Cozy Cafe & Bakery
Cozy Cafe & Bakery at Danforth and Woodbine has potential to grow neighbourhood roots but it really needs to de-emphasize the cafe portion of its name because it's the bake goods that are worth coming here for.
Upon entering, the first thing I note is art by Toronto portrait artist Julie Himel decorating the otherwise bland walls and hand-sewn coffee harvesting bags covering the ceiling. I can see a certain demographic being attracted to this, um, down-to-earth aesthetic, but personally I don't see the cozy here.
To Cozy Bakery's benefit, the pastry case is brimming with baking. But to its demise, the potpourri selection of "European" baking is offsetting with everything from baklava and croissants to tiramisu available. Perhaps a clearer focus is advisable.
After consideration, I settle on a drip coffee ($1.50) and spanakopita (sm $3.00/lg $5.00) to start. The coffee is a mild roast with little flavour or body, perhaps a result of too much water filtered through the grinds. To my disappointment, the spanakopita is also lacklustre. The phyllo pastry is greasy and tough with a rubbery quality while the filling is unfortunately still cold despite the pleasant server's initiative to warm the savoury pie.
Although baking is the focus here, there are a number of other hot lunch items available including schnitzel, meat pie, a daily soup/sandwich and more.
To appease my sweettooth, I try the cinnamon roll with raisins ($1.00 for one/ $5.00 for six) and am pleased by the bun's light texture, not-too-sweet icing and the perfect heavy handed sprinkle of cinnamon. When I ask for an espresso to accompany my bun, I'm informed the only beverages available are coffee, tea, pop and bottled juice.
The cafe also has a few other bits and pieces including a popular catering service. There are frozen soups and shepherd's pies available in a freezer at the back of the store. And, next to said freezer, is a shelf featuring day-old baking at reduced prices.
Before leaving, I buy a loaf of multigrain bread ($3.50) to take home. The loaf has a golden, crunchy crust with an airy interior. A saving grace for a bakery that could still use a bit of refinement.
Writing by Carl Hienh. Photos by Dennis Marciniak