Voulez-vous des crêpes? Oui s'il vous plaît! For the lovers of all things French and sweet, Le Carpe Diem is the place to go to. It's not a hard find along Grenfell Street (towards East Terrace) and the cafe is rustically decorated with wooden tables and along-the-wall seats with cushions and books all over the place. A friend and I came here for a late lunch for a bit of winding down after stressing over a (finally completed) presentation.
As soon as we walked in we could smell this amazing buttery smell and it only made us even hungrier. The hardest part was to choose what to eat! The cafe's specialties are their crepes - both sweet and savoury are available - but they also have a range of cakes, pastries and other desserts which looked absolutely delicious.
|Nantes Crepe: smoked salmon, swiss gruyere creme fraiche & dill ($14.50)|
I really wanted to try both savoury and sweet since I knew one crepe wasn't going to fill me up. They were kind of pricey so we decided to order one sweet crepe each and split a savoury. The salmon crepe was made with buckwheat flour and didn't taste much of anything. The outsides of the crepe are hollow so I'd advise you to mix it in with the fillings. It gets a lot better when you hit the middle where the melted cheese, salmon and creme fraiche all work together beautifully.
|Berenice Crepe: salted caramel butter, walnuts & vanilla ice-cream ($10.50)|
I was really excited for the salted caramel butter but it wasn't as strong as I expected. The walnuts added an interesting texture contrast to the light and soft crepe, and when you eat all four elements together it does taste pretty yum. In terms of the actual crepe, I preferred the sweet over the savoury. It was softer and even by itself had more taste than the plain buckwheat.
|Chocolat Viennois: $5.50|
This was SO good. I was expecting just a basic hot chocolate, but this was anything but. The chocolate drink had been beaten so it was light and frothy but it hadn't lost any of it's creaminess or smoothness. In fact it was almost like drinking liquid chocolate mousse - in the best possible way. The fact that it was topped with whipped cream and came with an extra jug of the delicious chocolate was a bonus. Okay, I lied. The whipped cream was not a bonus, it was pretty much why I ordered it.
|Hortense Crepe: strawberry sorbet, strawberry jam & whipped cream (10.50)|
Overall it was a beautiful place to spend an afternoon albeit a bit expensive. You really do feel like you're in France somewhere since the waiters speak French to each other and to customers as well, and the background music is played from a French radio station. (We heard Dancing Queen by ABBA being sung in French. It was weird.)
For me the crepes alone were definitely not enough to fill me up for a main meal, but for a light morning or afternoon tea they would be perfect. Service was quite good - our crepes came out in pretty reasonable time although it wasn't all together. I'm guessing it fills up pretty quickly on the weekends, so come during the week if you want quicker service.