Monday, January 28, 2013

Not Like Nilus

I couldn’t help but lament to Joey about our city’s saturated cafe market. It seems lately no matter where we find ourselves, there’s one on every corner, staring us brazenly in the face, knowing they can strong arm any spot their owners feel like paying for. Day by day, I feel myself urged more and more to crowd multiple pastry shops, bakeries, or cafeterias into one review, feeling that their differences don’t really matter. If the height of my grief seems too aweless, likening the café as the English student of the restaurant world might be offensive enough to make you understand. I won’t say that when someone’s at a culinary impasse they decide to open a café; but again, it sure does seem like there’re a lot of cafes with nothing spectacularly different about them.
My grief was at its height when Debrodnik’s Real Bake Company seemed like any other place. Another bakery or café in another plaza, bombed with illustrations on its windows advertising fresh sandwiches and what not. It too even holds up a little part of the aesthetic bargain. You can believe there’s a wall to sit against festooned with the fanciest decorative floral print wallpaper. You all know the next word I’m going to utter too: rococo. Luckily, it’s reserved to a single space. Beyond that is a more humble area with no spectacular colour schemes, just sandwich tables, pastry fridges, and playfully framed wall illustrations. Beyond that though, a spectacularly playful and spunky menu of simple, yet very creative sandwiches which, in hindsight, were carefully considered and work. How could a poutine sandwich not have been? Or a mini quiche in a bagel? If you’re reading this with any kind of my usual acrimony, please don’t, because Debrodnik’s is a fantastic change of pace. With meatball sandwiches, deep fried cinnamon buns, and proverbial black and white cookies, Debrodnik’s brings us workable comfort food, junk food, and good food. Yes, there are also fresh deli sandwiches. It’s an eight item menu, and I hope it never grows. It doesn’t have to, especially when it’s matched with some of the most creative pastries I’ve seen in a while.

Joey and I mowed down on a meatball sandwich and a gut busting poutine packed in a Kaiser, aptly named, ‘the Gut Buster.’ Weighing in at over one pound, a chewy Kaiser with an immaterial doughnut like sweetness was stuffed with fries, cheese curds, and more fries. Then, topped with gravy, it was carefully pressed together, ensuring its cheesy scaffolding would hold. And before you think something so carbo-loaded couldn’t work, guess again. Crispy fries, cheese curds that actually melted (in a poutine, heaven forbid), and spicy gravy matched the texture of a Kaiser that was buoyant and without all that flakiness we are always sadly expecting. Not here, however. Debrodnik’s creates a novelty sandwich that won’t be novelty for long; it’ll be Canon. 

Our Meatball sandwich was a close second. Crammed with roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, tomato sauce, and a meatball the size of a little girl’s fist, we couldn’t believe it stayed together, but the sandwich’s creator knew a thing or two about balance.

And if we weren’t comatose enough, we made sure we would be by the time we left, finishing our visit off with a raspberry mocha slice- a cake stacked with rich raspberry mouse, cake, mocha mousse, and a brownie like bottom. A little rich for our fat selves, with a mousse a little more jellied than we would have liked, but a creative ensemble nonetheless. Next was the choux pastry baked black and white cookie topped with, what else? Black and white frosting. Cake like, but with body, it reminded me of so many of the pastries my grandmother shoves in my face. But the deep fried cinnamon bun was the favourite of the bunch. With a crispy exterior cased around a soft chewy inner bread laden with cinnamon and sugar, and coated with a thick heavy frosting we had to stop and put it down, think of how good it was, and pick up where we left off.

Debrodnik’s is the kind of stuff we dream about, see on TV, hear about on cosmopolitan food trucks, but anchored in a locale we can always come to visit. A place I’m wishing I kept a secret, what with its inexpensive and great food. Food, as far as I’m concerned, that easily shames every other blazeh bakery around.

Debrodnik’s Fresh Bake Company
(519) 888-8378
220 King St North  
Waterloo, ON 

MON-SAT: 11-7


Debrodnik's Deli and Bakery on Urbanspoon


Carla White said...

And why do they all seem to be on King St. in Waterloo? Aside from some of the country bakeries I've visited, which do have distinguishing qualities, there are only two differences I've found in the KW ones: atmosphere - they're either rustic or fancy - and coffee flavour. But yeah, the baked goods themselves all seem very similar.

Deep fried cinnamon buns! This place is going on my list of places to visit.

weezee said...

There's no pretension here. It's an after thought- like, they figured they had to make it look approachable because people are shallow jerks. They don't even need it- da stuff's da bomb!