Elegance and decadence on a cold night

Like many Yukoners, I had dinner at La Gourmandise Creperie and World Cuisine when it first opened last fall. It was a wonderful experience, but the portions were too big … I had no room left for dessert.

So, I decided to return just for dessert. My LDC and I arrived at 8:00 on a Wednesday night and we were surprised to see the restaurant was 80 percent full. Yet a corner table, angled just so, allowed us to feel we were all alone.

If we wanted even more privacy, we could have asked for the private table the restaurant has tucked in a wall and hidden by a curtain. Or, if we were with friends, we would have asked for one of two tables that sit in front of a fireplace with a cheery fire.

Even at our corner table, the fireplace still cast a cozy feel over us and was helped more by the warm, sweetness of the air and the butter-yellow walls mixing interestingly with the old wood of the window trim. The window may have looked old, but my LDC told me she felt no draft. This is certainly an entirely new restaurant as the Yukon-quaint No Pop Sandwich Shoppe has been renovated out of existence.

With blues-jazz playing softly in the background, a fresh rose on our table and a single flame accenting soft lighting throughout the restaurant, we had to agree this was an elegant and romantic experience.

And to think we were just here for dessert made the experience all the more decadent.

Considering the hour, we ordered decaffeinated coffee to start. We called the co-owner, Francois Chretien, back to our table to make sure it was decaffeinated – it tasted too good – and he told us it came from Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters in Whitehorse. It has since been added to my LDC’s shopping list.

Even before looking at the menu, we decided to get crepes because this is, after all, a creperie. Perhaps the next time, if we come back with friends, we will indulge in the chocolate fondue.

If we wanted to be good, we could have chosen one of the all-fruit crepes. But we were bad. I chose the La Canadienne for $12 and my LDC ordered the La Suzette for $14.

The La Poire Belle Helene looked good, too. It had pears, chocolate and hazelnut spread. Chretien told us the most successful dessert crepe is served at the Sunday brunch; it has brie, apple, cinnamon and honey.

Often, people will watch Chretien make the crepes. It is pure theatre as he scoops and spreads and folds and squirts. A station is set up within view of the seating area. The smells and the colours are a delight.

Our dessert crepes are served and we just want to stare at them. They are works of art. Dollops of whip cream stand off to one side and are flourished in keeping with the theme of the dessert. Syrup is sashayed about the crepe and the plate and powdered sugar or spices add to the flourish. The lighting over our table, which had recently appeared so soft, now made our plates glow.

My LDC thrilled at the many levels of taste in her mouth as she scooped up the mandarin oranges, crème Chantilly and Grand Marnier.

As for my maple crepe dessert, I can’t describe it until I harken you back to your days of childhood: Do you remember how the preparation of desserts always left a residue of pure heaven – the cake’s icing left over on the serving plate, the sugar drippings from the cinnamon buns in the bottom of the pan, the heavy cream coating at the top of the ice cream box – and you had to beat your brothers and sisters to it?

My entire dessert was just like this. It was two sacks, made from a sweet crepe, which held a heavy mixture of maple syrup and maple sugar.

As good as it was, it wasn’t heavy on my stomach. I slapped myself on the forehead when I realized I could have had this last fall after my large meal.

Anyway, enjoying the afterglow of a fine dessert, my LDC indicated she might have enjoyed the experience even more than I: “I liked it when Francois called me, ‘Mademoiselle’,” she cooed.

This review is not meant to judge quality of food or service. It only describes the experience offered by the reviewed restaurant. The owners were informed in advance of the review and the meals were provided at no cost.

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