When my girlfriends and I arrive at The Middle Spoon on a Saturday night in February, the bitter cold has pierced through my coat and I'm tempted to order a coffee to warm up. But then I look at the cocktail menu and swiftly come to my senses.
It's 10pm. Several tables are full, but we manage to score three seats at the bar. These seats really are the best ones--- watching the staff craft the bar's creative cocktails is almost like a dinner theatre. The space is filled with intimate, cluster-styled seating---appropriate since desserts are often shared. Striking light fixtures, mirrors and large pieces of artwork act as focal points against the red and silvery-mauve walls. The leather furniture adds a touch of sex appeal.
As we pore over the cocktail list, we're overwhelmed---not only by the selection of sweet and savoury drinks, but also the variety of ingredients that go into each one. We ask the bartender his favourites and each choose one of his suggestions.
My gals order the Ur Welcome; a mix of Irish whiskey, sake, fresh citrus juice and lemon and basil syrup ($9.75) and For The Troops; made with tequila, honey bourbon, fresh juices, agave and black peppercorn syrup and egg white. I get the Kentucky Sour: honey bourbon, fresh citrus juices, lemon and basil syrup, egg white and allspice. With each mouthful, I can taste each ingredient. We groan as we try each others' tipples.
When we make a decision on the evening's sweets, my friends order the apple Bavarian tart ($9.99) and the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ($7.99). I decide on a contrasting flavour to their spicy options and choose the Lemon Pavlova ($8.50).
It's time for another round. My friends settle on cocktails called iPatch ($9) and MSG ($9.75). I can't resist a drink called Silver Fox ($9.50).
When the desserts arrive, we practically squeal with delight. The carrot cake is sandwiched between layers of the best cream cheese frosting I've ever had---inherently simple, with minimal sweetness---making it an excellent match to the moist, spicy cake. The apple Bavarian tart is described on the menu as tasting "like apple pie and cheese cake had a delicious baby." And so it is. The lovely buttery crust holds a tangy cream cheese mixture, topped with thin pieces of apple and dusted with cinnamon. My friend---who lacks the proverbial sweet tooth---defends the last bite with her fork.
The lemon curd-filled meringue is topped with raspberries and served with a spoonful of raspberry coulis. If you're a lemon lover, this one's for you. The pure, zingy curd is nestled within a crisp, feather-light meringue. I crack off a piece of meringue and use it as a spoon to scoop up a mouthful of curd.
We're happy with our desserts, but we all long for a savoury item on the menu. At that very moment, I spy a jar of nuts and my curiosity is rewarded when a dainty glass of complimentary spiced rosemary nuts arrives in front of us.
There is a great selection of chocolatey, spicy and fruity options for both desserts and cocktails at The Middle Spoon. For a special occasion---like a Valentine's date---or just to curb your sugar craving, there is a dessert for every taste. The drink prices are somewhat steep, but they're appropriately priced considering the preparation required to craft each one. Cocktails or pie? Whichever way you slice it---if you like sweets, this place is sure to hit the spot.