Vancouver’s own PappaRoti Cafe first opened up shop on the corner of Robson and Nicola street a few weeks ago. There are a few well known places in Vancouver that makes these type of ‘Coffee Buns’ – The Coffee Bun Bakery by Lonsdale and Bonchaz are a couple of places that pop up off the top of my head. PappaRoti, however, is a much bigger chain. It has over 400 locations world wide, and the Vancouver location is the first of its kind in North America.
Walking by on a sunny day, we were excited to see plenty of bustling activity by PappaRoti Cafe. (Q: because we never go to this area! We just happened to be in the neighbourhood to check out Oollo Tea)
I don’t quite remember what was in this space before PappaRoti Cafe, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t look as snazzy as it does now. Clean design that combines modern and classic, the Robson PappaRoti Cafe manages to look fantastic without adopting the popular hipster-style decor (Q: thank goodness. We have enough of hipster like coffee shops here…). There’s plenty of space, and the feel of PappaRoti is definitely more on the cafe end of the coffee-shop cafe spectrum.
Q and I ended up taking a seat in the back corner of the store, which I really liked! (Q: the sofa like chairs sure are comfy!)
They have a couple of ovens up in the front to pop out some fresh Roti. I think they make the majority of them in the back. Having some ovens out in the front really permeates the entire store with that nice decadent fresh PappaRoti coffee bun aroma!
PappaRoti serves one classic bun and, for an additional price, you can choose your own toppings or go with a pre-established combo. What good is a coffee bun without coffee? PappaRoti serves up three different blends of coffee sourced by Vancouver’s own JJ Bean coffee roasters.
Q and I decided to get a coffee bun each! We got one original bun and one Banana and Nutella combo. We had our dose of caffeine already, so we decided to just stick with coffee buns.
Touted as the “father of all buns” the PappaRoti was developed by a mother in Malaysia who decided to change up the traditional Roti recipe. Each bun is twice baked and coated with caramel coffee cream topping during the baking process. (Q: doesn’t the look itself look enticing?)
The attention to detail is fantastic – every PappaRoti looks beautiful. (Q: eat with your eyes first! Actually, nose..because the aroma of the bun is just heavenly. Especially when a new batch comes out of the oven…OH MY)
The coffee bun is exactly as described on their website – a perfect mix of salty and sweet. Crispy on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside, the PappaRoti coffee bun is the kind of bun you’d forsake the use of utensils to eat. I tried the knife and fork thing briefly, and decided that this coffee bun should be enjoyed like Roti – using your hands. I did use the knife to butter on some Nutella though. (Q: it was just perfect balance of bun. I LOVE IT. It is so crispy and light on the outer layer. The saltiness is there but just to enhance the fluffy, sweet bun to follow. There is custard/cream but not like a cream puff. The amount of cream in there is small but it is enough to spread inside and coat each bite. Unlike C, I find it so much more satisfying to eat with utensil. Cutting into that crispy shell is quite the experience. Using the fork and knife also helped adjust how much cream I wanted in each bite.)
I was a tad disappointed that the Nutella and banana wasn’t incorporated into or on the bun in a more creative fashion, but Nutella made this bun ridiculously good. Seriously, get it with Nutella! Next time I will be trying out the cream cheese! (Q: for $4.90, it is not really worth the combo I think. Getting the bun on its own suffice. Nutella enhanced it but not necessary I think.)