Armed with a Google Map, a rented car and our voracious appetites, Denise, Denise’s significant other, and I set out on an expedition to discover what we could eat in Toronto’s suburbs.
Our first stop was Wooffles and Cream, in New Kennedy Square Mall. We arrived shortly before it opened, and following a tip from a friend, took a walk down to Soya Street, a small shop selling freshly made soy milk in a variety of flavours, and fresh dau fu fa. We were seriously hungry at this point, having skipped breakfast, so we couldn’t resist the roasted barley flavoured soy milk, and the black sesame dau fu fa.
Still ravenous, we made our way back to Wooffles and Cream, and put in an order of Hong Kong egg waffle with lapchang (Chinese sausage) and seaweed, with green tea and vanilla twist ice cream on the side. The waffle was pretty tasty, and the addition of lapchang and seaweed was a nice counterpoint to the sweet ice cream (yes, we ate them together and it was delicious). One caveat: while we were served promptly this time, Wooffles and Cream had a one-hour wait the last time we were there. There’s no food on the planet I’d wait an hour for and this is no exception. Go at an odd time if you can, or if you don’t mind waiting, stop in at Soya Street, or any of the other restaurants in the mall first.
Our next stop was New Quality Bakery, to try out some Sri Lankan short eats. If there’s one reason to eat in Toronto’s suburbs, it’s the sheer breadth of cuisine you can find, frequently in one strip mall. Case in point, the reason I know about New Quality Bakery is that the same strip mall houses Patisserie Royale, the best place in Toronto to get Syrian/Lebanese baklava (and cheese kunafeh, if you’re there in the morning).
New Quality Bakery turned out to be a treasure trove of insanely cheap, fantastically tasty deep fried foods. $8 later, we walked out of there with a bag of five veggie samosas, 6 mutton rolls, some doughy things I never identified, fish pastries, and a bunch of free stuff thrown in for good measure. Unbelievably, the only failure of the lot was the doughy thing, and that’s probably down to the fact that it was cold.
The mutton rolls were fresh from the fryer, enhancing the deep, satisfyingly rich flavour, while the samosas were a personal favourite, mildly spicy and flavourful throughout.
Given that we were across the parking lot from Patisserie Royale, it would have been a shame to miss out on some delicious baklava. I got a box to take home for my significant other (a certified baklava addict), while Denise chowed down on some swar on the spot.
The next stop was a short drive away, at A C R Hot Roti and Doubles, a Trinidadian place that serves exactly what it says in the title. Service here is indifferent at best, but the doubles are hard to beat.
Doubles are a kind of sandwich, with two pieces of fried bread around channa, a chickpea curry. I’ll be the first to admit that they don’t photograph well, but the flavour more than makes up for it. Be warned: They’re not kidding about the spice levels, so ask for mild if you can’t handle spicy.
The final stop of the day was Aragvi, a Georgian restaurant (the country, not the state), where we were joined by another friend. We took the opportunity of an extra eater to order more food, and ended up with three kinds of khatchapuri (cheese bread), and the grilled house made lamb sausages.
We came to Aragvi because I had been informed that the khatchapuri was superior to the last Georgian restaurant we tried, but I didn’t find that to be the case. That said, it was still delicious, and the lamb sausages were a welcome addition. Even more welcome was the side salad, since it constituted our first portion of vegetables for the day. The potatoes were a standout, and I’m planning a return trip to find out how they made them.
If you’d like to follow this food tour, I’d recommend splitting it into two days, since the first four places are in the east end and within reasonable driving distance of each other. Break up your east end food frenzy with a stop at Pacific Mall to walk off some of those delicious calories.
Aragvi is not only on the other side of the city, but is also a sit-down restaurant (though they do offer takeout). Instead of a food tour, I recommend you pair it with Seoul Zimzilbang, a Korean sauna that’s a short drive away, so you can sweat off the calories. If you’re in the mood for dessert instead, try out Duo Patisserie and tell me how it goes; we haven’t made it there yet.
Wooffles and Cream, 8360 Kennedy Road, Unit 81, Markham (inside New Kennedy Square Mall)
Soya Street, 8360 Kennedy Road, Markham (inside New Kennedy Square Mall)
New Quality Bakery, 1415 Kennedy Road, Toronto
Patisserie Royale, 1415 Kennedy Road, Unit 26, Toronto
A C R Hot Roti and Doubles, 2680 Lawrence Avenue E, Toronto
Aragvi Restaurant, 2006 Highway 7, Toronto