A New Café Joins Old Strathcona
review by Ariel Delorme
La Bosco Bakery and Café, doing a unique French-Korean twist on desserts and coffee, is a brand-new shop in the surrounding industrial area three blocks south of Whyte avenue. With wheelchair accessibility and plenty of parking, both on the side street and in a designated parking lot around the back of the building, it’s one of the more convenient cafés in Old Strathcona.
The grand opening had taken place on September 29th but I had assumed they would be busy and arranged with a friend to go on October 4th. I’d found it on an Edmonton blog called Only Here For the Food. The owners of the café had also created an Instagram prior to opening and been advertising there, so it was pretty well known. Even though it was six days after the grand opening, it was still a forty five minute wait, so clearly people were still eager to check out this new café.
When you walk up to the building, you can see the large patio area outside which is enclosed by a fence. Half of the patio is on a clean-cut lawn, while the other is stone flooring with fairy lights hanging above, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
It was lucky the weather was still nice because the line extended out of the building. While my friend Jason and I stood in line, I remarked that the setup looked akin to an outdoor wedding reception. There was loud jazz music playing and two children were dancing next us on the patio while they waited in line. There were two entrances at the front of the building; one was intended to be an exit, but it was right where the bathrooms were located so people in line were taking turns freshening up while we waited.
Once inside, the interior was made to appear cozy, with more fairy lights across the visible rafters. There were bookshelves filled with knickknacks and plants placed here and there. While standing in line, there was a long table filled with cookies for sale. We ignored those, instead choosing to save our appetites.
The closer we got to the counter, the better we could decide what we wanted as all the desserts were available for viewing through a glass case. At the time we went, most of them were sold out. There was also a large menu on the wall with sandwiches, soups, cold drinks, and hot drinks written in chalk. I could also see the remnants for a category for bingsoo that had been erased. Bingsoo is Korean shaved ice, a dessert, and the baristas later told me that it would be back on the menu at an unspecified time in the future. A couple savoury items on the menu were labelled as vegetarian, but there was nothing vegan available.
When I was called over by one of the baristas to order we had a bit of difficulty. It was hard to hear each other over the masks and loud music and the giant, plastic barricade between us, so we had to shout at each other a bit to get my order across. It worked out in the end, though. I wasn’t too bothered – she was friendly.
I ordered a sandwich, two desserts, and an iced dalgona coffee, and Jason got the same thing plus a waffle. It ended up being way too much food for the two of us, but we got to sample a variety of things they have to offer. Both of our bills ended up being around $40; all of the items were around the $10 mark. Jason was a little miffed about spending so much for my review, but he was starving, so he got over it quick.
For those who aren’t in the know, dalgona coffee is a creamy, whipped coffee that was created at the start of the covid pandemic, originating in South Korea. It’s slowly gaining popularity world-wide and La Bosco Café had a large sign at the cashier advertising the specific drink. Both of us liked it a lot. We’d never heard of it until we walked inside and saw the sign, so we decided to get it. It was a little too sweet, and it tasted a bit more like coffee-flavoured cream rather than coffee with cream in it, but I enjoyed it.
After ordering, we were given a pager that would buzz us to come get our sandwiches when they were ready. The drinks and desserts were given to us immediately. We went and sat at the only empty table, which was located near the entrance.
Of the desserts, the cheesecake souffle and cookie choux were my favourite. The cheesecake had a creamier and softer texture than I was used to and the cookie choux was basically a giant cream puff with some of the most flavourful cream I’ve ever had. Jason loved the strawberry shortcake and finished it before I could have more than a bite.
We both agreed that the desserts focused more on being creamy and having a pleasant texture than being very sweet. We’d also ordered a cinnamon almond danish, but it was dry and we didn’t like it. The shelves had been mostly empty when we’d ordered, so we’d just ordered what was there. The staff ended up filling the case again a bit later but we didn’t want to get back in line.
Neither of us were in love with the sandwiches. I’d gotten the very berry turkey, which I thought would taste thanksgiving-ish, but they had used cold cut turkey slices rather than roast turkey bits. They also only had white bread, which I loathe. Jason got the soy beef sandwich. He found the sauce they used for it too sweet and he didn’t finish it. Salad came with the sandwiches, but it was really just spring mix with balsamic dressing, and it remained untouched. I’ll only eat salad if there’s been effort to make it taste good and Jason is one of those men who doesn’t like vegetables.
The waffle, however, was delicious. It was very decadent and we couldn’t finish it, but if I came back on an empty stomach I would order it again. More of a place for yummy coffees and desserts than savoury food, in my opinion, even if the option is there.
It was definitely a place I would come back to. There were quite a few people with their laptops plugged in, doing homework while they sipped their coffees. Plenty of friends chatting away while they snacked. As of the moment, with how busy La Bosco is, I would feel weird staying too long. The staff were by no means rushing anyone to leave but they did appear stressed with how many new customers they had to handle. Once it quiets down, I’ll be heading back.
La Bosco Bakery and Café
10413 79 Ave