Annie and I got together for lunch over the long weekend at the Queen of Tarts. She hadn’t been to the charming bakery and cafe before, and though I’ve been popping in sporadically since it opened to satisfy our needs and cravings (bread and sweets, respectively), I hadn’t yet sampled their lunch menu.
The lunch crowd was steady at Queen of Tarts – not surprising because the bright and airy room is the sort of space made for leisurely weekend afternoons. The French-inspired menu is short but accessible, with the cafe taking full advantage of their bread case and pastry expertise.
I chose the croque monsieur ($14.95), made with local ham, béchamel, dijon mustard and gruyere on miche bread and served with organic greens. I probably could have done with a third piece of croque monsieur (who can pass up melted cheese and ham?), but I will admit that the mustard layer was a bit too potent for me – especially because the vinaigrette atop the salad was also mustard-based.
Annie chose the day’s special, a French onion soup served with a side of organic greens ($12.95). Her soup was absolutely packed with onions; she also commented on their sweetness, a testament to their lengthy cooking time.
French onion soup
Though the portion sizes are modest, it did mean adding a dessert course to our lunch (not something we normally do) was possible. We shared a pot of Earl Grey tea ($6.95), a thunder brownie ($3) and a chocolate dacquoise ($3.50).
The rich, decadent thunder brownie has crossed my paths many a time (it’s Amanda’s favourite dessert), but it was Annie’s first encounter with it. She appreciated its chocolate depth. The dacquoise, on the other hand, was new to both of us, and surprised us with its delicate meringue sandwich. Its texture was absolutely perfect – just the right amount of chew and sweetness, enhanced with a thin layer of chocolate in between.
The Queen of Tarts started offering high tea this past Friday, and will run daily until May 7, 2011 (with 10% of proceeds being directed to The Bissell Centre). After that, the high teas will be held on a monthly basis. Based on this lunch experience, I would be happy to return again to check out their high tea – especially if I can find a way to work in a dacquoise into the meal.
Queen of Tarts Bakery & Bistro
10129 104 Street
Tuesday-Wednesday 9am-6pm, Thursday-Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 8:30am-6pm, closed Sunday & Monday