My curious nature, along with my desire to walk into any and all random side streets, led me to this glorious, sweet discovery off Yonge St. near Eglinton. You can walk up and down the same road or around the same neighbourhood a million times and there will always be something you missed, something you just didn’t take notice of. You see things with fresh eyes each time and I believe that exploration in your own city can get never get old for this very reason, at least not for me.
I was so giddy when I discovered La Bamboche all on my own last month. I was walking northbound to Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St. one hot and sticky afternoon when I came upon Manor Rd. Continuing on my merry way as I crossed the street, I turned to my head to the right for no apparent reason and noticed something in my peripheral vision down the road. Something black and white. A storefront! A cute little storefront with a black and white striped awning. Ooo, what’s in it? *squints* Is that a macaron tree in the window?! Wild horses couldn’t drag me away from such a pretty piece of confectionary. Neither could my boyfriend as I
dragged him jogged across the street saying, “we’re going in!” And so began a beautiful friendship between me and this lovely bakery.
La Bamboche is part lunch cafe, part ice cream parlour, and ALL parts patisserie with their baskets of croissants, cellophane baggies of mini meringues, and glass display cases of mousse cakes, tarts, and YES, macarons! Their macarons are a very good size. Macarons, on average, are slightly bigger than a toonie. I’d say the size of the ones at La Bamboche are comparable to small cookies, kind of like the size of a digital camera’s lens. They’re awesome and yummy, but they also come at a price: $2.60 each. They definitely rank higher in the price point category, but I’d like to think they make up for that in quality and uniqueness in flavours.
At any given time, La Bamboche has up to 12 flavours of macarons to choose from and what I loved about theirs was their flavour selection. Sure, they have flavour staples such as chocolate and pistachio, but they also have yummy flavours such as espresso, caramel sea salt, amaretto, and lavender. THEN there are the super unique flavours that are Japanese inspired! Eeeee. Asian flavours? I am all over that like mud on a pig. And I was very lucky that day because when I went into the shop, the macaron case was almost empty having sold out during the earlier part of the day. The nice gentleman went to the kitchen to the check after I asked if they would be bringing any new ones out soon, and brought out two fresh batches of delighful macarons. I chose two: yuzu and mango green tea.
The yuzu intrigued me. The macaron was a bright, sunny yellow colour and I initially thought it was a lemon one. I was close; it was actually yuzu. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit with a number of varieties cultivated in Japan, China, and Korea.* This particular flavour at La Bamboche is a Japanese Yuzu (straight from the horse’s mouth. And by that, I mean the pastry chef!) and the macaron was so light and fresh and subtly tangy. It was a beautiful, complex flavour. I tasted subtle hints of grapefruit, ginger, and lemon and funny enough, the flavour didn’t embody any of the three in its entirety. It was a mesh of light citrus flavour with a sweet, fluffy vanilla cream sandwiched between the two layers of meringue. I know I said it was lovely, but just how lovely? I gave my boyfriend, Richard, a small bite to try and he immediately looked back at the glass display case and back at me and said, “yeah, I’m getting one”. If it can compel someone to snatch one up at the drop of a hat, it’s good 😉
The mango green tea macaron was so awesomely awesome. Biting into the delicate shell was like biting into a sweet morsel of matcha, like a mouthful of green tea flavoured cake that was crispy, airy, and melt-in-your-mouth yummy. But that’s not entirely why this macaron was so fabulous. It’s the mango filling combined with the green tea macaron shell that did it for me and I’ll tell you why. La Bamboche is so smart. A macaron is not just a macaron to them. The two Japanese inspired flavours I got were so well executed because of the nuances in texture and flavour. The attention to detail is remarkable. The mango filling in the macaron wasn’t a cream, a frosting, or a puree. It was a paste. A mango flavoured paste that resembled red bean paste in texture so much it was freaky. As I was enjoying my macaron, I thought to myself, “I feel like I’m eating a Chinese cookie”. You know the execution is good when you’re sitting in a French style cafe and the Asian inspired sweets taste, well…Asian. The macarons weren’t too sweet and the quality is just bang on.
They were doing great business when I was in with people coming in and out for the macarons, parents coming in with their little ones for ice cream cones, and young women eating mousse cakes at the little tables. The prices might be a little on the higher side, but the quality is there. I might side step the mousse cakes just because the prices are little too rich for my blood, but I’m so looking forward to trying other macaron flavours and maybe a few of their other pastries because their lemon tarts looked mighty delicious from the dessert case that day. Hail to the lovely macaron tree in the window that caught my eye that day.
La Bamboche is located at 4 Manor Rd. E., off Yonge St. south of Eglinton Ave.
*source = Citrus Valley Collection