Luscious Desserts is a refined little spot in Chinatown serving traditional Chinese sweets.
A calming reprieve from the crowdedness of Dundas, the cafe's wooden interior and exposed light bulb fixtures is not what you'd expect walking into what was once a Chinese herb store.
Located a flight of steps below street level, the restaurant is co-owned by Chinatown natives Wilson Liang and Brian Shew, along with head chef Dan Liu.
The trio wanted to bring a Markham-style nighttime dessert spot to downtown with modern decor (including artwork by local abstract artist Callen Schaub) and an elevated level of food presentation.
In that sense, they succeeded. Their golden sago ($6.99) is a beautifully plated dessert decorated with pomelo and full of mango chunks, coconut milk, syrup, and topped with a sprig of mint.
The house grass jelly ($10.99 for a large) is a beautiful bowl of colours and flavours. With two types of taro squares plus taro balls, yam, and red beans, this delicious dessert is sweet but still pretty healthy.
Your tray comes with a cute jar of coconut milk, which is meant to be poured over the melange to your desired consistency.
For something epic, steel yourself for the gigantic Treasure Toast ($13.99): a large chunk of honey bread topped with your choice of ice cream and slices of bananas and strawberries.
Add honey for extra sweetness and choose from vanilla, black sesame, green tea, strawberry, or mango ice cream.
Drizzled with chocolate, it also comes with edible dessert straws and a little whipped cream for dipping.
For a refreshing drink, the fresh fruit green tea ($6.99) can be ordered hot or cold. Lightly sweet – though not mixed in-house – it contains slices of strawberries, red and green apples and watermelon.
The standout dish is the sweet soup sampler ($19.99) which comes on a spinning tray of five traditional sweet Chinese soups. It's a good order if you're with friends and want to try a bit of everything.
Made with rock sugar, which is a slightly healthier than regular refined white sugar, these soups are soothing and come with a fruit bowl in the centre.
My favourite is the walnut soup, blended with rice to achieve a thick texture. The plain black sesame is a staple at most Chinese dessert places, as is the red bean soup.
Almond with black sesame is a mixture of flavours, and the black gluten rice with coconut milk is a tasty combination. You also can order any of these sweet soups alone for anywhere between $4.99 and $5.99.
A popular gimmick at Markham restaurants is the fried food Ferris wheel ($15.99), and Luscious Desserts is quick to hop on the wagon.
Their options include onion rings, sweet potato fries, spring rolls, coconut shrimp, and fish balls.
As far as dessert spot fried foods go, these were above average, and were accompanied with ketchup, Thai chilli and spicy mayo sauces.
An absolute must-try at this cafe is the unique walnut smoothie ($6.99) with Kelloggs corn flakes, a savoury beverage of blended walnuts with a layer of your childhood cereal in the middle to add some texture.