Café de Paris may invoke images of a French bistro overlooking L’arc de Triomphe, but in reality, it’s the newest franchise for a South Korean-based chain of dessert shops. With locations in Korea, China, and Hong Kong, Scarborough netted the first Canadian franchise four months ago, with this second location at Yonge and Sheppard having just opened a few weeks ago.
With a theme and design that evokes the age-old cliché of imitation is the finest form of flattery, Café de Paris locations all feature the same iconic logo and branding – blue signs with italic fonts, an all-white interior with wainscoting on the walls, miniature Eiffel Towers and, in case there was still any lingering doubt, tiny French flags decorating the top of each creation.
While the Scarborough location features cushy couches and artful murals, the compact Yonge and Sheppard spot is dotted with high tops and a few four-tops. And in place of colourful murals, there are quirky product shots embellishing the white walls.
While some of the Korea area locations may serve steak and fine French wines, Canadian outposts aren’t licensed. Here the main draw is the BonBon Series, a drink/dessert combo that is not only near impossible to finish but hard to swallow too – coming in at a choke-worthy $12.99 (and up) a drink.
The drinks are a layered concoction of iced fruit squishy – think a fruity Slurpee base, with artfully and seemingly architecturally arranged sliced fruit lining the clear plastic cup. Like a mega-sized parfait, each “drink” comes with a generous amount of fruit, resting in between layers of whipped cream and icing sugar often with fresh fruit teetering on the edge of the bubble tea-sized cup.
Flavours are seasonal and often sell out. Strawberry, Mango, Raspberry and Cherry were all on offer, with their newest flavour White Grape just being rolled out. The drinks conjure up another well-abused cliché: too much of a good thing. The portion size is better suited for at least two (non-diabetic) people and with no posted calorie amounts, it’s anyone’s guess if this qualifies for dinner and dessert in one massive intake.
There’s no arguing with the taste, though. Fresh fruit, whipped cream, and icing sugar are a fruity trifecta, but ideally, a smaller size would be a vast improvement.
To top it all off, these fruit pyramids take time to build. Thankfully it wasn’t busy during our visit, but our BonBon still took over 10 minutes to make – they cut the fruit to order ensuring the highest quality produce (yes!) but also the longest wait times (boo). McDonald’s it ain’t!
Juices, teas and Dutch style coffees and lattes round out the drinks menu. For those new to Dutch brewing methods, it’s similar to cold brewing – using cold water to seep through freshly ground coffee beans for anywhere between 3-12 hours. The coffee maker looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in a science lab, forcing cold water through an intricate process that guarantees a complex and robust brew. Dutch Coffee will set you back $1.79, where a Dutch Latte costs $3.19. Teas run $2.80 per cup, mostly floral and fruity arrangements with some rooibos blends to bolster the list.
Baked goods like macarons or the Matcha Cream Puff ($3.99) add some sustenance to the all liquid menu, but the main draw here is definitely the BonBon drinks.
Expect not one, but two more locations of Café de Paris to crop up this year – word on the street is downtown and Markham will be the next sites.
Have you been to Café de Paris yet? What did you think? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.