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I was here today meeting with a manager of Zomato. And what better place to meet a fellow food lover than at a place serving artisan drinks and gourmet pastries. My guest boasted how this was her favourite bakery and how she is here multiple times a week, or even multiple times within the same day. And even as one who doesn’t like sweets, she did like what they served. She wasn’t kidding about her being here a lot. The staff recognized her and a few even stopped to highlight that fact. A few asked her, her name and many made small talk. If this was any indication of the level of service, I would say they were successful at delivering.

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The bakery is simple inside and out. No flashy signs, no bold colours. Not even a sandwich board on the sidewalk in front. Just a white veneer and gold type face on the windows. You could definitely miss it, if it weren’t for the hoards of patrons lining up and the rotating of bodies in and out of tables.

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Vaulted ceilings, birch wood floors and cabinets, white walls, and their name in gold script at the back. What was most striking was the abstract wall art by the seating area. Geometric shapes constructed out of metal rods, spray painted in gold. They jutted out of the wall in a three dimensional fashion. Their shine matched that of the golden tap at the help yourself utensil, condiment, and water counter adjacent. There aren’t many small tables and there isn’t much room by the counter, but we managed to wrangle a seat after ordering.

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You start by the window, where their glass counter showcasing all their cakes and pastries was on display. Savoury croissants and cheesy scones. For something sweet: slices of double chocolate, layered coconut, and assorted cheesecakes were available by the slice. For something more compact they also had miniature desserts to try. Salted caramel cheesecake, pistachio and  pecan cake, lemon tarts, and hazelnut espresso bars. And something more filling sandwiches, salads, and pot pies are available for ordering. Something not easily advertised, but instead, self read off a written menu by the till. They also sold loaves of in house made bread that their sandwiches are served on.

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You ordering at the register. If your order is to go you pick it up at the counter when they call your name. If it is for here they deliver everything to your table on a hexagon shaped board, carved with their cafe’s name.  Clever, from a social media stand point. You take a photo and post it, whether you geotag or say where it is from, your picture shows their bakery’s name.

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The truth is I don’t blog about many cafés and coffee shops because I don’t actually drink coffee. The fine roasts and the expensive brews with their nutty under tone is lost on me. So today I opted for a “Matcha latte”. The presentation was similar to that of a coffee. A warm cup with some foam and milk art on top. It was a nice touch using a Japanese style tea cup. The drink itself was warming. Not sweet like I imagined, but instead a deep matcha powder flavour mixed with milk.

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I grabbed the last “sweet and salty, peanut butter pretzel bar”, believing if it is the last of something it is a good sign of its popularity. With the nuts it was both filling like a meal and sweet like a dessert. The chocolate in this was more an after note, peanut butter and salt were the stars of this bar. I love my peanut butter chunky so appreciated the extra crushed peanuts in top to give it that similar texture. Overall it was good, but U would have preferred the peanut butter paired with the more traditional sweet jam then the salty coating of a pretzel. I was also missing more crunch. Perhaps a graham cracker layer, something to sink your teeth into and to hold the bar together. With the amount of oil present this easily fell apart.

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The “salted caramel cheesecake” is a fan favourite. A popular twist on the classic New York style cheesecake. The sticky caramel heightened by salt is defiantly the star of the dish, it is what differentiates it from any other cheesecake. And the reason why I ordered this.

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The “s’more cookie” was a little disappointing. With its name I was hoping to liken it more to a campfire s’more. Crisp graham cracker wafers, melted chocolate, and gooey oozy marshmallow. Instead this was a hard oatmeal-like cookie with a crumbly texture and a chewy marshmallow centre. I guess it was an interesting remix of a classic. And you even got the campfire charcoal blackening on it. A decent interpretation on familiar flavours made for a grown palette. Though I still wanted it more gooey s’more.

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The “Lemon tart” was like a miniature lemon merging pie, especially with the twirl of toasted meringue on top. As the balance of sweet to the natural tartness of lemons, it was my favourite part of the dessert. I wanted more than just a dollop. The crust was equally good, so buttery that it crumbled apart under the pressure of a fork, it was almost flaky. Overall I naturally gravitate to a good lemon desert, this one in particular made for a nice break from the chocolate and cream above, and offered itself as an easy palate cleanser. Such a dessert will often be designated as my last bite, the bite to end my meal on.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wouldn’t mind returning, though given the area, the travel traffic, and the more challenging parking situation it won’t be any time soon. This was a nice addition to the area. The local’s coffee shop. The spot to grab a good beverage at and some fine treats from. Though given its popularity, not the ideal place to study at. More the place to meet your friend for coffee and a catch up session at. Don’t deny your cravings.

SMALL VICTORY
1088 Homer Street, Vancouver BC, V6B2W9
604-899-8892
smallvictory.ca
Small Victory Bakery on Urbanspoon