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Baked Goods

Absolute Bakery

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 7, 2012

Absolute BakeryAbsolute Bakery and Cafe has been a quiet Cabbagetown favourite for French and Sri Lankan baked good for years. The bakery is one of those modest mom and pop operations with minimal frills and dated-looking signage. Frankly, it's plain, but the sweet and savoury treats are not — at least by reputation.

Absolute BakeryBefore I go on, I should say that I think I caught Absolute on an off day. It was my first visit to the bakery and cafe though it did not exactly impress, I do know that many Cabbagetown locals are fervently loyal to the unassuming bakery. Sometimes things jive, sometimes they don't, and unfortunately, my experience was in line with the latter.

Absolute BakeryAbsolute starts its selling right from the front window. Where you might expect to find window seating or something of that nature, the bakery boasts its challahs, buns, and other breads to entice hungry passersby. The space is actually all grab-and-go (hence, no seating) with just a narrow aisle along which customers can assemble.

Absolute BakeryI stop by the shop on a rainy afternoon, hoping to be able to chat with the Rajendrans, Absolute's owners. The young girl at the counter escapes to the back and I see her convening with a man who I assume is Mr. Rajendran. He lingers, watching, while the girl informs me that the owner is busy and not available to talk. I'm not too put off, especially since I understand Mrs. Rajendran to be the more outgoing one of the pair, but the eyes on the back of my head don't exactly come off as friendly.

Absolute BakerySince the girl, too, is reluctant to chat, I instead take in the spread, which includes everything from whole pies, croissants, and mousse cakes (on the French end), and Sri Lankan specialties such as fish buns and roti. I am able to glean that everything is made from scratch on site, using the couple's family recipes and general experience in the biz. I'm tempted to go for the roti, but craving something sweet (and watching a pan of immaculate meringue emerge from the kitchen) I opt for that instead.

Absolute BakeryThe meringue is pretty huge for a cookie (bigger than my palm), which seems to justify the $2 price tag. The shell is crisp and glistening, but a bite reveals that the inside is still quite wet and soggy. To be fair, I know meringue can be quite finicky, especially in humid weather, but I was a little disappointed nonetheless. Absolute Bakery didn't impress my first time around, though if I take its Cabbagetown followers at their word, I'm inclined to give this bakery another shot.

Additional Photos:

Absolute BakeryAbsolute BakeryAbsolute BakeryPhotos by Natta Summerky



Justin Nance / February 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm
This is the BEST bakery in Toronto hands down!!!!! Everything is fresh and delicious. The owner and staff are friendly and their service is top shelf.
BobbyJo / February 9, 2012 at 06:51 pm
I have been singing the praises of this bakery for ages now. The cheese danish is to die for but so is the poppyseed danish. They have great bread, excellent quiche and I can't even think about these sweet pretzel-like things they make with a flaky crust and some kind of filling inside. Just thinking about them makes me want one.
G / May 7, 2012 at 01:43 pm
I don't live in this part of town but stumbled upon Absolute a couple weeks ago. The meringue was the best I've had in this country with just the right amount of chewiness inside -- highly recommended. Don't waste your time on the cookies; the chocolate chip one was hard and unremarkable. The girl serving customers was notably unfriendly to my friends and me. I don't demand service with a smile but she was practically glaring.
Barb C / May 7, 2012 at 04:25 pm
I used to be a big fan of Absolute, especially since there are so few real bakeries in the area. But it's rather hit-and-miss and I've learned just to buy certain products like all the different kinds of bread, samosas, danishes, and flaky pastries, which are wonderful. The meringues look fabulous, but are hugely disappointing inside, as is the meringue on their lemon meringue pie. This is one bakery that just doesn't get meringue. Their pies are ok, but not worth the steep prices. I've never had anything but friendly service, the glaring girl must be new. Someone should tell them before they start to lose business.
Jannyd / May 8, 2012 at 08:07 am
I love Absolute - especially the bread and the chocolate Danishes. Mmmm.

Also, I'm surprised you posted a review based on one tiny meringue.
Sheila / May 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm
I find the challahs and poppy seed buns better than any I used to get on Bathurst Street.
Clare / May 11, 2012 at 09:52 pm
I love this place - the pastries are delicious!
The owners are very friendly too.
Hanna / May 19, 2012 at 01:04 am
I adore this bakery! They have the best pies. I think the crust is made out of shortbread or something... I'm not usually a fan of pie crusts, but they make it so rich and buttery. Also, the guy who bakes the pies (or was baking them the other day when I went in) was so passionate about them. I found it really touching, as you don't see that kind of thing every day. Someone who genuinely loves their job? Yeah, it made my enjoyment of the pie that much more.
mike / February 22, 2013 at 07:22 am
I have not tried this bakery's Western offerings however their Sri Lankan roti and baked buns are fantastic and at around $2 a pop are a steal. A little bit spicy with nice punchy flavours, I've tried the potato and the fish and would recommend both.
Isabelle / November 30, 2014 at 05:40 pm
I tried the potato and chicken rotis today. They're tiny and I've had much better elsewhere. There was a long hair in one of them, and when I went back to show the lady at the counter, she just handed me another one, no apology. Won't be returning to the shop.
Susana / May 6, 2015 at 01:40 pm
Best veg rotis in all of Toronto! And now they are baking vegetarian turnovers!!! Definitely one of the cities not-so-hidden mom & pop bakery gems.
Helen / August 13, 2015 at 06:11 pm
Dear Robyn
A true European meringue is supposed to be a little hard on the outside (not stone hard and crumbling) and soft and chewy inside) like the Italian and Jewish fresh almond cookies. These meringues are impossible to find in Toronto but are available in Europe ( Venice, Moscow, etc),
Ryu / August 30, 2015 at 12:26 am
Love the danishes...
Challah bread is also good...

Stay away from:
1. the pies: they are often overbaked. Tried a pecan pie once...Crust was burnt. Never again :(

2. Whole Wheat and White loaves are too light ...almost without substance.

3. the croissants: Too heavy and greasy. They also taste like danish dough! I think they make croissants with leftover danish dough...NOT GOOD.

Bottom Line: Pick up a coffee at Tim Hortons, then scoop up a danish on the way to work.

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