A while back, during that frustrating stretch when every restaurant I went to seemed to be closed, I tried to visit Broadmoor Bakery. It’s inconspicuously located in the shopping plaza at Williams and No. 3 Road, and though I lost the opportunity to eat a sweet that day (they were closed for Christmas holidays), I gained a helpful bit of info – they serve lunch. I biked back to Broadmoor yesterday to check it out.
From Brighouse Station, the bike ride couldn’t have been quicker or easier. It’s a flat, straight shot to Williams Road, which comes up quicker than you’d expect.
Broadmoor Bakery is a Richmond institution – they’ve been in business since 1958(!) and call themselves an “authentic Dutch European bakery.” I was curious to see exactly what that meant.
The bakery’s interior was warm and inviting, with jazz music playing as customers perused the long counters of goodies. On wooden racks behind these counters were dozens of loaves of bread, ranging from dark whole wheat to bags of light, flaky butter buns.
What first impressed me about this bakery was the sheer variety – the first case was stocked full of cookies alone, followed by bars, tarts, loaves, cupcakes, pastries, cakes, teacakes, pies, savouries, and much more. Within the case there were also substantial wedges of gouda, and 1 pound packages of plain marzipan for sale.
The savouries section is where you’ll find lunch. Broadmoor Bakery recently started serving organic soup, and will eventually also offer sandwiches. They sell various meat pot pies, sausage rolls, and curried chicken pockets, which you can take home and reheat, or have in-house. Yesterday’s soup was red lentil, so I had a bowl of that ($3.95), and asked for a curried chicken pocket to go along with it.
The soup was hot and hearty, and the savoury pastry was just the right size. Pastry-wrapped meat is a wonderful thing, but you only need so much of it.
After I was finished my lunch, I got to the much more difficult task of choosing dessert. One of their specialties are themed, icing-topped sugar cookies, one of my favourite I-feel-like-a-kid-again foods. I asked for two smiley faces, two daisies, and an old-fashioned pink stripe cookie, simply because the sign outside said Broadmoor Bakery: home of the pink stripe cookie.
I also asked for an almond tart, which, if we were in England, would be called a Bakewell Tart. They’re very old-fashioned, and consist of a tart shell, an almond paste filling, a layer of sweet white icing, and a maraschino cherry on top (there’s usually also another one hiding between the bottom of the tart and the almond paste). If that sounds super sweet to you, it’s because it is! I ADORE THEM, and this one was phenomenal. If you love the flavour of almonds but want something a little milder, you could try their other almond tarts (I can’t remember what they called them), but they’re almond paste in a more cookie-like casing.
Each day, Broadmoor has different gluten-free options, so I asked to try a petite ‘Canadian Cheese,’ which was rum-infused buttercream sandwiched between two rounds of meringue and rolled in toasted coconut.
Another English classic I bought was an Eccles Cake – a flat, flaky pastry filled with raisins/currants and orange peel, and topped with coarse sugar.
While the baked goods themselves seemed more English than Dutch (there were no speculaas or stroopwafels, for example), the wall to the left of the front entrance could NOT have been more Dutch. Its shelves contained box after box of dropjes, those black, salty bites of licorice which, to me, are the very definition of ‘acquired taste.’
My friend Dana, who grew up with Dutch parents, loves dropjes, so I got her a mixed bag of them. As always, I tried a few, but still can only handle the ones coated in a white candy shell. It offsets the strong flavour of the licorice, but maybe with a few more years of breaking in my licorice palate, I’ll be buying my own bags.
They also sell packages of sprinkles, which the Dutch like to put on their toast (much like we use peanut butter or jam). Considering sprinkles have approximately zero nutritional value, I’ve always found this hilarious, awesome, and confusing. But whatever, to each his or her own!
If you love a good, old-fashioned bakery, then Broadmoor Bakery is the place for you. I will most certainly go back to try more goodies, and if you’re in the area and looking for a tasty, wholesome lunch, stop in for a cup of soup and pastry. It’s also very reasonably priced – my bill came to about $20 for lunch, a box of treats, and a bag of dropjes for Dana. Not bad at all! Plus, the service was wonderful – very friendly.
If you know anyone who’s having a rough week, drop in and buy them a smiley face cookie. You’ll be a hero, I promise.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available