This little cafe I discovered online during one of my macaron-scouring surfing sessions. It looks pretty and pink and quaint on their website so I was eager to try out their macarons while still hot on my macaron hunt through Greater Vancouver. They even offer macaron classes so I thought their macarons must be quite decent. Not to say they were bad, but the overall feel of Simply French Café just did not live up to their website. I guess webs can really be misleading!
My first impression from the outside was that it would be decent inside. Having read reviews online about the doubtful cleanliness of the place and after seeing pictures, I was not too surprised. The place did not look dirty exactly, but it did not look spotless and neat and polished and quaint and a billion other words that comes to mind when one hears ‘French’ and ‘café.’ They had a display of scarves, art, and various other knickknacks. The chairs and tables were wooden, giving the place an old, rundown feel. It was not very well lit and the colour scheme made it darker and gloomier. Needless to say, I did not like the atmosphere as it was no where near an upscale cafe.
Now onto the macarons. They were in the chilled display case so they were quite cold when the lady put it in the pastry bag. However, as I bit into the Raspberry Macaron, I realized these are not half bad. It was not a very thick macaron, and the cookie lacked volume for the soft and moist centre. However, the shells were delicate and crisp, and the little layer inside was soft. Near the filling, it was a little more gummy, but the filling was light and sweet with a light raspberry aroma. It did not look very pretty, as none of them were perfectly round and smooth, but after putting it in my mouth, I found it tasted better than it looked.
The Lemon Macaron was similar. The taste was very obvious for this one with a creamy lemon ganache filling. Again, the thin shells did not offer much soft and moist centre but the taste was decent. I found out that the almond flour they used must have been somewhat homemade because after a bite, I could still find bits of ground up almonds between my teeth, large enough to realize they were there and identify them as almond bits mixed into the shell.
Finally, the Chocolate Orange Macaron was more of a disappointment. The filling was just a regular chocolate ganache filling with mixed in orange peel for the orange part of the macaron. I would much rather have an orange-flavoured chocolate ganache as I am no fan of orange peels. The chocolate was not the rich, smooth kind either. It was of rather poor quality, as was the chocolate chip on top. The filling was also harder and thicker, which made the sides a little awkward and a bit hard to bite into. The edges would sort of crumble and I got no chocolate with that first bite.
Presentation wise, this place, including its macarons and even some of the cakes I was hoping to get, was very lacking. There was only an elderly man sitting there with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. I was going to get a Groupon but I am glad I did not as I probably would not have been able to spend the entire amount. Looking at the place, I did not want their cheesecakes, which looked as if bought from elsewhere as there were wax paper between each slice. The place did not look pleasing enough for me to get a panini and salad or soup, either. They also had smaller, packaged macarons, with the mint one available separately. I do not think it would be the $2.50 for the big one, but did not bother asking. I do not think I would come back, despite the okay macarons I got.