Friday, April 3, 2015

Gourmet lunch at Cartems Donuterie

Cartems Donuterie on Urbanspoon

Yes, Cartems Donuterie serves lunch. No, it's not donuts.
Each plate of two deep-fried "savoury donut" + small salad is $6. Plus one donut ($3) adds up to a light to medium lunch for just under $10 before tax and tip.

I was there on a Wednesday afternoon around 1.30pm and there were a few diners and zero lineup. Still quite a selection of donuts in the counter as well. Since the lunch rush was apparently over, our savoury lunch donuts took a little while but came hot and fresh.

Presentation is ace in texture of the fried products and colours on the plate. You are getting pricey Yaletown plating in a bright, clean space amid a dilapidated looking neighbourhood. Truly the definition of "neighbourhood gem".

Japanese Curry Bun ($6) Savory donut filled with ground beef, potatoes, carrots, and edamame. Served with a white miso garlic aoli, Sriracha sauce, and a daikon salad with ponzu sesame dressing
  • Each "donut" is about the size of a tennis ball, and beautifully deep fried -- crunchy fun and not oily.
  • Curry inside is not hot-spicy.
  • It's also on the bitter side and so I'm automatically biased. If it's more bitter than what you're used to from an Indian restaurant, slather on the aioli provided.
  • Compared to the photo on the website, there is a LOT more aioli on the plate now (but that may vary over time). Don't feel the need to use it all up, just what you need.
Vegan Harissa Pocket ($6) Congolese savory donut filled with house made soy free spicy faux ‘meat’. Served with apricot chutney and a red lentil salad with lemon vinaigrette
  • Each pocket is about the size of a deck of cards. One of them will probably look very big, but that is from the steam inside a freshly made one -- yeah, they deflate. The cut-open one is therefore the more accurate presentation.
  • If you are a very light eater, then this is the lower-volume choice compared to the Curry Bun.
  • Same deal with the curry here -- too much on the bitter side for my personal taste.
  • A LOT more chutney paste than in the picture on the website so if you end up hating the curry, you can just have deep fried bread pocket with chutney.
Earl Grey Donut ($3) Exactly as it sounds, this tasty cake donut is infused with an organic earl grey tea, topped with earl grey glaze and a sprinkling of rose petals!
  • This is very nice! Just the donut itself, independent of the glaze, has a clearly discernable aroma and flavour. I like this aspect as it makes the donut much more than just a tasty glaze on a forgettable carb platform.
  • The rose petals add a slightly different aroma and splash of colour, though in the end I'm not sure how much it really contributes to the flavour.
For lunch, no more than one (1) donut to go with your lunch is recommended. If you have more, you're into the too-much-sugar-in-one-sitting territory on top of possibly overeating.

They also have gluten-free cake mix for sale.

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