Rare is it that I will review a restaurant. Even rarer will I find a restaurant that I do not like. Unfortunately, such is the case today!
Recently, one of our favorite (even if slightly overpriced) dessert places within walking distance closed down. We just happened, by chance, to go to Calories on their closing night. I was really sad to hear the news as I like the cakes, beverages and I LOVED the atmosphere of the place. Not to mention that they had a small terrasse, perfect for nice outings with friends on a beautiful night. One lady there told me the owners may open up another place sometime in the future, but no timeline, area or more info was made available. Basically, I’m not holding my breath.
Since then, our only later-evening dessert option has become Pekarna – in the old Forum (corner Ste-Catherine and Atwater). When we first started going, about 2 years ago, it was alright. Even though it was a bit dark, the cakes were good, beverages too and the staff was nice. They renovated a few months back and that seems to have been the point where quality started going down the drain. Salem and I have been back a few times in the past couple of months, each time trying a new cake in hopes of finding something that we enjoy… No such luck.
From the “we’re out of iced coffee…. and x, and y, and z… we have regular coffee though”, to staff not knowing their menu, to not being helpful with suggestions for the customers… Not to mention putting the chairs up on the tables when a good third of the restaurant is still full of customers and more are coming in! Lets not forget their unstable hours! We’ve shown up at 9 pm only to see all tables and chairs on the terrasse have been put away. Some of the chairs and tables inside have also been made off limits. I’ve seen this place close at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30 and 11:00. You cannot rely on the hours posted on their website.
Now, apart from these things, lets get to the really important stuff – the food! I haven’t ordered a sandwich from there so I can’t say anything about that. Ditto for the ice cream. Here are my comments about the many, many, many cakes they have. You know the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none”? In this case, it would be “Jack of all cakes, master of none”. Sounds harsh, I know. The cheesecakes: I’ve tried a few and there is just something off about them… is it the texture? Somewhat gelatin-like, maybe a bit crusty or dry along the edges (how long has this been sitting here for?). Regular cakes: the fondant on the cakes is much too thick! I will always remember what my good friend, Michèle, told me years ago after finishing up her studies in pastry school “you can tell a good baker by how thinly they roll out their fondant”. She made our wedding cake, used fondant, and no one even noticed it because it was so thin. Pekarna… keep practicing your fondant-rolling technique or just get rid of the fondant altogether and go for a light buttercream icing. Tiramisu was a soppy mess, the mousse is alright though.
And now we come to last night’s experience – the “other” types of cakes. Salem and I decided to share a piece of cake. Salem requested something with chocolate. Knowing we wanted to stay away from anything with fondant and cheesecake-based, we decided on the brownie cake. The piece is fairly decent in size – maybe 2-3″ wide at the widest point and about 4″ long. While the batter was very much like a very dense brownie, the icing and ganache were over the top! We couldn’t even finish our shared piece and were very happy that we had coffee to wash it down (no sugar added). It was about 30 minutes later, on our way home and through our prayers that I started feeling nauseated. Yes, I felt sick because this cake was so freaking sweet! Thankfully, it passed but I learned my lesson. NO MORE DESSERTS AT PEKARNA!!!!
I’m sorry, but if you call yourself a “Pâtisserie”, you should at least be good at making cakes. I’ve read so many reviews that are similar to mine. Rather than having 20 (or whatever) different cakes that aren’t all that great, then why not reduce the menu to 5-8 great cakes?
So, I am still looking for a good dessert place, within walking distance, which just happens to be open pst 9 pm… In the meantime, unfortunately, I will keep going to Pekarna from time to time but sticking to a plain coffee and maybe a cookie – at least those are good… Or maybe I’ll just go to the Timmy‘s next door and pay half the price for the same thing.
Here is a link to some Urbanspoon reviews:
Pekarna on Urbanspoon