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"Sweet Note Dessert" - Gem of a find in Markham and offering the BEST Souffle in the GTA, period!!

Charles Yu Nov 4, 2013 03:43 PM

In the mood for a great dessert Souffle? This newly opened cozy little dessert boutique in Markham offers IMHO, the best tasting French Souffle in the GTA!! Better than Didier ( now closed ), Ici Bistro, Auberge Du Pommier or occasionally in Splendido, "Sweet Notes" Souffle is nothing short of a 'Master Piece'
With awards garnered from places as far as Hong Kong and Japan, the lady pastry chef owner uses only organic ingredients and free range eggs in her creation. During this 'pre-grand opening' period, for eating in, only French Souffle, Creme Brulee, Molten Chocolate Cake, Bottled Milk Pudding and a Cake of the day are being offered.

For our afternoon tea today, my wife and I ordered a 'Vanilla Souffle with Mango Sauce' and a 'Chocolate Souffle with Guava Sauce'. Being a Monday and since we ordered over $10 worth of food, a complimentary cup of organic coffee was offered. A very nice gesture!

How was the Souffle?? Well, I'll just let my photos do the talking!! Perfect in form and with correct sweetness, the interior was fluffy and light as air. The freshly baked free range egg and butter aroma of the Vanilla version was particularly pronounced. However, what really stole the show were the two 'non sugar added sauces!! Using fresh puree from 3 different types of mangoes and 2 different types of Guava, the taste and aroma was stunning. At $8.75 a piece, this unbelievably good dessert, was a steal!!

With high quality standard products such as these, no wonder the owner adopted an open kitchen format for patrons to admire the work in progress.

On our way out, the lady chef/owner came out to thank us and invite us to return to try out her Macaroons which she claimed is better than 'Lauduree' but less sweet! With a claim like this, who can resist?!!

With such superior products, once the words are out, I am sure businesses in the newly opened 'Paramount Tiramisu Cafe' and Ruelo Patisserie, across the road in Time Square, will suffer big time!!

Commerce Gate, Unit 61-63
505 Hwy 7 E, Markham
905-877-9338 ( 905-U-R-SWEET )

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  1. Charles Yu RE: Charles Yu Nov 4, 2013 04:19 PM

    BTW, we also took out a sinful piece of 'Mocha orange Cheesecake soaked with Rum and Grand Marnier'!- their 'Cake of the Day'

    1. elvisahmed RE: Charles Yu Nov 4, 2013 06:05 PM

      Thanks for sharing Charles will make it a point to try this place next time I am in the area.

      1. w
        Wil RE: Charles Yu Nov 5, 2013 05:17 AM

        Wow, I am VERY excited about this! Looks amazing, will try it as soon as possible! Thanks for letting us know Charles! Yes, every sentence needs an exclamation mark I am that psyched!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wil
          Charles Yu RE: Wil Nov 5, 2013 07:42 PM

          Try avoiding the weekend!! Staff told me can become a mad house with 'long wait'!!

        2. t
          themiguel RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2013 06:39 AM

          Thanks so much for this Charles! My wife is mad for Chocolate Souffle - we used to love the version Grace on College had. Is it very sweet? Not a big fan of cloyingly sweet souffles like they sometimes do in Tokyo.

          3 Replies
          1. re: themiguel
            Charles Yu RE: themiguel Nov 6, 2013 10:26 AM

            IMO. Not sweet at all!
            Since the chef individually prepare the souffle for you , you can actually request the degree of sweetness as well as degree of fluffiness!!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              Michael N RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2013 11:55 AM

              Wait -- are you saying that the chef individually whisks up each souffle to order? Doesn't a souffle need like half an hour in the oven alone? How long is the wait??

              1. re: Michael N
                Charles Yu RE: Michael N Nov 6, 2013 01:11 PM

                Yup!! Made to order!! That's why they are so darn good!!
                With their high tech oven, our wait was about 20 minutes. Time for us to enjoy our coffee.
                That's also the reason why I suggested to Wil to avoid the busy weekend crowd.

          2. sumashi RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2013 09:23 AM

            Oooh.. that souffle looks amazing.

            First thing that came to mind when I saw their milk bottle desserts is yummy Vietnamese yogurt.

            1. vil RE: Charles Yu Nov 6, 2013 10:01 AM

              Thank you for the writeup, so many things look good as well as innovative!

              What I learned yesterday is that they are not open on Tuesdays :-|

              1. a
                aliangwb RE: Charles Yu Nov 10, 2013 04:09 PM

                Totally agreed with other poster. Been there twice and both times the souffle comes out perfect. One is chocolate with raspberry sauce and the other is vanilla with mango sauce. The souffle is crunchy on the top and sides, soft and fluffy in the inside with good chocolate and vanilla flavour. The sauces are very favorable and not too sweet giving the souffle an extra dimension of sour and sweetness. The macaron is very good with crunchy shell and chewy filling, in my case pistachio.
                Highly recommended.

                1 Reply
                1. re: aliangwb
                  Charles Yu RE: aliangwb Nov 10, 2013 05:42 PM

                  Glad to read your feedback with observations that mirrors mine!
                  Did you try the mini milk jar pudding?!

                2. w
                  Wil RE: Charles Yu Nov 11, 2013 05:19 AM

                  Oh, forgot to ask, everyone is raving about the souffle, how is the creme brule if anyone has tried it?

                  1. r
                    ragged25 RE: Charles Yu Nov 12, 2013 09:13 AM

                    Thanks for the review Charles. Went in to try their macarons (casis and mango). Both were flavourful and the shell's got a bit of crunch. Appearance wise, it's larger but more flat than I'm used to. At $2.50 a pop, they are good and if I'm ever in the mood, I wouldn't hesitate getting them again. Unfortunately, they are not better than Lauderee, not by a long shot, she might have been kidding there Charles lol!

                    This place reminds me of Reulo from Times Square but with more seating as they also do souffles to order. In fact, I kinda recognize the chef as I've seen her in Reulo, not sure if she quit and started her own place, I could be wrong though. I'm sure Reulo's business might be affected, but they do specialize in wedding and birthday cakes and has a large following. A little overpriced in my opinion, but I do enjoy them.

                    Definitely a nice addition to the neighbourhood.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ragged25
                      Charles Yu RE: ragged25 Nov 12, 2013 02:51 PM

                      Hello ragged25!
                      - Glad you liked the Souffle!
                      - The lady working in Reulo is kind of petite, however the Sweet Note pastry chef is tall and lean ( by Oriental standard ). Might not be the same person?!
                      - IMO, there's two side to a macaron. Texture and taste! Macarons I had from Lauduree Paris, NYC and Hong Kong are all too sweet for my palette. SN less sweet option on the other hand tends to appeal to my taste better! To each its own??!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        ragged25 RE: Charles Yu Nov 12, 2013 05:07 PM

                        I think the lady from Reulo is still there, but the one at Sweet Note used to work at Reulo as well. Like I said, I could be way off on this.

                        I have quite a sweet tooth, so the sweetness didn't bother me as much, but can totally see the turnoff there. For me, it's more so the texture and mouth feel of Lauderee. With that said, I take Pierre Hermes over them both.

                        Btw, I haven't tried their soufflé as my wife didn't feel like dining in. Next time for sure though.

                        1. re: ragged25
                          Charles Yu RE: ragged25 Nov 12, 2013 07:00 PM

                          Ah!! But IMO, Pierre Hermes is in a class of its own!!

                    2. b
                      bryanayrb RE: Charles Yu Nov 12, 2013 01:37 PM

                      Had the chocolate with strawberry sauce. It's a damn good product and a steal at $8.50 (made to order!). Wait was nearly 40 minutes though.

                      Can't help but wonder how long she'll last there.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: bryanayrb
                        aliangwb RE: bryanayrb Nov 12, 2013 02:04 PM

                        This shop have fabulous products, and if she can expand the offering with the same quality, then she should have no problem.

                        1. re: bryanayrb
                          asagiri RE: bryanayrb Nov 13, 2013 09:39 AM

                          That's an acceptable wait time for a souffle made to order. If her pastry cream is already made in advance, she would still have to take 5-10mins to whip up the egg whites and melt the chocolate, 5mins to butter, dust and fill the ramekins and 10-15mins to bake the souffle in the oven.

                          1. re: asagiri
                            bryanayrb RE: asagiri Nov 14, 2013 08:45 AM

                            I don't mind the wait at all and I understand, it was worth every minute. Some basic math just makes me worried about the sustainability of the business model.

                            1. re: bryanayrb
                              asagiri RE: bryanayrb Nov 14, 2013 09:30 AM

                              Are you referring to the speed of service or the pricing model of their products? I haven't been down there myself, so I can't comment on how the service is, but from the listed price by Charles of $8.75 for a souffle is reasonable by industry standards.

                              1. re: asagiri
                                bryanayrb RE: asagiri Nov 14, 2013 12:35 PM

                                It's beyond reasonable, I'm more wondering if she's making *enough* to survive.

                                1. re: asagiri
                                  Charles Yu RE: asagiri Nov 14, 2013 12:44 PM

                                  What exactly do you mean by 'industry standard'?! Restaurants?? May be you can list a few for comparison purposes?!
                                  FYI, comparable Souffle in the GTA at Ice Bistro, Auberge, ex-Didier, Splendido...etc were all in the mid-teens+!! So IMHO, $8.75 is relatively CHEAP!!!!

                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                    asagiri RE: Charles Yu Nov 14, 2013 09:51 PM

                                    By industry standards, I mean the average mark-up for a product for baked goods. You can't really compare the pricing structure/strategy of a bakery with a restaurant. Their apples and oranges. With the exception of bread, the industry standard for bakeries is usually 2-3 times the total cost of ingredients for whatever product their selling. The average markup for a restaurant is higher with 3-4 times the total cost for ingredients. The real money maker for a bakery/cafe isn't in the baked goods, it's through coffee/tea with the markup being 5-6 times it's cost.

                                    In this case with the souffle, it's basically composed of whipped egg whites, pastry cream and whatever flavoring agent you're using (i.e. raspberry jam for raspberry souffle, or melted chocolate/cocoa powder for chocolate souffle).

                                    So if we break down the food costs for 1 chocolate souffle with raspberry coulis:
                                    $0.75 - 2 eggs
                                    $0.25 - sugar
                                    $0.50 - milk
                                    $0.25 - flour
                                    $0.50 - butter
                                    $0.75 - chocolate
                                    $0.25 - cocoa powder
                                    $1.00 - raspberries
                                    Total - $4.25

                                    1. re: asagiri
                                      Charles Yu RE: asagiri Nov 15, 2013 10:50 AM

                                      Oh!! I wasn't expecting a comparison of break down raw material costs?! I thought you were comparing Sweet Note's 'finished' product with some of their 'sit down/eat-in' competitors/peers similar offerings? However, to my knowledge, there is no similar sit down casual cafe in town that's offering such made-to-order products?!

                                      Anyways, I don't think I would enter into such finite technical discussion since IMO, there are other factors like rent, reputation of the chef, the category and class of the eating establishment...etc that should also enter into the pricing equation?! If based on raw material costs alone then Macarons by Pierre Hermes should be sold at only 1/10 of their retail price??!! Ha!

                                      1. re: asagiri
                                        pakmode RE: asagiri Nov 15, 2013 12:47 PM

                                        With budgeting skills like that you must work for the government. I'm not going to play the estimate game. But I would have said half that amount IMO.

                                        1. re: asagiri
                                          brushfire RE: asagiri Nov 16, 2013 08:08 AM

                                          That's a terribly low mark up. I agree with bryanayrb. Don't think they're making enough. Although I think the dollar amounts you estimated are too high.

                              2. b
                                brushfire RE: Charles Yu Nov 13, 2013 08:49 AM

                                Never been a fan of souffles but these look so good i'm definitely making the trip to check them out. Thanks charles!

                                1. TorontoJo RE: Charles Yu Jan 5, 2014 03:06 PM

                                  Had a lovely tea and dessert visit to Sweet Note today. Tried the adorably packaged puddings, a few macarons, a chocolate souffle, and a chestnut cream meringue cake.

                                  Everything was of really impressive quality. Great flavours and textures and nothing overly sweet. The souffle took about 40 minutes but we were occupied eating puddings and macarons, so didn't mind in the least. They also made/assembled the chestnut cream meringue cake to order. They were out of the individual-size meringues, so we ordered a 6" cake and wiped the whole thing out. The quality of the meringue and the chestnut puree were fantastic. The texture and flavour of the souffle was also really impressive (sorry for the photo -- it had already started to deflate by the time I got around to taking the pic).

                                  All in all, a really enjoyable visit. Even the tea service is cute.

                                  It was a perfect follow up to a pig out session at Northern Dumpling Kitchen just the next plaza over.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                    Nevy RE: TorontoJo Jan 5, 2014 03:13 PM

                                    That chestnut meringue looks so good! I hope you don't mind me asking how much that was... I had a great meringue pavlova with chestnut paste at King Edwards over the Christmas holidays and I've been craving the combination ever since.

                                    1. re: Nevy
                                      TorontoJo RE: Nevy Jan 5, 2014 03:20 PM

                                      The 6" chestnut meringue cake was $35. Split between the six of us, it didn't feel that expensive and the quality was seriously excellent. The pastry chef came out to chat with us and told us that she imports that chestnut paste from France and doesn't cut it with cheaper ingredients (as is pretty common practice in Chinese bakeries, apparently).

                                    2. re: TorontoJo
                                      Charles Yu RE: TorontoJo Jan 5, 2014 04:01 PM

                                      Hello TorontoJo! Happy New Year to you!! Braving the weather to visit my part of town? Did you 'helicopter' it to Button Field Airport?! Ha!!
                                      I was across Hwy#7 grabbing some B-B- duck and pork rice from Richmond Court! If I'd known, i would have come over and say Hi!!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                        TorontoJo RE: Charles Yu Jan 5, 2014 05:07 PM

                                        Sometimes a dumpling craving just has to be satisfied. :o)

                                        A helicopter would have been nice...

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