8952 Yonge St. (at Scott Dr.-Bantry Ave., south of Carrville Rd.-16th Ave.)
Richmond Hill, ON
Petit fours $2-4; cakes $20-30; cookies and miscellaneous $1-2; ice cream $2.50/scoop
I made that address up based on a rough estimate on Google Maps. I'm not even quite sure if the place has a "real" name. It calls itself Patisserie and also has gold Arabic writing on its store sign. It's a small place that my sister wandered into out of curiousity, and fell in love with instantly.
You're greeted by an amazing array of cakes, petit fours and teeny-tiny pastry bites, all lined up row after row in one long glass case. A homemade sign on top tells you, "WE USE ONLY REAL CREAM AND REAL BUTTER IN OUR DESSERTS. NO SUBSTITUTES." Or something to that effect. And you can smell it in the air from the open door of the kitchen in the back.
Every little cake glistens and twinkles, and you can hear the love in the voice of the woman serving, as she coos about what's what and how it's "sooo good." "You have never had a carrot cake like this before!" I dreamily stare at the itty-bitty petit four (I don't even like carrot cake!) and prod my sister, but she demonstrates self-control. We are here to buy a cake for our father's birthday.
In one corner is a round 10-inch cake with a lovely golden brown goo spread over top and dripping ever-so lovely on to the sides. "Caramel and hazelnut," the woman says as she comes out from behind her magical glass case. We groan because we love nutty desserts but our brother is allergic! Blast him!
She rattles off a list of what else is available -- no two cakes are the same. We finally settle on a rectangular Belgian chocolate butter layer cake with the sides exposed ($20). The woman expertly writes "Happy Birthday Dad" on top with chocolate in a piping bag. Before leaving, we treat ourselves to a scoop of blueberry sorbet ($2.50) from her selection of store-bought and homemade ice creams. It's like eating crushed blueberries and ice -- exquisite. Your hands and clothes will easily be stained with the stuff if you're not careful.
Later in the evening, after dinner at Saigon Star, we return to our sister's condo for coffee, tea and cake. What I love about this patisserie's cakes is that somehow they are light and airy, yet rich and deep in flavour at the same time. The vanilla cake layers are firm but soft. The Belgian chocolate cream in between is buttery and delicate. And it all hits the perfect amount of sweetness.
This place has easily become one of my favourites in the city. If you ever find yourself travelling north to Richmond Hill, this is the place to stop at.
Rating (out of five stars): *****