It seems that everyone knows about Le Gourmand. It is a focal point for folks meeting around Spadina and Richmond / Queen. We also go there once in a while for a great atmosphere and yummy baked goods.
NOSE & SWIRL
Le Gourmand had a bit of a communal feel to it with its main traffic area covered in tiles and warm coloured wood in the middle of the large hall. There are some high chairs and a lot of small tables to choose from. When surveying the tables, we discovered small Victorian metal details.
To set us in the right mood, light rock was playing in the background (Elton, Eagles, and other upbeat ones). Our challenge was to actually concentrate on choosing what we want - Le Gourmand praises itself for also being a store of gourmet food and all the shelves were lined with exotic tins and packages. We noticed some beans, chocolates and original oils. To accompany the food selection, old classic posters and signs covered one of the walls.
This time we got their Almond Financier and a much praised Chocolate Chunk Cookie. By the way, there are plenty of breakfast items, sandwiches and salads to choose from. We found it strange that these chalk boards were on the end wall, a wall you can fully read once you have ordered.
The almond treat was like a baked vanilla custard with a delightful chewy crust. Not too sweat, slightly grainy and very pleasant to palate. As far as the cookie went, it did feel home made - bready, uniquely shaped with a hint of burnt grease. For our drinks, we asked for London Fog and a regular Earl Grey. The barista made our specialty tea just the right sweetness with some foamy milk froth on the top. Le Gourmand option of London Fog was, in our opinion, significantly better than Starbucks edition of the same.
We read an interesting note on their website with regard to franchising - Le Gourmand does not believe in it - they are open to partnerships as far as food retailing goes, but are not up for expansion in a franchise manner. An interesting approach, we thought.