Location: 190 University Avenue, Toronto
Depending on who you ask, pavlova is either from Australia or New Zealand, and apparently the debate can get fairly heated. In my case, it’s an easy decision: I’ve already written about New Zealand, so Australia it is.
Momofuku is probably an odd choice to represent Australia, but it turns out that pavlova is not an easy dessert to find. I think the Noodle Bar is one of the few restaurants in the GTA to serve it — and even there, you’re not guaranteed to find it on the menu.
Well, if you see it, order it; it’s delicious.
It’s a very simple dessert. Traditionally, pavlova is just fruit, meringue, and whipped cream. The version at Momofuku subs out the cream for lemon curd, which you’d think wouldn’t work — but it totally works (to be fair, this was my first time trying pavlova, so I have nothing to compare it to).
The meringue is great — it’s lightly crispy on the outside, with a soft, slightly marshmallowy interior. The fruit in this particular version is blood orange, which is sweet and slightly tart. Combined with the lemon curd, it might have been too much of a citrusy bite, but the sweet meringue balances it out perfectly. It’s delightful.
Location: 268 Howland Avenue, Toronto
I’ll bet you didn’t know how multicultural pancakes are. Check out their entry on Wikipedia; apparently about half of the countries in the world have their own variation on pancakes, which have been a staple at least since the time of the ancient Greeks.
And, yes, apparently Finland is one of the many pancake-loving countries out there. Their take — at least based on what Fanny Chadwick’s is serving up — is kind of like a crepe, only thicker and with a more substantial chew. Topped with a mango passion fruit compote, lightly sweetened ricotta and a bit of honey, and rolled up into dense, multi-layered rolls, they make for a hearty, satisfying breakfast.
The compote adds a nice balance of sweet and tart, with the blob of creamy ricotta on top rounding things out. The honey is sparingly applied, so if you like your breakfast to be closer to dessert, you’d be best advised to look elsewhere.
I found it a bit too eggy both in texture and taste, but then I’m not crazy about things that are eggy that aren’t eggs (I’m indifferent to French toast for the same reason). Despite that, however, I still quite enjoyed these pancakes.
You have a few choices for the side, but I went with the smoked fish, thinking that it was probably the most authentically Finnish. I think it was salmon, but don’t quote me on that. It was really, really good — perfectly tender, with a pronounced smoky flavour that didn’t overwhelm. It was hot smoked rather than cold, so it had the flavour of traditional smoked salmon, but the texture of perfectly cooked fish. It was great.