68 de la Gauchetiere Ouest
Metro: Place d’Armes
Bus: STM 55, 80, 129, 150, 410, 427, 430, 435, 747
Visit: November 25, 2012
If you’re Asian and even if you’re not, there’s a feeling of pride when it comes to a Chinese pastry shop. The amount of people who go gaga over these places is absolutely mind-numbing. The feeling to total support isn’t for nothing, a lot of Chinatown’s pastry shops are definitely worth the hype. The question now is if a relative newcomer to the already loaded scene can pick up on that momentum. For a weird answer to that question, I turned to La Légende.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m half-Chinese and that it does shape how I go about my life. The other French-Canadian side of me, in a way, fights that as much as possible. The Chinese pastry shop has been part of my childhood for as long as I can remember. The amount of egg tarts I’ve eaten over the years is just simply astonishing to a point where I swore off them. So, it might surprise people that these days, the Chinese pastry shop isn’t a place you’d find me that often.
The reason for the visit was more or less a spur of the moment decision. My family’s monthly outing took us next door to Ethan, which also happens to be the partner restaurant of this establishment. As you can see above, the sheer amount of dishes we ordered flabbergasted the server. But, as they took away empty plate after empty plate, we showed them. In a way, it’s unfair to say that Ethan has terrible service, you just have to know how to approach things. Our server was actually quite entertaining. After our meal over there, we stumbled our way into the pastry shop next door.
At first, we weren’t really feeling that good about getting much of anything. When you come in, you’re hit with an immense amount of really interesting things to eat. The entrance way contains all the sweets, while the other corridor has some of the more heavy meal items.
One of the chief complaints that people would have is the level of customer service. If you’re familiar with the way things work in Chinatown, you’ll know that there are two extremes to the reception you’ll get. Either you’ll end up with a charismatic person who really attends to your every need or you’ll get the person who always seems to wake up on the wrong side of bed. The thing is, you rarely ever get the middle of that. What I just described can be applied here as well. Just tread lightly because you’re not here to make friends, just to get fed and don’t mind the staff member who “politely” asks you if you’re done with your table.
The displays are your typical pastry shop set-up that makes you work a bit for your food. There are cafeteria trays readily available for use to collect your goods. Once you select what you want, you take it to the counter and pay for what you want. That’s the normal approach you should take when you come to a place like this.
For me, since I don’t do anything like a normal person, I went and stuck my nose right up to the front counter because I saw something that I would never expect to see in a million years. I’ve always said to myself that I would never find a burger in the limits of Chinatown and that’s still true, I hope. But, the item I spotted in the display case at the cash just pulled me in with its tremendous gravitational pull.
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Yes, this is indeed a chocolate mousse cake. I can just see people reading this now. Some of them are wondering how I can enter a Chinese pastry shop and choose the one thing that’s furthest away from the “authentic” experience. Well, all I’m going to say to respond to that thought is that I’ve been there, done that. At this point in what I’m doing, I go for the things that appeal to me, no matter where I find them, like the burger in a pizza shop complaint I got years back.
What really surprised me as well was the price for one piece of chocolate mousse cake. It was a nice, even $2.50. There are places that sell similar cakes for almost twice as much. I spent the better part of the remaining moments of the visit trying to figure out why it was so inexpensive. It didn’t hurt either that the cashier made sure to ask how many pieces of the cake I wanted.
The cake itself was more or less worth the money I paid for it. I want to be able to say that it was tremendous, but in reality, it was okay. I was asked numerous times as I was eating what I was thinking and disappointment wasn’t really it. I’m just happy I managed to find one of my favorite desserts of 2012 in a place that was unexpected. It seemed like a chocolate mousse cake, but it was just a tad too hard compared to some of the other cakes I’ve had in the past.
On our way out, I just had to take this picture. It’s the display that’s prominently featured at the front of the shop. I’ve always been fascinated by the places that take the time and spend the money to recreate the dishes they offer.
While I’m sure I didn’t really clarify anything when it comes to this pastry shop, you should know that it’s one of those things that attracts a whole bunch of people in Chinatown. They offer a wide variety of items that should make anyone happy, if you don’t mind dealing with the service. For me, I managed to find something that I never thought I’d find on that night.