Three Etobicoke bakeries that go beyond the bread
They line up 20 deep every day at SanRemo Bakery and it’s not for the crusty Italian bread.
Customers flood the Mimico bakery for a hot lunch.
Diners — some in office wear, some in safety boots — choose from steaming trays of chicken parmesan, baked pasta and roast meat; servers hand over the food. The eating is done in either the air-conditioned café or at outside tables overlooking Royal York Rd.
Hybrid bakery/restaurants like SanRemo exist throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Here, I focus on three west-end bakeries where the signature breads are no less compelling than the hot food.
Allwyn’s Bakery opened June 21 on The Queensway, kitty-corner from the busy Cineplex movie theatre.
It’s the third location for the Jamaican bakery. Owners C.K. Chung and Donald Simpson opened the first in 1993 in North York, followed by a Yonge and Sheppard location last January.
The new Etobicoke location has patties ($2 each) but they are flatter and less flaky than ideal.
The good stuff is Allwyn’s coco bread, pale circles of buttery dough as flaky as a good pie crust.
Coco bread is used to wrap jerk chicken or pork into brilliant sandwiches ($6) stuffed with coleslaw so fresh the crunch can be heard across the bakery’s four-person table.
The same juicy jerk meat — free of bones and spiced with Jamaican-born chef Simpson’s secret green paste — can be had on a plate. So can curry chicken, curry goat with cracked bones holding soft marrow and meltingly soft stewed oxtail (all $10 small, $13.50 large). The curries taste more of thyme and turmeric than curry powder, but no complaints about the amount of gravy ladled onto the rice and peas.
Allwyn’s Bakery, 876 The Queensway, 647-351-0688. Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Midday at Dimpflmeier Bakery brings the sound of German music and conversation.
The factory/retail outlet/café is a cash-only beacon of European food amidst industrial Etobicoke.
A so-called “coffee room” seats about 40 diners, who carry trays of food on china plates into the sunny space.
Hot food options include quiche ($2.75) topped with a layer of chopped broccoli like a green float of Chartreuse in a craft cocktail. The quiche lacks a pastry crust, sheathed instead in crisp melted butter.
German hamburger ($6.75), here called Alpine frikadellen, is a heavily seasoned ground pork-and-beef patty. It comes nicely garnished with a pickle, tomato, olive and curly parsley. Unfortunately, the kaiser roll turns chewy in the microwave.
With the savoury out of the way, you can get back to the serious konditorei business of eating Poppy Seed cake ($1.50).
Dimpflmeier Bakery, 26-36 Advance Rd., 416-239-3031, dimpflmeierbakery.com. Open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SanRemo Bakery’s Nick Bozzo keeps tweaking the hot-food counter to boost its appeal.
“We’ve always had a hot table, starting with my grandfather. The standard offerings weren’t cutting it, so we’ve added more diverse foods like pulled pork and grilled salmon with mango salsa,” says Bozzo, who owns the bakery with his brothers Edward and Rob.
Still, there’s much good in Italian standards such as veal parmesan ($8.25) coated in bread crumbs made from leftover bread. The meat admirably asserts itself against sweet red peppers and stewed jalapenos. The semolina-dusted bun is a perfect fit, no overhang or slippage.
More bread crumbs go into soft veal meatballs in tomato sauce ($6.50). On the side are homey mashed potatoes — and lots of them. In a similar carb-tastic vein is baked penne with ricotta ($5.99). The mozzarella-topped noodles are soft, not al dente, and nicely blistered in the 425 F oven.
Maybe more bakeries should slip lunch into their ovens alongside the loaves.
Amy Pataki is a Toronto-based restaurant critic and reporter covering all things hospitality. Follow her on Twitter: @amypataki