simit and chair

Simit & Chai

Simit & Chai is a Turkish bakery and cafe where bagels and tea are the specialty. Owners John (Candeniz) and Dee (Duygu) Ulgen took over the King Street address that was formerly a hair salon and have transformed it into another kind of salon.

The charming cafe feels especially spacious thanks to the high ceilings and open kitchen.

Simit and Chai Toronto

The decor incorporates a mix of natural textures and mismatched furniture and feels like the perfect setting to get some work done (strategically placed electrical outlets seem to encourage this) or socialize over coffee and a couple matches of backgammon (boards provided).

Simit and Chai Toronto

As you might guess from the name, tea ($2-$2.50) was intended to be the main focus, though the rich Turkish coffee ($3.50), brewed in a cezve from beans sourced at Kensington Market's House of Spices , has also proved very popular.

Simit and Chai Toronto

When it comes to the assortment of edibles on offer, the husband and wife team have brought on baker Martha Solecka, though Dee comes from a line of Turkish bakers herself and the recipes are adapted from family recipes.

Simit and Chai Toronto

Simit, sold plain for $2 each or $10 for a half dozen, are the main attraction. The street style bagels of Istanbul are unlike the North American version; they're not boiled but rather coated in molasses and rolled in seeds before baking.

Simit and Chai Toronto

You can embrace that sweetness and have them slathered with Nutella ($3.50), or alternately go the contrasting route and order a sandwich with cream cheese and black olive paste ($3.50).

Simit and Chai Toronto

Aside from bagels, there's a lineup of tiny tea sandwiches priced to encourage consuming multiples in a single sitting.

Simit and Chai Toronto

Classic Turkish breakfast sandwiches topped with asiago and olive paste or sliced tomato with thick slabs of feta and sprigs of fresh lemon thyme sell for just $2.25 each.

Simit and Chai Toronto

The pastrami with fava bean paste ($4) is a standout for me, but there's also prosciutto with hummus ($4) and cream cheese with smoked salmon, chives and dill ($4).

Simit and Chai Toronto

The assortment of fresh baked goods includes brownies ($3.50), cheesecake ($5) and muffins ($3.50) in flavours like fig and walnut, white poppy seed, and vegan zucchini studded with walnuts.

simit and chair

This authentic Turkish cafe has already won over King West locals and become a destination for Turkish expats and dignitaries visiting from the consulate.

Simit and Chai Toronto

Photos by Hector Vasquez.


Simit & Chai

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Simit & Chai

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