AF Home Bakery
AF Home Bakery is a small, but sufficient bakery on the western tip of Islington Village. It's tiny and has a limited selection, but everything is homemade, right on the other side of the counter. I like that you can see the bakers hard at work and it fills the small shop with the sweet scent of sugar and flour.
But, I can see that it's only a kitchen, and the two women flattening dough and dusting pans must be working hard to fill the trays with cookies, squares and buns.
I didn't find the latest trendy cupcake or overdecorated cookie inside. Rather, the store is filled with sensible and well-priced breads, plus a small cooler of eastern European cakes, squares and other desserts.
Having grown up on the overstuffed grocery store bakeries, I was initially disappointed by the selection of breads. The shelves weren't exactly overflowing with product and instead only had a few of each item, either in baskets or wrapped in paper.
But, I was quickly won over by the prices - - how could I go wrong with bread sticks for .69 cents that are almost a foot long? The loaves of bread are also freshly made and available in white for $2.79 or whole wheat with rosemary for $2.49.
The drink selection is quite minimal as they only have a small selection of cold drinks and water. But this also fits in with the "all business" attitude of the bakery.
The only aspect of the bakery that doesn't fit in with this theme was the very friendly clerk behind the counter who put my cannoli order into a box. I couldn't even make it out of the bakery without trying one and I'm glad I didn't. The cannoli (.99 cents each) are sweet, creamy and the pastry still crisp and just a little flakey.
I was also struck by how delicious the different linzer tortes ($2.49 each) looked. The ones in AF Home Bakery are individual sized and filled with a really strong, but delectably thick raspberry jam. They often have samples available, so I was sure to try as many items as possible before I loaded up my to-go container.
This is a clear-cut European bakery as the cooler of baked goods also contains some pretty tempting walnut kifli ($2.49), a traditional eastern European yeast bread rolled into something resembling a croissant, but with a lot less puff and a lot more yeast.
I was also drawn to the layered burek ($5.49) which in AF Home Bakery isn't filled with any cheese or meats, like some Ottoman bureks, nor is it light or overly fluffy. Rather it's a heavily layered bread that is quite salty, like a pretzel and buttery, like a dough.
Although there are a few tables inside and outside the small bakery, this isn't really the place for lunch, or even a snack. It's also far enough off the beaten path that it will be hard to stumble across on foot. Plus, Google maps lied to me and said it was significantly further west on Dundas and much closer to Kipling subway station than it actually is. But, next time I am out in Etobicoke and need some quality, dependable desserts for any occasion, I will make sure to give myself enough time to hop into AF Home Bakery.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak