It was my last day in Toronto and I was up early to take advantage of it. There isn’t much open at 7am, but luckily this Turkish cafe was; and it offered me my first taste of a simit. A “simit” is a Turkish street bagel dipped in molasses and covered with sesame seeds.
The cafe’s all brick exterior, rounded arch way, and bold sign reminded me of a train stop. Inside the red brick continued and found companionship with wood flooring and faux marble table tops. There was plenty of seating within this open space with some unique pieces used for decoration. An old timey coffee grinder with wooden base and metal crank, a pointed pick with its end sharpened, miniature succulents in metal cans and concrete blocks, and a wood carving the length and shape of an enlarged baguette.
Being early and the first customer in, they were still in the midst of setting up their selling counters for the day. Wooden trays and elevated platforms with labels awaiting their baked goods. Brownies, date squares, almond cookies, various muffins, and pre-assembled sandwiches in asiago olive tapenade and feta tomato.
When ordering, the clerk assured me that I was pronouncing it correctly. Simits don’t look like your regular bagels. They are larger and thinner loops, making them heavier and denser instead of fluffy and chewy.
When looking for toppings I asked for the traditional filling of asiago cheese and pastirma, a dry cured beef. But they also them available with cream cheese and olive paste, fava bean purée, hummus, smoked ham, beef brisket, and goat cheese; amongst other things.
The bagel was dry and hard from its molasses shell. It had a nice roasted sesame flavour, but the falling seeds made eating a messy affair. This was a good amount of food at $11.50, especially given the quality in ingredients used. Both the meat and cheese was fresh and fragrant, they gave some saltiness to the slight sweetness of the bagel. Over all it was one of the most interesting bagels I have ever had, it was so far from what I am used to, but definitely worth a try.
I accompanied my traditional Turkish breakfast with a Turkish coffee latte. I am not a coffee expert so can’t tell the difference between Turkish coffee and regular coffee. But it was strong and warm. I couldn’t taste the milk and/or sugar if there was any.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I wish this was more accessible to me, with a location in Vancouver, so that I could have it more often. Truly a delicious treat or completed breakfast for the senses. Don’t deny your cravings.