It has been many years since I’ve been to English Bay. The last time that I’ve gone there was at last five, six years ago when I want with several friends (who are definintely NOT imaginary) to watch the firework display that would show every summer. Of course we’d arrive there at noon since it is 100% impossible to get a seat on the beach by the time the show actually begins. We’d spend the next several hours playing card games and wander around the place, getting ice creams and frappuccinos. One place that I remember passing by is Red Umbrella Cafe. I decided to pay the joint a visit a few days ago. The place is small and appears to be quite popular, and there was a lineup outside the door during breakfast hours. Since I just wanted to get some baked goods for takeout, I didn’t have to wait in line to receive a seat. I had their Lemon Cheese Cake, Carrot Cake, and Chocolate Cake.
Lemon Cheese Cake ($6):
The cheesecake itself was quite soft and creamy (not the New York variety), with a great tang and a nice lemon scent. It appears to be topped with a layer of creamy, tangy cream cheese frosting. I was a bit disappointed with the crust however, which had become quite soggy and fell apart when I tried to move the cake from the box.
Carrot Cake ($5):
The cake was dense, but relatively moist, and was filled with shredded carrots. It had a slight bit of spice to it, I would have preferred the spice to be a bit more assertive. The cream cheese icing was smooth and creamy but a bit bland – I didn’t get too much sweetness or tang.
Chocolate Cake ($4.50):
The cake was relatively tender, albeit a bit dry and had a good flavour of cocoa. The icing had a really nice fragrance of coffee to it. Overall, I did find the cake to be a bit on the bland side. It was tasty, but nothing special; the kind of dessert that you’d be able to get from a regular bake sale.
While I haven’t tried any of their breakfast/lunch items, the desserts at the Red Umbrella Cafe were not mind-blowing, but still tasty and quite affordable. Be warned if you plan on eating in: the place does get quite crowded and it can be a bit difficult to move around; while waiting for my pastries to be packed, I had to squeeze myself against the counter just to allow staff and customers to get past me, so if you’re claustrophobic, you might want to reconsider visiting.