Restaurant: Neo Coffee Bar
Location: 161 Frederick Street, Toronto, M5A 4P1
Price Range: $
Need a quick afternoon pick me up? Look no further, Neo Coffee Bar have arrived! From the minimal design to the spacious layout and Japanese style pastries, this isn’t your typical Toronto cafe.
The open pastry kitchen is pretty neat and fun to watch! Apparently they also have sandwiches for lunch but I have yet to try those.
The space is way much larger and have more open space than your regular coffee shop. The decor is very industrial/concrete style but manages to be warm with comfortable benches along the walls. While the front of the cafe have all single tables, at the back you will find more seatings for a casual hang out or studying. The music volume is not overbearing and the selection leans toward underground indie/alternate than mainstreams, which I personally liked it.
In Neo Coffee Bar you would find the typical coffee/tea choices that is similar to other cafe. With that said some cafes would have a special drink (such as FIKA) that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, so I’m quite surprised that Neo don’t offer Japanese coffee or tea (if available)?
As per the advertising, the main feature of the pasty section for Neo Coffee Bar is the roll cakes. I think other than chocolate and matcha roll cakes, the shop also offer seasonal flavors such as Ontario peach or raspberry. You can buy either a slice/half/or the entire roll cake as well.
I recommend going early if you want the roll cake as I came approx. 3 hours before the closing time and most of the cakes were gone already.
Though the roll cake wasn’t as moist and airy as the one from Petite Nuage, it was still delicious! The cake itself was infused with a slight hint of rosemary and the texture was really fluffy. The cream was not too rich nor too sweet and I love how you are getting huge chunk of fresh and slightly firm peaches here. There was a slight crust on top as well which gave some crunchy texture with every bites.
I inquired with the barista whether they had lactose-free milk and I received a snotty reply of “Uh…no why?”. Seriously? Almost every cafe offer either lactose-free or almond/soy milk for a small charge, if you don’t have it then just say sorry no, why give me an attitude?
The neo choux is essentially a Choux Creme (or cream puff) which is filled right as you order it. The pastry was light and crispy, however I thought the inside was supposed to be hollow to fill the pastry cream in? It was incredibly messy to eat this since the pastry cream was watery, not as custard-y texture as the one from Petite Nuage.
Overall I thought the desserts were good but not as mind-blowing as I have hoped for. I suppose if you live in the neighbourhood then it’s worth a try, however this place is a bit out of the way for me and unless I’m really craving for the roll cakes, then I will come back.
P/S: They should do something with the washroom. The entrance is behind a wooden wall with no indication that it was a washroom, so almost everyone mistakenly walked downstairs to the office instead. The confused face when the customers realized it was not a washroom was quite a sight to watch lol.