Neighbourhood: Osborne Village
Address: 201-99 Osborne St
In a neighbourhood whose reputation is built on many “firsts,” Osborne Village now boasts the city’s inaugural Japanese-style crêpe joint. Kawaii Crepe is winning the hearts of young and old alike as it introduces Japanese street food to the heart of the continent.
Japanese crêpes vary in presentation and texture compared to the French variety. For starters, in Japan crêpes are rolled like ice-cream cones. Crêpe batter is poured on a skillet, then topped with fillings, wrapped in paper and eaten as a hand-held, street snack. The crêpe’s edges are also notably crispy compared to the French version.
Meaning “cute” in Japanese, Kawaii embraces its name. Everything from the eatery’s adorable winking crêpe logo to the mod squad interior to the cleverly named crêpes amp up the cute quotient.
Inside, diners can watch their crêpes being made behind a glass partition at the counter or chill out on contemporary red and white plastic chairs. The room itself is stark white, with bright and cheerful splashes of primary colours splattered on the walls.
Customers typically linger near a colourful menu mounted on the wall deciding which urge to satisfy: sweet or savoury.
For the savoury crowd, “The Osborne Branch” is a deliciously ooey gooey combination of melted cheddar, ranch dressing, and grilled chicken. Crispy pieces of bacon add salty punch that counterbalances the pancake’s sweetness.
Health conscious diners can sub in a multigrain crêpe for $1.50. In “Chickplease”, the flax seedspeckled, multigrain crêpe is well matched with roasted red peppers and snap-fresh sprouts. A smear of garlic-spiked house-made hummus infuses every bite.
Kawaii flirts with Thai cuisine in “Hit Me Baby One More Thai”. Peppers, mushrooms, onion and tender pieces of chicken are cooked in a house-made green curry base. At first bite, the curry is deceptively mild. The heat intensifies at the crêpe’s soft tip.
Dessert options also captivate. The signature “Stewy Rooey” combines a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream with a generous portion of house-made rhubarb crisp spiced with the perfect amount of cinnamon.
Fresh fruit, like shaved coconut and pineapple, are used in creamy bubble teas and other specialty drinks. Pair Kawaii’s apple cider, replete with lemon wedge and cinnamon stick, with “Apples Gone Wild.” The cinnamon-laced caramelized apple crêpe and drink are soothing treats to warm up with on a chilly winter night.