Sweet Revenge Patisserie

Restaurant: Sweet Revenge Patisserie
Cuisine: Desserts
Last visited: December 28, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Riley Park/Little Mountain)
Address: 4160 Main Street
Bus: NB Main St FS E 26 Av
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!

Food: 2.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: 1.5
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Desserts only
  • All natural ingredients
  • No preservatives
  • Cute/quaint atmosphere
  • Intimate/cozy room
  • Neighbourhood favourite
  • Long waits/line-ups
  • Organic coffee/teas
  • Wine/Beer
  • Limited seating
  • Reservations recommended
  • No reservations Fri-Sat
  • Sunday – Thursday: 7pm-12am
  • Friday – Saturday: 7pm-1am

**Recommendations: n/a

Sweet Revenge Patisserie is one of Vancouver’s few dessert only restaurants. I haven’t been here in over 10 years, but it’s been around for ages and it’s part of the Main Street classics. Given that I have a major sweet tooth and obsession with desserts “Sweet Revenge” and “dessert only” should be music to my ears. However I can also get quite particular with them and specific with what I look for.

If you’re more than 2-3 people, it’s really difficult to get seated here. There is almost always a line up and the place seats maybe 25-30 people, but it feels like it’s made for 10. It’s a very intimate atmosphere and it gets really warm, so make sure you like who you eat with.

The restaurant feels like eating in grandma’s living room and apparently some of the chef’s recipes are from Grandma as well. With the vintage furnace, floral upholstery and old fashioned trinkets, it was almost like playing house, or admiring a Main Street garage sale.

Unfortunately my experience fell short of my infatuation. The service wasn’t great, a bit passive and quite inexperienced, and I already expected very casual service to start. However, even overlooking the service the desserts I tried were quite average, although I appreciated the use of all natural ingredients. It just wasn’t very inspiring for a place that’s supposed to be dedicated and passionate about desserts.

It’s a traditional menu, but what I had didn’t make me want to explore much further, and for the size of the restaurant it’s attempting a lot. Therefore it’s assumed that their desserts will be quite basic and somewhat premade as much as it attempts to avoid being in that “mass-produced” category. The desserts just seemed a bit dated and routine rather than progressive and improved. I was charmed by the quaintness of the room, but the home made aspect of the desserts didn’t translate nearly as much as the ambiance suggested.

On the table:

Sweet Revenge – 2/6 (Okay)

  • A torte-like cake, rich and dense, coated with dark chocolate ganache $6
  • This is supposed to be the signature dessert.
  • For being called the “Sweet Revenge” it wasn’t that sweet at all except for the chocolate coating.
  • It wasn’t rich in the initial bites, but it’s a heavy cake so the richness catches up.
  • It was a cold and dense cake coated with a hard, sugary and sweet chocolate ganache icing.
  • I prefer a stronger chocolate than sugar aspect to chocolate ganache, so this was one I kind of scrapped off. At the same time it was the only other component to the cake so it almost needed it.
  • The strawberry garnish kind of bothered me since it’s out of season, but the restaurant doesn’t emphasize local ingredients, so I can overlook it.

  • The torte-like cake had maybe one thin layer of chocolate or buttercream in between, but it was barely noticeable.
  • It was very simple and I wanted many more layers. Usually a torte will have many more distinct layers.
  • The cake was quite dry, crumbly and nutty and made with ground almonds.
  • Naturally a torte will be on the drier side, but this one was drier than normal.
  • This just lacked some love and detail and there was nothing very memorable about it.
  • As a signature dessert I just expected more “wow” factor.

Apple Pie – 2/6 (Okay)

  • Served warm or cold, with real whipped cream $7 (a la mode + $1.50)
  • This reminded me of the Baked Apple Dumpling from The Oakwood Canadian Bistro, but this came first.
  • This had a very premade aspect to it. I kind of expect that from most pies, but I hoped it wouldn’t come across so easily in the taste.
  • It almost seemed warmed up in the microwave rather than baked in the oven and the shell wasn’t crispy, but almost soft and very chewy.

  • The pastry shell or crust is a very important part to a great apple pie for me and this one wasn’t flaky or that buttery.
  • The filling was quite stiff rather than creamy and most of the caramel sauce inside had somewhat absorbed.
  • The apples were more crunchy than tender and more tart than sweet and spiced with cinnamon.
  • It was on the gummy side so there was probably a bit much cornstarch in the mixture.
  • For a mom and pop shop I understand it would be difficult to make ice cream, so the store bought didn’t bother me.
  • I’m really not keen on Breyers ice cream though, but if I had to choose one of their products it would be the All Natural Vanilla ice cream which this was.
  • I’m still not crazy about it and I find most Breyers ice creams too creamy, and for store bought I generally prefer Häagen-Dazs.
  • I think it would be great if they served the Mountain Dairy Ice Cream in Abbotsford or The Udder Guy’s Ice Cream Company especially since they’re local too.
  • Personally I prefer the Apple Pie from Savary Island Pie Company.

“Smooth Operator” – 3/6 (Good)

  • Fresh raspberries and mascarpone cheese with whipped cream, layered over raspberry liqueur-soaked chocolate sponge cake, sprinkled with white chocolate shavings and drizzled with raspberry coulis Single: $10.00 Double: $19
  • This is supposed to be one of their favourites.
  • It was smooth, moist, somewhat light, but still creamy and the better one of the three desserts.
  • It tasted like a Raspberry Black Forest Cake, so it still wasn’t that special and possibly something you’ve tried before.
  • If you cringe when you hear “Black Forest Cake” because you think of those gross artificial cherries, this wasn’t like that. This was better, but still not particularly better than a fresh Black Forest Cake.
  • The chocolate sponge cake was quite standard and it wasn’t dry or even wet from being soaked. It wasn’t as moist as Betty Crocker’s “Super Moist” either.
  • I couldn’t taste any of the raspberry liqueur soaked into the cake and it actually didn’t seem like it was soaked in anything.
  • The chocolate flavour in the cake was very subtle and it tasted quite plain.
  • I tasted more white chocolate and whipped cream and hardly any mascarpone cheese.
  • The mascarpone cheese was really the selling ingredient for me that was supposed to make it different too.
  • There were some actual fresh raspberries folded in the whipped cream and they were quite tart being out of season.
  • There was kind of a sweet and tart balance, but it tasted much more simple than the description.

Strawberry Beer

  • Framboise, Mort Subite, Belgium $6
  • This is my kind of beer.
  • I’ve had it in The Netherlands before and found it again at Gudrun Tasting Room in Richmond, BC. That was Früli strawberry beer though.
  • It was nice to know I can get it here too now and it’s more affordable.

Hot Water

  • $1.50
  • I would have appreciated a mention that I would be charged for hot water before the bill arrived.

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Sweet Revenge Patisserie on Urbanspoon

18 Comments

  • Linda says:

    ok i totally cringe everytime i think of this place – i went here once and the decor alone was a bit freaky.. i guess i wouldn’t have been so off put by it if it was only painted in a color other than RED!!! makes me think of REDRUM REDRUM!!! lol

    i had the apple crumble when i came here and it was only ok.. what i found was that for the price i was paying ($8 i think), i expected better quality.. and i totally agree with you about the service here… definitely not exactly what i’d call “friendly” for sure

    the smooth operator looks good but i’m not sure i’d pay $10 for a slice of cake unless it was a FMF must try! lol.. what was your rating on the beer? it definitely looks good! ugh, i hate the hot water billing thing too! at least you got a lemon slice 🙂

  • patricia says:

    This place would be an amazing neighbourhood gem, but the desserts just don’t pull through.

    …not sure if it’s just me, but the strawberry garnishes seem to look like faces to me.

  • There is no way I’d go somewhere that charges $1.50 for water that isn’t in a sealed bottle at the very least. Tap water + a few little lemon wedges is not worth that kind of gouging. Yikes!

  • LotusRapper says:

    You didn’t rate the hot water ??? LOL. Actually IMHO it’s wrong for restauranteurs to charge for water without telling the customers first (unless the water is bottled or specialty). Did you complain ?

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – lol! Ok I totally see what you mean by the red lights! Fair enough. Yeah the cake was worth $8 atmost…. $10 I can get fine dining. I understand it’s mom and pop, but still. The beer I’ve always liked! I can’t tell one brand of strawberry beer from the next though, but i liked the beer! and LOL to your FMF must try… the tres excellent, just started to feel odd. lol

    @LR – lol! At that point I was just a bit frustrated with the service overall and it was at the point of “I give up”. I just wanted to know before getting the charge. At least give me the chance to opt in/out.

    @patricia – lol the strawberries totally look like faces! yeah I was hoping for more…

    @Mrs. Loquacious – yup… they have lots of coffee/tea options so it’s a bit cafe like too. The hot water shouldn’t be a problem in providing…. even if it was, I just want to know before hand that I would be charged.

  • LotusRapper says:

    ” …………… so make sure you like who you eat with.”

    I must have missed that the first time, lol.

    Actually the first/last time I was here (mid ’90s ?) I theorized they got all their furnishings from the antique stores around them, maybe for cheap prices, over time.

    Another just-desserts place that’s supposedly popular that I found totally disappointing (like Sweet Revenge to you) is Cheesecake Etc. on Granville. Both food and service (and ambiance) were totally meh. Oh well.

  • @Conservativeyvr says:

    Mijune, your review is bang on. The desserts are subpar, with little/no service and the decor (eclectic and outdated would be a nice way of describing it). The worst part is that there is an auto gratuity charged on your bill for not giving you any service at all. The desserts were all pre-made (none of it tasted freshly made) and all they seem to make is the drinks.

    I compare the desserts to ones you can find on a cruise ship (actually, the desserts on the cruises are far superior than here). Would definitely not go back and would not recommend anyone else doing so. Go elsewhere!!

    @Lotusrapper Totally agree with you on Cheesecake Etc. It was good maybe 10 years ago…

  • LotusRapper says:

    @Conservativeyvr: you guys would prolly know more than I, are the owners been around since Day 1, or are they some new folks who took over what might have been a good venue at one time ? I ask only because if the general sentiment and experiences about Sweet Revenge seems negative, how is it they could have lasted however long they’ve been there ? YVR is not kind to mediocre restos with its fierce competitive food & service industry, hence I’d imagine SR couldn’t have been this bad for years and years, could they ?

    On a brighter note, Death By Chocolate and True Confections are two other desserts-only places in town who’ve been true to their genre and clientele:

    http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/06/true-confections-cake-bakery/

    And to kindly disagree with Mijune, TC holds a special place in my heart (or is that my stomach ?) for surviving and outlasting the culinary landscape in the past 20+ years.

  • Mijune says:

    @LR – oh lol it wasn’t the company I was with, but the service from the get go wasn’t great already.

    @Conservativeyvr – yikes! You had a bad experience too huh? I understand it’s a mom and pop shop, but even still I think there’s a lot of refining that can be done. You were charged the auto gratuity? For how many people?

    @LR – SR is a neighbourhood favourite and it’s one of the few dessert only places. The desserts weren’t awful to me, but just very normal. It’s the fact that it’s a dessert only place and they do make things in house and use organic products… but it just doesn’t translate. The place is ALWAYS full so there are people that like it, but we each have out own set of expectations and this one just didn’t mean mine personally.

    and yes please! Feel free to disagree and thank you for reminding me of that post! I don’t hate TC, but again I find it quite mass produced. You know i have a major sweet tooth though so I’m just perhaps a bit pickier. TC does it’s thing, and I’ll still go if people want to go, but I’m just not so inspired by them and would prefer somewhere like Ganache or Kreation Artisan Bakery instead.

  • LotusRapper says:

    @Mijune …… Kreation is one of our neighbouhood gems ! Don’t you find it rather ironic the owner’s name is Kaeko (sounds like “cake-o”), LOL ? Um, with all due respect to her, of course. My son loves all their cookies.

  • Mijune says:

    @LR – I posted on Kreation when I first started blogging so it’s been a while, but I like them! Kreation > True Confections… although price is different and Kreation isn’t a restaurant. So maybe apples and oranges! lol I didn’t notice the name! That’s pretty cute!

  • @Conservativeyvr says:

    @Mijune, for FOUR PEOPLE!!! Seriously! I kinda shuddered when I saw you were doing a post on them; good thing we see eye to eye on SR. I gladly fork over money for good desserts; but definitely not for medicore ones; so every time someone I know who mentions Sweet Revenge, I shudder and shake my head.

    @LR I don’t know how they survive. From what I saw, predominately, their clientelle seems to be Asian; maybe their desserts are not as sweet as others? I don’t know…

  • Mijune says:

    @Conservativeyvr – ouch! 4 ppl?!? Should be at least 6! I get that it’s a small place, but still. Did it at least say on the menu?

  • Kathy says:

    (@kathygko) I’m about to go again to this place! Love the decor but the wait is so long! I found Mort Subite (cherry and raspberry flavours) at BC Liquor Stores. Fruli is also sold there too!

  • Mijune says:

    @Kathy – hi dear!! Yes I heard Fruli is there! Thanks! Hope you had a better experience than me…. but the long is almost unbearable I agree… however i guess it’s our choice to wait! lol

  • agnes says:

    They are just like cheesecake etc… charge for hot water:S

  • Sophie says:

    Sweet Revenge Patisserie!

    NOT such a sweet experience!

    They charged us a 15% of gratuity because we spilt bill 3 ways between 4 people, but waiter didn’t tell us! When we went to pay the bill we asked why, the manager said its in their menu, but their menu only say the group of 6 or more will charge 15%. The guy said it’s in their other menu! What!? Hello! you only have one menu that we saw!

    Then when I paid he rounds my bill off the nearest 10 cents (to the restaurants benefit) and short changes me another few pennies?

    I WON’T go back to here again!!!! The people who management this restaurant is not honest!

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