With the proliferation of coffee shops and cafes littering the whole of the GVRD, it is often difficult to find something different. Even if we ignore the big boys like Starbucks and Blenz (in addition to many other chains), there is still a jungle of shops to wade through. So how does a lil' new and understated cafe on Renfrew set itself apart? Why not serve hand-made pies made with local, natural and mostly organic ingredients along with Elysian coffee? Oh and on top of that, throw in a few with some Asian influences.
Upon closer inspection, Renfrew Cafe is co-owned by Tyler Russell, formerly of Cafe For Contemporary Art. In fact, co-owner Shun Taguchi is from Caffe Artigiano. So maybe this lil' place has some solid roots... Anyways, I was invited to try a few of their creations along with a Cappuccino. Nicely prepared and presented, this was smooth and aromatic. For my first Pie, I tried the Matcha Mochi Anko Pie with a flaky and light pastry crust dusted with matcha and confectioners sugar. Inside, there was a pillowy soft layer of mochi which enveloped a semi-sweet red bean filling. I felt the flavours were quite balanced where I got a bit of bitterness offset with just the right amount of sweetness.
Next, I had the good ol' Classic Appie Pie which featured a much softer crust due to the amount of moisture. However, the edges were still flaky and light. Inside, the large chunks of apple were tender while not mushy. They were tart with only the slightest amount of sweetness while accented by a purposeful amount of cinnamon. Doing things backwards, I sampled the Beef and Kimchi Pie last. Flatter and larger, the pie crust was crisper and a touch more dense. Inside, the beef was sufficiently tender while mixed with an equal amount of slightly crunchy kimchi. I personally would've liked to see more spice and more salt in this as it was on the milder side. Overall, I was quite intrigued by their pies. I liked them and wanted to try more, but alas, being there by myself, I could not pull off a Mijune. That means I have to return for some more...
*All food and beverage were comped*
- Unique and generally appealing pies
- Yes, I was invited, but the people are friendly (in a natural manner)
- A bit on the expensive side