I am so glad I kept up with my Chinese, being able to speak Cantonese fluently and read has proven to be very useful! This Saturday, Ming Pao featured an article on the new food fad of CRONUT! (Chinese newspaper is a bit slow in catching on to the latest anything…Cronut was already all the rage a few months ago) . It started off in New York by the famed pastry chef Dominique Ansel who thought it would be a good idea to combine croissant and donut..hence cronut! (C: Vancouver also has a copycat of the cronut, the Frissant from The Swiss Bakery!)
The article featured cronuts made by the pastry chef, Kira Desmond, from The Secret Location. I am going to summarize what the article from Ming Pao said.
If you are not interested, pls jump! Kira previously spent a year mastering the dough for croissants so it wasn’t too hard for her to tweak the dough to make cronuts. She renamed her own creation as Kronut. Judging from the outside of a cronut, it cannot be mistaken as anything beside a donut. But once you bite into it, the texture is more like a croissant – flaky, airy and a bit of the chewy bread texture. Kira also filled the layers with chocolate sauce so it also taste a bit like a cream puff. The current two flavours being served are White chocolate Kronut with Whipped Ganache and Dark Chocolate Kronut with Whipped Ganache, both topped with chocolate sauce toffee. Kira emphasized that they only use top quality ingredients such as Manjari Chocolate. Kira predicted cronut would not be all the rage like macarons or cupcakes…
After reading that, of course I have to go give it a try! We walked in and The Secret Location is a swanky restaurant located in the heart of Gastown. The interior is mostly white with lots of clear or glass decoration. It is a lounge/restaurant type of place. Everything is just so clean and streamlined! I LOVE IT! (C: It is crazy white in here! I’ve actually been here briefly for the Hot Chocolate Festival earlier in the year – their bar top glows!)
We were seated when it was still brunch time (C: It apparently runs until 3pm!). I was starving so we decided to get a cronut and brunch! After giving us the menu, our waiter asked if we have any questions. The first thing we asked was if the cronut still available! Lucky for us, we snatched the last one!! THEN we started to look at the menu.We weren’t told what flavour it was, but I am sure it is the dark chocolate one.
That piece of toffee is so delicious! So soft and spongy but not overly sweet. ISN’T IT A BEAUTY TO LOOK AT? MAN, when I cut into it, SO CRISPY AND LIGHT! The knife sliced through it very easily in one swift motion. It really is the perfected combination of the donut and croissant – the heavy, cake-like texture is replaced by the light and flakiness of a croissant and the plain flavour of the croissant is enhanced by the sweet flavour you would find in a donut. (C: The chocolate was good and all, but I think the real focus should be on the amazing texture of the cronut. There is an amazingly crispy exterior that resembles the crunchy/crispy mini doughnuts found at fairs like the PNE. Once you bite into it, the crispy exterior melds into layers of flaky dough, reminiscent of a croissant. This seriously is the best of both worlds – it even has the perfect level of sweetness!)
See all the layers along with the filling within it? My mouth is watering as I am writing this. If only you can taste it for yourself. Picture is worth a thousand words hence I will save on the words. BUT YOU GOTTA TRY IT!
TIP: We asked the waiter, the restaurant makes only around 8-10 cronuts on a weekday and 10-15 on a weekend. With increased exposure and popularity, be warned that you might not be able to get one! (C: Although the waiter did mention that they may ramp up production if they see increase in demand. On the day we went, apparently one lady bought 5!)
Now that we finished dessert, we moved on to brunch. This is how C and I roll! Well, more like me, but he just rolls along ;p. Their brunch menu was simple but sophisticated. Chris opted for The Perfect Egg and I picked their seasonal quiche, which was BC wild mushrooms with garlic/black truffle oil.
(C: Q forgot to add this, but our meals included complimentary carrot cake fritters. I have no clue as to whether this is something everyone gets when having brunch, but I sure hope so because they were quite good!) Q: We got it because it took a very long time for our food to arrive! Our waiter said it is complementary of the chef
(C: It was slightly on the doughy side, but I just love the crispy exterior. It’s not the same kind of crispy like the cronut, rather, it’s more like an actual donut! It came with a vanilla marscapone cream cheese dip that was just amazing. We completely used up the dip!)
The presentation of the food was beautiful! I expected nothing less from this swanky looking restaurant with very European like service. C’s Perfect Egg is a stunner! It came with crumpet, BC smoked salmon and of course, two perfectly cooked eggs.
The eggs were beautiful. They are poached to perfection and in between two states of matters: solid and liquid. The surrounding egg white was a little runny, and one would imagine the egg yolk could burst any moment. I was quite suprirsed to see C able to spoon up the whole egg yolk! I will let him describe the dish for you!
(C: The poached eggs on this dish were probably one of the best I’ve ever had. Like Q said, the yolks are strangely in between solid and liquid – they’re still slightly runny but I can pick up almost the entire yolk using my fork. The consistency was amazing, as both eggs were poached to that level! The smoked salmon was delicious. Very good smoky flavour, albeit a bit on the salty side. This is balanced out by the fresh arugula and the crumpet. While the crumpet was a bit of a let down for being so….plain, it helped clean the palette as I took bites between the eggs and salmon/arugula as the tastes are quite contrasting. All in all, great dish!)
Me…The server had me when he said the seasonal quiche is of wild mushrooms with garlic and black truffle oil. Did that not sound like a fantastic combination? The dish itself totally lived up to my expectation as well!
The salad was lightly dressed with some of that garlic/truffle oil and it was very light and refreshing to eat alongside with the rich, delicious quiche. The crust of the quiche is made with phyllo dough. It is very flaky and flavourful…I am sure plenty of butter is added to achieve that. The content of the quiche is heavenly. The combination of wild mushrooms, garlic and truffle oil does not need any description. I ate the salad and at an unusually slow rate to savor the taste. To my surprise, the crust did not get soggy as time goes by. It was a very enjoyable meal. (C: The quiche was awesome! I’ve never had such a fantastic crust from a quiche before)
I would definitely make a trip back here to try out their other items! The service and food were very enjoyable and reminded me of being in the hip/trendy London dining. This place would be ideal for girls get together, date and big celebration!
(C: I never wrote up a post for the hot chocolate I had at Secret Location back in January for the Hot Chocolate Festival 2013, so I figure I might as well add it here as well! All the hot chocolates were really good. The Blonde Mystique was really good, but the Aphrodite was amazing. It was especially cool because the barista serves this hot chocolate by pouring it over a piece of decorative chocolate.
(C: There are a lot of mixed reviews out there for Secret Location. I think it’s the kind of place that you’ll either love or hate. I can’t say much about the dining service or what it’s like to hang out here late in the evening, but I found that the service was pretty good and the food was excellent. I hope you come out and see for yourself, because dining at Secret Location is a pretty neat experience.)