Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Restaurant Review: Lazy Daisy's Cafe

This cafe opened up on Danforth and Coxwell just over a week ago.  This corner is the beginning of Gerrard Bazaar or more colloquially, Little India.  The area is sorely lacking in family focused eateries with a middle income focus.  This strip needs a little life that will change the current trend of collected for lease signs interspersed with businesses that have not changed in a while.  It needs to serve the community that lives and works here while maintaining its roots.

There was a buzz and excitement that was created by the owner in a number of ways.  Firstly, it is one of the first few businesses in the area that is not focusing solely on South Asian culture or clientele.  Secondly, when it was being renovated, local people were invited to look inside and talk to the owner.  Facebook also played a huge part as updates about the pace of work going on and what the whole thing was about.  On the first day of school, Bowmore parents were given a free coffee at the school.  These are all ways of engaging community and more importantly potential customers.  People hope for success for things they like.  Look at the mania around the Toronto Maple Leafs every year as they begin the season.

The interior of the place plays heavily on the mix of cafeteria and rustic cottage with high gloss wooden tables with a hint of rough bark edges.  Wooden crates act as shelves holding preserves and pottery.  There is a train playtable in the corner that makes its clear who is the primary clientele.  It is an urban cottage by way of IKEA.  It looks like many shops and roadside restaurants along the highways of cottage country.

During some mornings, shell shocked young business people look surprised to see a small tumble of sub five year olds noisily playing.  Maybe the look is due to lack of sleep or due to the realization that a prime cafe embraces non paying customers in this way instead of acting as a office away from home.  Or maybe I just find the whole thing funny.

On the weekend, it was busy as it appeared that anybody with kids came in to try the affordable sandwiches and baked goods.  The sandwiches are made with bread from Knead Bakery, as are all the goodies.  The theme of the cafe is local first and they largely deliver.  The sandwiches that we tried included the "Wandering Ouef" and a cheese melt that contained a curry chutney.  The kids loved it all.  All the sandwiches were not something that you could make easily at home but they were done well at a price that allows you the luxury of having someone else make it.  I tried their chili and found it lacking in depth of taste.  It was good but the flavours had not developed.  It was more tomato and not enough spices but given the focus, it is easy to see why those choices were made.  Importantly, all sandwiches were sub ten dollars and we, as a family, didn't spend more than fifty dollars for the lunch.

The coffee that will act as a lifeblood for morning service is from Te Aro.  The milk is sweet and perfectly warmed.  However, the coffees lack coffee punch.  The milk dominates.  It is strange to contrast this coffee against a coffee from the Bandit up the street.  While the Bandit is more serious about its coffee, Daisy is serious about delivering a decent fresh meal to local residents and their kids.  It should do well and I wish it the best.  I just hope they fix the small problems as they move forward.

Lazy Daisy's on Urbanspoon

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