make bread. And Jet Fuel is not a bakery. Olya may have "cafe" in the name, and my latte was proper, but it is a bakery first and foremost.
Have I raved about the TEXTURES of her treats? The perfect crumb, crust, chew or crunch if it is supposed to be that way, and the contrasting smooth and creamy centers, or the richly sticky fruity fillings.... YUM. And nothing is overly sweet. THe flavors are not punched up or masked with lots of cheap sugar; all the flavors are come by honestly.
I am eager to hear other opinions, pro or con. It may just be that she hits my sweet spot, but that I am off-center.
I went this morning, just after they opened, and they didn't have a large selection @ that time...essentially 2 types of scones and a pesto and egg sandwich on brioche. I got the berry and custard scone, which was really delicious - vert moist, as opposed to a lot of scones which tend to be on the dry side. I would definitely go back.