There are certainly no lack of cafes in Vancouver. It seems like every block has several to choose from. But a cafe of a different sort has just opened on Robson Street in Vancouver, and it’s the first of its kind in North America.
PappaRoti is a very popular cafe franchise that started in Malaysia. First opened in 2003, they currently have more than 400 cafes world-wide, including London, Dubai, Singapore and in many locations in Australia. And now Vancouver can experience “the father of all” buns.
The cafe concept centres around the PappaRoti bun. It’s not complex, but I have to say, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before. The bun is a simple pastry: light and airy, a bit like angel food cake, with a crispy outer dome that cracks a little when you break into it. The top layer comes from a coffee caramel that is piped onto each bun before they are baked in the oven. They also pack a delicious, warm, buttery surprise in their heart.
Buns are baked to order, so they arrive at your table warm and satisfying. You can enjoy them plain, or with different sides: maple syrup and ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream, or bananas and nutella. They aren’t super sweet, but if you like things on the savoury side, try them with Labna, a thick, salted yogurt with the consistency of cream cheese.
Alongside your bun, you can enjoy J.J. Bean coffee and custom-blended, loose-leaf, brewed-to-order Teaja teas (ooooh, the Earl Grey). They also offer fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies. If you need something a bit heartier than a light pastry (although they are appropriate to eat pretty much any time of the day), PappaRoti also offers sandwiches made on freshly-baked baguette. The Chicken Coronation, a mix of chicken, raisins and apricots in a creamy curry sauce was my favourite.
The space is brand-new, and it mixes modern industrial with whimsical, warm touches. The floor is unfinished concrete, and there are lots of matte black steel and a few chrome touches. Huge mirrors help to reflect the light, while greenery, mismatched chairs, and warm wood touches create warmth. There is tons of natural light, thanks to huge windows, and the corner table might be the best people-watching spot in the city.
And–I know this is a really small detail–but I like the background music they play there. It’s a mix of chill beats that is not too distracting, but creates a pleasant vibe.
I live in the West End, and I love my neighbourhood. I’m pretty sure I’ll be spending a lot of time at PappaRoti in the future. It has everything this cafe-loving girl could want.
Address: 1505 Robson Street, Vancouver (corner of Robson & Nicola)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (open at 8 a.m. on weekends)