Taste Test: Searching for Toronto’s best crème brûlée
Winner: Scaramouche (image: Cheol Joon Baek)
This month, Bar Isabel’s master chef Grant van Gameren is joined by fiancée and fellow chef, Sunny Stone, in sampling the city’s top crème brûlées — just in time for Valentine’s Day. Which classic French desserts stole the hearts of our duo?
Scaramouche, 1 Benvenuto Pl., $12
This one impresses from the get-go. “I love the look of it and how the caramel goes right across,” notes Stone. While Gameren would prefer the crust to be slightly less thick, Stone loves the caramelization. Both would enjoy the dessert more without the rhubarb fruit surprise hidden beneath the custard.
Mogette, 581 Mt. Pleasant Rd., $9
“Really nice flavour with the sugar,” says van Gameren. “Even the burnt part has that burnt marshmallow flavour, which is good.” Stone: “There’s something for everyone in the sugar!” Stone is also taken with the portion size.
Le Sélect Bistro, 432 Wellington St. W., $10.95
“The texture’s nice — it’s actually pretty smooth,” says van Gameren. “The brûlée’s on its way,” notes Stone, but she would prefer a thicker crust to crack through.
Cafe en Passant, 10133 Yonge St., $8.99
“The flavour’s really nice,” notes Stone. “It’s like a butterscotch.” Van Gameren agrees and notes: “The consistency’s nice and creamy.” However, the crust disappoints; there’s no audible crack, which is key.
The Octagon, 7529 Yonge St., $11.95
Although Stone enjoys the presentation of the dessert, the crème brûlée is a touch too saccharine for the duo. A less-shallow bowl would solve the sweet issue.
La Société, 131 Bloor St. W., $10
“I have good hopes on this one,” says van Gameren. “It’s intriguing.” Stone agrees: “Ooh, it’s cool! I like the concept of the lime cookie and the coconut.” However, the lemongrass and coconut flavours are a bit too intense for their liking.
Coquine, 2075 Yonge St., $9
“I like the brûlée on it,” van Gameren says. “It’s nice and even too, which is not easy to obtain.” Stone agrees: “Me too! I like the colour on it for sure.” The square bowl is deemed a bit tricky to eat out of, but both enjoy the classic vanilla flavour.
La Palette, 492 Queen St. W., $4
“This one’s so cute!” Stone says, pointing out that the dessert can be really rich. Van Gameren agrees: “It’s a nice personalized portion there.” Ideally, the consistency of the custard wouldn’t be quite as thick.