The small and intimate Peche Patisserie is so busy on a Saturday and Sunday, now that word has got out, that it is necessary to book in order to guarantee a seat. Being one of the breakfasting patrons when it first opened I feel a bit peeved about this and go there less. However, I live within walking distance of Peche and as my ego recovers I’m discovering that if I telephone when I feel a “Peche” coming on, pretty soon after I’m seated and indulging.
My personal affinity for the patisserie stems from my love of croissants in a country where curvy “bread” is called a croissant and eaten with delight by unassuming consumers. It is the only place I know of in Trinidad where, what I consider “real”, buttery, croissants that flake in your hands and melt in your mouth can be found. I had two guests new to Trinidad and one was French. Where else would I take them? It was time for the croissant test.
On opening the door we were met with the low hum of contentment that comes with the camaraderie that good food inspires and the pictures on the walls, of Parisian cafes, trees, lent a Parisian feel to the place. Now, I must declare my bias before I go any further. I thoroughly enjoy every moment I have in Peche. I have often found the service to be slow but the waitresses(ers) have always been pleasant and some vivacious. I like the café feel that is busy, yet relaxed, intimate and homely and, of course, I love the croissants although if you go to early they may not be ready and sometimes when they are they are suspiciously not fresh. Well, the Frenchman thought the croissants were good and he and those who ordered the Eggs Norweigan were all delighted with their choice.
The Eggs Norweigan consisted of layers. Bread, smoked salmon, spinach, poached egg bathed in, I have to say, an off-putting, strongly-coloured, orange, Hollandaise sauce. To the consumers they were delicious and cooked well, overall, thoroughly gratifying. I ordered the yogurt, granola and strawberries. I have to say none of us had ever tasted yogurt like that and well I don’t think I’ll order that again. The granola was great, the strawberries were fine but the yogurt … it wasn’t natural yogurt. It seemed synthetic, not fresh. I don’t know what it was but it wasn’t for me.
In conclusion, go frequently, taste the pastries, partake in wonderful coffees and teas, explore the menu, see what you think and tell the engaging and hard-working owner, Khalid.
Soups, salads, sandwiches and sips.
A chance meeting in the street outside a well-known fast food chain restaurant:
“I came to buy a coffee and just realized that I forgot my money at home. Can I can I borrow some money?”
“Wait! Let’s go and get a proper coffee at The Canvas!”
Finding parking was a challenge that involved negotiating with a man selling children’s tricycles amongst other things. However, later, the owner of The Canvas did say that there was some parking available for customers at the back of the building.
We walked into the large, brown café that could seat some thirty odd people, with a model Eiffel Tower in one corner, flagged by figurines of Elvis and those M&M characters, pen and ink sketches of the Magnificent Seven and a large representation of croton leaves. A long bar, with seven stools, seemed to stretch across, almost, the whole of one of the walls. I chose a table with a chair on one side, booth type seating on the other. The waitress arrived quickly and we ordered two cappuccinos and I started to talk to some friends on the table next to us. They had ordered Eggs Benedict and a Quessadilla. They felt the dishes had been cooked properly but they felt they were not flavoursome. The spinach tasted suspiciously as if it was frozen.
On receiving our coffees we all agreed that the froth of the cappuccinos was severely lacking. There was some disagreement on the coffee itself. Some felt the coffee was “alright”, others felt it was weak and more like instant coffee. One person felt their cappuccino tasted like a latte. One thing the cappuccino drinkers all agreed on was that the froth left much to be desired. It was not full fluff, in some cases it was pretty much absent. Our waitress’ determination to make my experience an enjoyable one and her warm and friendly demeanour, almost, made up for my frothless cappuccino encounter. She certainly made up for the coffee experience as she made me a second, pretty much, frothless coffee. On talking to the owner about my morning in her bistro and listening to some of her teething experiences I discovered that after one year the challenges of staff turnover in a small business had left the present new staff not being as well trained as their predecessors. No, not good enough but, definitely a reality in this fair isle.
However, the enthusiasm of the waitress and the owner to make my experience in their establishment a positively memorable one as part of realizing their vision for The Canvas was refreshing in a land where the customer is too often an inconvenience. I feel that part of ensuring that we, customers, have satisfying culinary opportunities, of high quality, is that we must provide owners with honest and constructive feedback. So, I encourage you to visit The Canvas and tell the owner about your encounter.