My friends have poked fun at me - "I swear you live at Uncle Tetsu's!" - but I suppose I can't exactly blame them since I do admit to having a tendency to drop by one of their many (1, 2, 3) shops when roaming the core with company that's less familiar with the area.
I found myself in the area, as I generally do on some Saturday mornings, and was prompted to check out their Main Street Unionville outpost on Grand Opening Day. Despite having delayed my appearance (ribbon-cutting and opening speeches are best swapped for additional snooze time), the queue remained rather frightful-looking.
The hype was real. It was as if Markham hadn't ever been exposed to Uncle Tetsu before.
A nearby sign promoted the addition of ice cream to the menu. It also noted that there were "NO LINEUPS for Ice Cream and Madeleines", which immediately became a claim of interest to me, for I cared not about cheesecake that I've already had numerous tastings of. The mission was to obtain the bakery's Black Sesame, Blueberry, and Chocolate Madeleines - all of which were exclusive to the Main Street location.
"Do you know if there are there two different lines?" I pointed to the sign.
"I'm not sure." the sunglasses-donning figure replied with a prominent accent, "All I know is that there's cheesecake."
"Ah, I see." I blankly replied, making a desperate attempt to hide my response towards her ignorance.
"But I think you have to lineup for ice cream." she added with a slight twinge of indignation.
Well, I'm not joining your lineup, that's for sure.
A young man around my height stood near the doorway, away from the lineup and peering into the kitchen.
"Excuse me." My sudden intrusion on his personal space caused his head to turn in my direction. "Do you work here?"
As it turned out, he did, and was personally assisting customers in filling their non-cheesecake orders by running to and from the kitchen/cashier area. He further clarified that there were indeed separate lineups for ice cream and madeleines, though the shop had reached threshold capacity and had no other option than to relocate the barrier to accomodate the current volume of traffic.
His facial expression was both collected and hurried, and made great haste in delivering the previous customer's order before turning to me, who was, thankfully, the next in "line".
Their drink offerings differed slightly from the standard selection in that soy, almond, coconut, and lactose-free milk substitutions were readily available for most lattes. Economically speaking, they were fair considering the atmosphere and location.
Matcha Latte and Cappuccino orders were placed to go. They arrived shortly, at which point several photos of the sinking surface of the cappuccino were captured. As we gradually made ourselves more comfortable and began taking short sips of the steamy beverages, the girl from the cashier appeared with a slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake.
The cake proved to be creamy yet firm; it was evident that the consistency had been achieved as a result of a high gelatin content as opposed to traditional amounts of heavy cream. Pumpkin flavour was found to be a tad lacking, though the yuzu sauce lining the plate emerged as a more refreshing complement than the maple- or cinnamon-infused flavours normally associated with autumn. Additionally, the crust was worthy of notice: in place of a pressed layer of graham cracker crumbs was moist, syrup-soaked puff pastry. The flaky properties paired surprisingly well with smooth cheesecake formula above.
While bringing over the cake, the girl had also offered to remake the Cappuccino. Having observed its current state, we glady accepted. Materializing from the kitchen several minutes later was a silky smooth product with a beautifully executed microfoam heart. The Matcha Latte also succeeded in winning my heart - the fact that they used unsweetened green tea powder was a bonus.
The thick and impeccably cheesy slice was delivered shortly, topped with a dollop of cream and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint. It was beyond me how Touhenboku had managed to incorporate both the bitter grassiness of matcha and velvety consistency of cream cheese into one solid slice while Uncle Tetsu'srendition had been met with disaster and disappointment. The same puff pastry crust had been utilized, much to my sheer enjoyment.
Menus were handed to us immediately after being seated. Oddly enough, garden salads were also shoved in our direction before we had even taken a peak at laminated pages.
Our items were tiny. The skewers themselves were tiny. And let's not omit the fact that each piece retained all the grease and charring but not even the slightest bit of flavour at all. Simply put, it was digusting - disturbing even.
There was no accompanying sauce, but rather a drizzle of the burnt liquid produced from excessive, cancerous charring.
And did I mention that the serving plate was plastic instead of stone? The serving utensils and plating compositions were a total mess, much like their grime-covered bathroom.
Blueberry was essentially the original Madeleine formula but with the addition of blueberry jam. The aftertaste is more buttery than the former, and approximately just as moist as the original version.
Give Uncle Tetsu Main Street a try next time! Hopefully, they'll have sorted our their queue partitions by then.