The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe

Restaurant: The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe
Cuisine: 
Sandwiches/Bakery/Desserts/Cafe/Coffee/Tea
Last Visited: 
December 15, 2012
Location: 
Vancouver, BC (Mount Pleasant/Main Street)
Address: 
3080 Main Street
Phone: (604) 872-0195
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20

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

Food: 3.5 (based on items in this post)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 3.5
Value: 3
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Sister owned/operated
  • American homestyle baked goods/desserts
  • Cafe menu with savoury options
  • Freshly baked goods
  • All butter, all natural – no shortenings
  • Cafe Umbria Coffee (Seattle)
  • Pay at cashier service
  • Family friendly
  • Affordable
  • Eat In/Take out
  • Gluten free options
  • Vegetarian options
  • Catering available
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday to Thursday : 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Friday to Sunday: 9:00am – 6:00pm

**Recommendations: Bacon & Cheese Scone and Millionaire Bar. The Brown Buttered Brownies are also recommended, but I haven’t tried them. Based on the scones I would go for the Sconewich (Scone sandwich) if you want something savoury.

I love bakeries and more and more are popping up in Vancouver which makes me so happy. The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe just opened in September last year and they’re already well liked by the neighbourhood. I wouldn’t even notice it driving by because the signage is quite small, but they caught my attention on Twitter and I discovered them from there. The menu looked great and they were offering so many holiday treats so I wanted to make it especially during this time. (I apologize for only posting on this now).

The first thing I look for in a bakery is usually the smell of something baking, but being that it was the later afternoon I didn’t expect it. It was a big space with two levels and they plan to eventually serve an Afternoon Tea upstairs (with a gluten free option). The next thing I saw was the production area in the back and then I had high hopes. The set up was  more like a cafe than a bakery, but they were taking the baking pretty seriously.

The owners are two sisters who decided to open a bakery which has always been a life long dream of theirs. I actually ended up knowing one of the staff there so I got the background story, met one of the sisters, and had a partially compensated lunch. The story is quite touching because they opened the bakery after losing a close family member, so this was in a sense their “you only live once” move. The sisters are self taught and this is the first restaurant for the both of them, so they are still going through the learning process.

It is quite a typical American-style bakery with homestyle baked goods. Everything is made in house except for a few things like the soup and jams. The risky part of specializing in homestyle baked goods is that most of the time you’re up against tons of competition and comparisons. I mean how many carrot cakes and brownies are there? They are comfort foods that most people think “mom makes best”. It can be challenging to stand out, but most people have a soft spot for them.

Quite often I will go for something that I can’t make at home or find easily, but when it comes to places like this I’m not expecting  Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Haas or Thierry. There are no French pastries or fancy European techniques here, these are casual American desserts. Just for comparisons sake it is much more homestyle than Beaucoup Bakery, but they both offer nostalgic baked goods. It was more along the lines of Butter Baked Goods in style and offerings, but it just needs more time and experience. It is understandable since they are new to the business.

Exploring their menu I thought things would be more detailed and upscale, but it was quite basic and rustic. The cakes and pies almost looked a bit mass produced, but they are home made in small batches. I am not sure what the turnover looks like and I have only been here once so I can’t comment on consistency.

Generally I did like the things I tried, but it has more potential and is perhaps still in the experimental stages for some items. They are already very well received by locals in the neighbourhood so I look forward to seeing them grow into something bigger. This is only the beginning.

On the table:

Almond Hot Chocolate3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • M $3.95 L $4.50
  • They have 7 kinds of home made hot chocolate for the season.
  • I think it was supposed to be an apple design…
  • It was a very light hot chocolate and it wasn’t too rich or creamy.
  • It was fragrant with almond extract so it wasn’t quite marzipan, but I could taste the almond flavour.
  • It would have been excellent with almond milk, but I could still appreciate it.
  • It was Dutch cocoa powder and I wouldn’t compare it to hot chocolates from chocolate shops like Thomas Haas or  Cocoa West Chocolatier, but I did like it.
  • If you like a super rich and decadent hot chocolate than I would highly recommend the Mocha at Mink Chocolates.
**Bacon & Cheese Scone5.5/6 (Excellent!)
  • Served warm $2.95
  • This was my favourite thing here hands down. I’d come back just for this.
  • It was a very homestyle scone bordering on an old fashioned biscuit.
  • It was crunchy, crispy, and caramelized on the exterior and I just wanted to rip off all the edges and eat that, except the interior and centre was just as delicious!
  • The inside was super flaky, moist and somewhat cakey and still fluffy, and it was intense with butter flavour that hit you in the face.
  • This was all butter and no shortening and it was very obvious. I could smell it lifting off the scone.
  • It was expectedly oily, but not overly so and not greasy.
  • It was a savoury scone and there were pieces of decent quality thicker bacon and I wouldn’t have minded a bit more of them.
  • I’m not being greedy either, but it could have used a bit more bacon… even better with Two Rivers Meats bacon.
  • There was some orange shredded cheddar cheese, but I could have used more of that too. I’m not being greedy about this either.
  • It wasn’t a super rich scone and the cheese and bacon weren’t as intense as the butter and scone itself.
  • There was also quite a strong black pepper finish and I could have used a bit less even though I do like pepper.
  • There were some chives as well and it would have been delicious served with sour cream on the side.
  • It could have been a baked potato scone and the scone recipe could use some sour cream in the dough, but it was likely made with buttermilk.
**Apricot & Ginger Scone4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)
  • Served warm $2.95
  • Again, it was a very homestyle scone bordering on a delicious biscuit.
  • This was as crunchy and crispy on the outside as the bacon and cheese scone, except there was an extra crunch from a light sprinkle of course/cane sugar (?) on top.
  • I tried both the sweet and savoury scone and I could tell all her scones were going to be great.
  • The dough was intense with butter flavour just like the bacon and cheese scone.
  • It was moist, flaky and somewhat still fluffy and cakey with pieces of candied ginger and dried apricots throughout.
  • It wasn’t too sweet or savoury, but just very natural with good butter flavour.
  • This was very unexpected because I thought it was going to be ground ginger spices and not actual pieces of candied ginger.
  • I really appreciated the fact that she used fresh ginger and candied it herself.
  • It was diced pieces of candied ginger which were quite sweet.
  • I liked how the candied ginger still had a semi-crunch in texture, but it lost its spice and heat and was only sweet.
  • There were diced pieces of dried apricots too, but the flavours of the apricot and ginger didn’t extend beyond the pieces and into the dough.
  • Since it was a dried fruit it didn’t matter, but a seasonal fresh fruit would have been nice to use.
  • This would have been even better with an apricot and ginger jam or even orange butter. Or orange cinnamon butter!
  • On that note for what it was, it was still very good.
Chicken Pot Pie – 3/6 (Good)
  • $8.95
  • I needed something savoury and the soups weren’t made in house so I went for the house made chicken pot pies.
  • It came in a cup and it was a really soupy chicken pot pie.
  • It wasn’t a traditional pie with a double crust, but chicken pie filling in a cup with a puff pastry topper.
  • For some reason the puff pastry didn’t taste as buttery as the scones, but it was made in house with all butter.
  • The puff pastry was very flaky and moist and I liked the texture although it could have used more height.
  • I love a puffy puff pastry and I would rather have the pastry wrapped around the cup and the cup baked (if it was oven safe).
  • The filling was made with dark meat chicken so it was moist and flavourful.
  • The chicken broth base (I doubt it was stock made from chicken bones) had a yellow tinge which always reminds me of bouillon powder, but I don’t know if that is what it was from.
  • It was quite classic with onions, celery, carrots, and also fresh mushrooms, but no potatoes which I don’t mind.
  • There was also fresh and dried (?) thyme and perhaps oregano (?), but the herb flavour was quite overpowering – with dried herbs a little goes a long way.
  • The black pepper was also strong, so along with the herbs they overpowered the natural chicken flavour.
  • It was quite a standard chicken pot pie filling and gravy, but I prefer a creamier and thicker chicken pot pie with cream and intense chicken flavour.
  • There were also some frozen peas in it, but it would be better to throw those in the at end because they overcooked a bit and got quite mushy.
  • Personally I do enjoy the Chicken Pot Pie at Savary Island Pie Company (see here), but this version wasn’t bad either.
  • It would possibly satisfy one for lunch, but I found it a bit pricey without the full pie.
  • With Burgoo Bistro next door I don’t think I would order this again, but if I did I would order it this way…
  • Follow Me Foodie Tip: If you order this I highly recommend buying a bacon and cheese scone and having that as a topper over the flower shaped puff pastry.
Carrot Pumpkin Cake3/6 (Good)
  • $5.95
  • I love carrot cake and I love pumpkin so I thought this would be a win, but it kind of sounded better.
  • Although I do love carrot cake, it’s not something I order often since it’s something I can make at home, but this was recommended and it looked good.
  • This was a very rich and dense carrot cake and I wasn’t really expecting that. It was certainly a dessert carrot cake.
  • The texture was a carrot cake, but it tasted like a pumpkin pie and it was on the sweet side for me especially with the icing.
  • I tried eating it without the icing too, but the cake itself didn’t really come through for me.
  • The icing was a smooth and creamy cream cheese icing, but I wouldn’t mind a cheesier flavour and more cream cheese, but that might be just me. If you like milder cheese flavour then you’ll like this.
  • The cake part was quite crumbly and dense and I’m not sure if it had dried out a bit, or if the batter was mixed and baked a bit inconsistently.
  • The cake was full of plump raisins which were quite soft and almost melted into the cake.
  • There were shredded carrots and then a few pieces of walnuts, but it definitely could have used more walnuts.
  • The pumpkin purée was organic, but the purée didn’t add to the texture and it should have made it more moist, but it didn’t seem to be the case.
  • The cake was quite strong with pumpkin pie spices and it was a bit strong for my liking although the sweetness was more intense.
  • The cake almost seemed like there was molasses in it too.
  • I think it was made with butter instead of oil which I always prefer.
  • Oil gives the illusion of a more “moist” cake, but it is actually just oily without adding flavour.
  • Personally I do enjoy the Carrot Cake at Creme de la Crumb with the pineapple and coconut.
  • Outside of Vancouver I found an amazing one in Jamaica at EITS Cafe – see their Carrot Cake.
  • This is another really interesting Carrot Cake I had at Laurie Raphaël – see Carrot Cake from Quebec City.
Devil’s Food - 4/6 (Very good)
  • $5.95
  • I don’t order Devil’s Food often (opposite of an Angel’s Food Cake), but it is a classic American homestyle bakery cake.
  • It didn’t look too exciting, but it was the house favourite so I had to take a slice.
  • I went for the vanilla icing just because I was afraid the chocolate icing was going to be overload and too sweet.
  • This was a “I just got dumped cake”.
  • The cake part was solid and it was a very good chocolate cake recipe.
  • Devil’s Food Cake is supposed to be a very dark and rich layered cake, yet the texture should be moist, light and airy.
  • This was moist and cakey and not fudgy or nearly as rich or intense as a flourless chocolate cake.
  • It was likely made from butter and not oil which I prefer and it was not an oily cake.
  • It wasn’t quite as airy as I like and with the icing I found it too sweet, but without it, it was delightful and not too sweet at all.
  • It was made with Dutch cocoa powder and I don’t think there was any added melted chocolate.
  • It is not typical to have added melted chocolate, but some recipes call for it and those ones are good too.
  • The chocolate flavour was natural and earthy and it could have used perhaps a bit more coffee to intensify the flavours, but I was satisfied.
  • I couldn’t taste the coffee and you’re not supposed to, but I’m sure they used coffee in this to wake up the chocolate.
  • The only part I wasn’t keen on was the vanilla icing and either buttercream or a meringue would be better.
  • The icing was much sweeter than the cake and it made the cake as a whole taste too sweet.
  • The vanilla icing lacked the vanilla bean seeds which is somewhat understandable since it is not a gourmet bakery, but it would have been great with them.
  • The icing was also quite granular in texture and very sugary and it was strong with confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar) flavour.
  • They used butter instead of shortening in the icing which is much better, but I couldn’t get over the icing sugar flavour and texture.
  • It kind of reminded me of Betty Crocker icing, but this was home made.
  • For a vanilla frosting I probably would have preferred a vanilla marshmallow cream on a Devil’s Food Cake.
  • I really liked the cake part though and I could eat that alone… I kind of did.
  • It had a great chocolate balance and I could easily have more than a few bites without getting sick of it.
  • If you’re a huge chocolate lover I also recommend the Valrhona Brownie from Beaucoup Bakery.
**Millionaire Bar4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)
  •  $2.95
  • It is a 3 layered British candy bar that’s often described as a “glorified Twix Bar”.
  • It is supposed to be a buttery shortbread with creamy caramel and then chocolate on top.
  • Nowadays it is often sprinkled with fleur de sel just like this.
  • It is almost like a home made Twix bar except the shortbread wasn’t crunchy like a cookie on a Twix.
  • Twix is my favourite generic store brand chocolate bar, so usually I enjoy anything like it.
  • The Millionaire Bar looks quite ordinary and you may have seen several versions of it, but they are not commonly found in Vancouver bakeries.
  • It tasted better than it looked and I did enjoy this.
  • It was not a hard and chewy stick to your teeth bar, but a tender and rich bar.
  • It was sweet and savoury and well balanced with the 2 sweetest layers being thinner so it wouldn’t be overly sweet or indulgent.
  • The thicker layer of shortbread really helped and it could have been made with rice flour and cornstarch for a fine crumb texture.
  • It was a very tender, soft and buttery shortbread crust.
  • The shortbread really helped and it was soft and crumbled in your mouth.
  • The caramel was basically a dulce de leche and it was made from caramelized condensed milk.
  • The caramel was not chewy or sticky and it was creamy, buttery soft and beautiful. I don’t think it had corn syrup which is a good thing.
  • I would have loved some vanilla bean in it just because vanilla in baking is like salt in cooking.
  • The chocolate was bittersweet (maybe 62%) and it was perhaps Callebaut chocolate which is decent, but Valrhona would have been amazing.
  • I could bite into this as easily as a brownie which was unexpected and it wasn’t hard at all.
  • There was also a nice sprinkle of fleur de sel to give it that salty goodness.
  • Salted caramel has been so embraced over the last few years so it was a no brainer to add it.
  • This is just personal tastes, but I’m a huge texture person so I would have loved some pecans or something crunchy in that caramel layer, but that’s just me.
  • It’s not traditional to add nuts to a Millionaire Bar, but I’ve had versions with pecans and they do taste better to me. See Olive et Gourmando’s Turtles Bar.
  • Based on this bar alone I would consider buying even just their shortbread.
  • It wasn’t as soft as a sable cookie, but it was tender and it seemed very promising.

I didn’t try this and I should have just ordered it, but the Browned Buttered Brownies are supposed to be quite good. I also sampled the Almond Tea Cake with Citrus Glaze, but a sample is never a proper representation so I can’t really comment. I usually love almond cakes, but this one seemed a bit sweet, it could have been just the sample I had though.

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