Maman is a bakery cafe on the mezzanine of First Canadian Place that occupies an enclosed space in the upper level food court. The bakery is the second of its kind from co-owners, Benjamin Sormonte, Elisa Marshall, Michelin star chef Armand Arnal, Laure de la Moussaye, and Othman Kacimi - the first inhabits a sweet little shopfront in Manhattan .
Both locations aim to recreate the rustic feel of Southern France, but here in Toronto it aspires to be an idyllic escape from the Financial District's proverbial rat race without ever leaving the PATH.
At least on coffee breaks, lunch hour, and cinq a sept, the charming cafe offers a change of scenery that's sprouting with lavender, furnished with painted cabinetry, and decorated with antiques.
The counter displays trays of croissants, cakes on pedestals, and giant chocolate chip cookies. Espresso based drinks are brewed on a La Marzocco from beans imported from Toby's Estate, a roaster based in Williamsburg.
Other signature drinks include a frothy lavender infused hot chocolate, plus ice teas and lemonades.
At lunch there is a daily assortment of salads ($5.50 each, or two salads for $10.50), sandwiches ($6 to $8), quiches and savoury tarts ($6.50).
Features on today's menu include one sandwich crafted with prosciutto and roasted artichokes, while another, is layered with thick-carved ham and caramelized onions. Both are built on house-baked baguettes - it's hard to go wrong.
If you're not in a rush to get back to the office, take a seat at the long communal table inside Maman, or one of the many tables just outside its doors in the food court, or on the patio.
If you are in a rush, consider grabbing some provisions to take back to your desk for later; there's prepackaged snacks like bags of chocolate dipped potato chips, pretzels and caramels.
Maman primarily caters to the offices in the neighbourhood, and is only open on weekdays, though makes itself available for private parties and events on weekends.
Photos by Jesse Milns