This little East York bakery has lots to try — including seasonal treats and secret specials
Mon K Patisserie is at 1040 Coxwell Ave. in East York
- During COVID-19, this restaurant is offering only takeout service.
Suresh Doss: I'm a big fan of pastry — savoury or sweet, all kinds. I mean, there's something about finely-layered pastry dough created with an obscene amount of butter. Even a simple croissant can be an instant cure for me if I'm having a bad day. It's just pure indulgence and physical satisfaction. You know, from the moment I tear into it, visually, and into that last crumbly bite.
Jill Dempsey: And you go to great lengths to find good pastry.
Yes, I will drive around for good pastry. We've become a city of great bakeries.
So if you're going to talk about the best croissant, which is from a bakery not too far from you, right? Which is a bonus.
One of the standouts from that tasting is this bakery in East York. It's a very small place run by a Japanese couple, Naomi and Ryosuke Kita. It opened about seven years ago on Coxwell Avenue by O'Connor, and it's called mon K Patisserie. The pastries there was just so impressive beyond just the cuisine. So I really wanted to come back to this place.
So my producer brought me in a mon K croissant. I'm kind of working my way through it. Tell me a little bit more about it.
There's a serious amount of talent in the shop. So Ryosuke used to be the original chef at the famous Celestin Restaurant in Mount Pleasant many, many years ago. This was a beautiful French restaurant that was known for brunch. And at the same time, he was moonlighting as the pastry chef at Thobors, which is another well-known bakery in Toronto. So his pedigree is hot.
And seven years ago, because they live nearby, they decided to open little mon K. And to quote Naomi, she says that they've always tried to keep it off the radar as much as possible. But soon enough, they got this loyal, incredibly loyal following from people in the area. Naomi says Japanese-American tourists will come and visit as well.
What's so special about it?
This is the kind of place that will completely blanket your senses from the moment you open the door. They cook everything daily and the kitchen's on full-tilt throughout the day. So all the comforting senses of a bakery: the baked bread, the sweet and nutty smells of brown butter and that perfume of stewed fruit in the air — it is totally sensory.
There are a few sections, and a few hidden secrets. But look, you can easily walk in there and pick up a fantastic $3 baguette if that's what you want. And next to it, there's a basket of croissants that are plain, or stuffed with chocolate and almond.
And next to that there is this beautiful display of seasonal fruit danishes and turnovers there are whole fruit tarts. There's a cherry one on the menu right now, which is just incredible. And there's a savoury section. You can get quiches — sliced quiches or a whole quiche — the bacon and cheese one is fantastic. And they have croissant sandwiches as well.
Now, what about those secret items?
OK, so Naomi said that I'm allowed to talk about mon K on one condition, and that is that I don't explicitly mention the secret items that they carry. I will say you should spend a few minutes and ask her what the specials are because they have a few daily specials. And if you are going on the weekend, you should get the beignets. They're these tiny little beignets stuffed with fruit filling. This goes back to Ryosuke's time at Thobors. Trust me, they are sublime.
Wow. Now you mentioned that Japanese-American tourists will make a point to visit this place, even though it's not exactly in a touristy part of town. Why do they make the trip?
It feels like a French pastry shop. But they also do a lot of cakes that are kind of reminiscent of this hybrid French-Japanese style of cakes you'll find throughout Japan. So there are these tiny, small sort of shortcakes layered with fruit. There's a wonderful mini super souffle cheesecake that they make as well there that's popular. And there is this passion mango milk cake that they make with chocolate mousse that everyone orders. So there's a little section dedicated to these unique style cakes. Like I said, in a small place, there's a lot to try.
What's it meant to have this in your neighbourhood as a local spot?
So as you know, food is a great escape for me, especially with this year where there have been some really challenging days. Even if it's just a walk to get some fresh air accompanied by a croissant in my hand, that's really made a difference. So for me, mon K is more than just a bakery. It's a place that has provided much needed respite this year for me.
And also now what makes me really happy is that our son, Nolan, he's taken a liking to their plain croissant. Nothing makes me happier than getting to share a little bit of that intelligence with him. I'll tear off small pieces as we're walking and watch him kind of glow and giggle as he enjoys it.
You know, he's going to want the whole croissant, right? He's not going to want to share with you at a certain point.
Sooner rather than later.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For more of Suresh's picks, check out the map below.