McEwan has opened its second location, a 5,500 square foot fine foods store in the TD Centre where the offerings include a handful of grocery items along with plenty of ready-to-eat options.
Those already familiar with the location at Don Mills will find this new place similar but much denser. McEwan has really tailored its inventory to its clientele in the PATH, offering all the essentials to survive office life.
Upfront the coffee counter pours espresso based drinks from Lavazza using a pod system that ensures consistency. There's also a display full of breakfast pastries, sandwiches, and doughnuts brought in from Von Doughnuts .
Further inside you'll find select bakery items including a pastry case stocked with birthday cakes from Rahier , Bobbette & Belle , and The Rolling Pin . Chocolates from Laura Slack and fresh cut flowers mean that celebrating birthdays, be it in the office, or after the work day just got easier.
At noon, the place is packed with those looking for lunch in a hurry. Not only are there snacks, juices, and prepared foods available throughout the store, but there are nine cash-out points so that no one wastes their precious breaks in line.
Grab-and-go options include sandwiches, sushi and a variety of salads ranging from classics like the kale caesar ($8.95) and Cobb ($11.95), to an edamame Napa salad ($8.95) and sriracha vegan tofu bowls ($7.95). These are substantial salads with weight to them, not just a base of greens decorated with all the good stuff, but rather thoughtful portions of protein and veg.
Less expected are the limited number of daily features including scallop crudo ($12.95), octopus salad ($12.95), and crab rangroon ($6.95), beautifully presented in take-away containers.
At the back of the store, you'll find a self-serve yogurt bar, salad bar, and hot table (a.k.a curry bar). Traffic is quite congested back here for good reason, the hot table presented in enamelled cookware is replenished frequently and the scent is enticing.
I fill up a small container ($2.59 for 100 grams) with biryani, butter chicken, pakoras, and samosa. There's even naan to swipe up every last bit of sauce.
At the end of the workday, the edited selection of grocery items aims to simplify dinners. There's fresh produce and even top cuts of vacuum sealed meats ready for take-home cooking, plus packages of prepared food like pasta and sauces, soups and mezze. Many of the prepared food recipes hail straight from Mark McEwan's other restaurants making it possible to eat from say, Fabbrica at home.
McEwan is only open on weekdays which firmly establishes it as an ally to office workers. They do catering too, so consider contacting them in advance for your next "lunch and learn" or when your office rallies after hours to meet a deadline.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.