Thus, our second choice, thankfully located nearby, was the Sugar Bowl (10922-88 Avenue). I have quite a biased opinion of this cafe, with nostalgic affection connected to my first visit there. It involved a meeting with online (yes, online) fans of Billy Boyd, just prior to his appearance at the Garneau Theatre a few years ago (and no creepy pedophiles showed up).
The Sugar Bowl could be considered a younger, edgier relative of the Blue Plate Diner. I have always loved the decor – exposed brick, aged hardwood floor, roughly sanded tables, pendant lighting. On the downside, I have never been impressed by their service, as it has consistently proved to be mercifully slow, but on most occasions, I am willing to overlook it for its cozy cultivation of conversation.
When we arrived at 8, the room was about half full. By 9:30, however, it was packed, with groups of diners even patiently awaiting a table at the bar. We also found that as the night progressed, the lights were dimmed and the music volume was increased, with the song list switching from rock in favor of more techno-flavored tunes, making the atmosphere more in line with that of a bar.
Keeping it light, I ordered a vanilla hot chocolate and a Sugar Bowl Soufflé (made with Callebeaut chocolate). The hot chocolate came with a bit of a wait, and was lukewarm, but had a creamy, smooth vanilla flavor. The soufflé, on the other hand, took ridiculously long to make. When it finally arrived, more than thirty minutes later, the waitress apologized, saying that the order was tardy because the first one “collapsed.” Seeing the final product, I wondered what the previous creation looked like. Overturned on the centre of a square plate, and dressed with a shake of powdered sugar, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I had never before had soufflé, so I was not a seasoned judge, but to me, the consistency was a cross between a pudding and a half-baked cake. The cocoa flavor was rather weak, actually, and I could have done with more tart confectioner’s sugar to supplement the dull, uninspired taste.
I can’t say I won’t be back, but it would likely be to sample their entrees instead.
Vanilla Hot Chocolate
Sugar Bowl Souffle with Callebeaut Chocolate