Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crêpe & Co. European Café

Crêperies. Very limited number of them in Toronto. Having said that it's still not too too hard to find the classic French dish in the city - a number of dessert places come to mind actually, such as Caffe Demetre and Spin Dessert, as well as Crepe De Licious which you'll find in various shopping malls. However, when it comes to stand-alone crêperies that specialize in both sweet and savoury crêpes, I can only think of three: Café Crepe, Crepes A-Go-Go, and Millie Creperie (which serves French crêpes with a Japanese twist).

Anyway, unbeknownst to me, Crêpe & Co European Café (Twitter: CrepeCoCafe, Facebook: Crepecocafe) opened last summer across the street from the Gladstone Hotel on 1167 Queen St. W. So make that four crêperies. I visited the cozy European-style café for an early dinner during the Christmas holiday. 

Inspired by their travels and the delicious thin pancakes found throughout Europe, husband and wife Andrey and Natalie were determined to open a café, one specializing in the traditional French crêpe, both sweet and savoury, with Eastern European influenced fillings (i.e. "My Big Fat Greek Crepe", "Chicken Kiev", "Polish Sausage & Mushroom") 

There are a total of 14 savoury crêpes and 16 dessert crêpes. It shouldn't be hard to find one you want to try; the real problem is choosing only one.

There are other desserts and sweets available at Crêpe & Co if you really don't feel like crêpes.

It's very spacious here, with seating along one side and the kitchen on the other. The wooden floors and brick walls visually warm up the space. In the summer, the side eatery opens to a courtyard where customers can soak up the sun, just like how one would at the cafés in Paris.

 A selection of cured meats and cheeses, garnished w/ olives, artichokes and roasted red pepper. I probably won't order the charcuterie board again as it was nothing to write home about. I would rather save my stomach space for crêpes.

One awesome thing about Crêpe & Co is that they are licensed (yay!) but what's more awesome is that they have recommended wine and beer pairings for each savoury crêpe. Now that's different!

Open-ended and stuffed to the brim with mushrooms, caramelized onion, smokey sausage, and a bacon beer cream on the side, this was one hearty crêpe. Served with Crêpe & Co's house salad dressed in balsamic vinaigrette, the extravagant fillings were allowed to shine here. This crêpe is what I would like to call a "man crêpe".

This came highly recommended by Andrey (whose family is from Ukraine) so there's no hesitation on my part to try it. Chicken kiev is a traditional Ukrainian dish comprised of boneless chicken breast cutlets rolled around cold garlic butter and herbs, breaded, then  fried or baked. Instead of breaded fried chicken, Crêpe and Co's version had moist chicken pieces wrapped in a crêpe then topped with breadcrumbs, herbs and garlic butter. Served in pairs, I can't think of a better crêpe to have on a cold winter night than this one.

Since it was Christmas and all, I decided to have a glass of mulled wine. It was my first time having it and I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. Forget about hot chocolate! I can imagine myself curled up by the fireplace at home, reading a book and sipping on mulled wine on a snowy winter night. Spiced with anise, cloves, cinnamon and orange, the mulled wine here is warm, soothing and cozy (yes it tastes "cozy" if that's possible.) Christmas in a glass but I must have it again soon. Very soon.

APPLE CRISP ($8.95, add vanilla ice cream $1)
Lightly drizzled with maple syrup, this dessert crêpe was a delight. The tender baked apples sweetened with brown sugar were cooked just enough so they still have a tiny bit of crunch, but soft enough to chew easily. Get it with ice cream, no question there. The one thing I didn't like were the oats; they were soft and soggy in texture and didn't provide the crunch or "crisp" I expected from an "apple crisp".

In general, the crêpes at Crêpe & Co were thin, with a texture that's a bit spongy and somewhere between floury and eggy. It works. Very generous portion size. I love the varieties of crêpes too; you won't see me ordering a Nutella & Banana crêpe at Crêpe & Co that's for sure.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

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