Have you ever wanted to visit France? Trick question because, who hasn’t? Mama’s Patisserie is a slice of Paris tucked into a corner of ABC Place. ABC has grown from a kind of dumpy square to a nice destination for an array of cuisines. Now you have all sorts of dining options: Caramel (contemporary American), Sevens (premier seafood), Mama’s (French bistro), Zucchini (quick serve), Java House (American) and 360 Degrees Pizza (authentic Italian).
One of my best friends Natasha Khan is the manager at Mama’s and when she realized I had never eaten there, she invited Jacquie and me over for lunch. Mama’s is a brightly decorated cafe that draws you in as soon as you walk through the door. The walls are covered in iconic paintings and the contemporary decor is a tasteful splash of colour against black accented pieces.
As I walked into Mama’s I was greeted by smiling faces and a glorious display of delectable looking pastries. It was hard not to get side tracked and order a sampling of each pastry as opposed to a “proper” lunch.
I was joined for lunch by Natasha, Jacquie, and Chan who happened to be in the neighborhood. If you don’t know already, Jacquie is a talented photographer who helps me capture these beautiful images of restaurants and food, and Chan is my bestie for life. Before I ordered, I had to ask Natasha what the most popular menu item was and upon her recommendation ordered the french dip sandwich. The french dip sandwich is made of caramelized onions, grilled fillet, aioli topped with cheese and served with a side of jus and salad. Chan ordered the tagliatelle pasta tossed in a creamy pesto, and Jacquie ordered the chicken florentine.
To be honest, when my sandwich came out I was a little disappointed…. It didn’t look as I had expected it to. The sandwich seemed underwhelming like there was more bread than filling.
Then I took a bite.
A delicious balance of sweet caramelized onions and perfectly grilled steak danced in my mouth. I guess that’s the beauty of French cooking, a few simple unmasked ingredients creating a decadently finished dish. The jus was definitely the star of the dish, adding moisture and salt to the sandwich.
I don’t think any words were exchanged for a solid five minutes after the food came out. We each silently savoured our meals as we watched other hungry customers walk in for lunch. I was surprised by Mama’s popularity as a lunch destination. I wouldn’t have imagined they got that much foot traffic. Natasha explained that lunch was the busiest time of day for them, employees from the surrounding offices frequent Mama’s as well as ABC shoppers.
To Jacquie’s dismay, I devoured my sandwich before she had a chance to get some good shots of it. I apologized claiming it was an accident but in actuality it was an opportunity for me to try her chicken florentine which I might add, was equally as tasty.
Although I visited Mama’s for lunch, it’s a popular destination for brunch too! And if you know me, you know I’m a brunch fanatic. Mama’s brunch menu is filled with delicious French-inspired meals like mocha crepes, eggs benedict served on a croissant, a variety of omelettes and an array of coffees. Natasha, if you’re reading this, I’m coming back for brunch ASAP.
If you’re craving something a little different and looking to get a taste of France, Mama’s is the place to be. Maybe I’ll catch you there for brunch!
Until next time, bon appetit!
All photos courtesy of J. Mwai Photography