Maxim's Cafe Patisserie
676 Finch Ave East, east of Bayview
Lunch and dinner
seven days, 11.30am to 11 pm or 12pm
10% gratuity added to bill
Cash only under$25
A good and nice meal! No fakery! By people who care! Reasonably priced! Wow!
I thought that it had potential when we walked in. There was a basket of bananas on top of the cake cabinet. They were ......spotted! They were ........ripe!!
There are a bunch of salads, appetizers and mains. Try the prix fixe. Lots of choice.
Prices range from $15 for the entree plus $8 for the rest (Seafood vol au vent, chicken breast) to $28 (AAA 18oz rib steak) plus $8 etc. Most items are $18 plus or minus a dollar. (Braised ox tail in red wine, duck a l'orange, orange roughy etc).
So you get the main, and for $8 comes garlic bread, a small salad, soup, dessert your choice from the cabinet and tea or coffee.
Lunch is $12 to $15 , soup or salad, entree (omelette $12, lamb shank $ smoked salmon pasta $13etc) , dessert, tea or coffee.
Maxim was started by the father, who many years ago was a pastry chef in a fancy Hong Kong hotel, and then many places elsewhere. The business is carried on by his sons.
Now our meals.
The cooking is sort of French.
Portions are small, but everything on the plate is good and should be eaten. That includes the garnishes and the decorative fruit sauces on the dessert plate.
I had a lamb shank for supper and a tomato orange pepper pancake style "omelette" for lunch. My friend had the Thai red grouper curry ($14 plus $8).
A characteristic of good French cooking is that everything is not quite enough, but in the end it is perfect. Maxim's takes the "not quite enough" part up a notch. But this is not necessarily a criticism. It seems that the great majority of their customers are Chinese. Chinese are said to have a more refined and sensitive palate than Caucasians. They tend to be smaller people and they have avoided the Caucasian obesity epidemic. Also, everyone is entitled to bring their own aesthetic spin on their cooking, and the owners are Chinese. So a bit lighter, a bit thinner, a bit smaller can be just right too and certainly legitimate for everyone. The net result for me is that I went back the next day for lunch- and I'm Polish!
And yes the rice with the fish curry dish was brilliant (fn. J.O.).
The patisserie. I have little interest in dessert and even less interest in pastry baking and consequentially my opinion is less reliable. Hey, it's not bread! I would rather have a bowl of cooked pears with ice cream and chocolate sauce. So all I can say is that what we had was more than acceptable.
Special mention of the lunch omelette. It was just beautifully cooked, as good as you can hope to find anywhere. I am working on getting the recipe out of them. No luck so far- its a secret I was told. Please advise if you go and figure it out.