The Dutch Bakery and Coffee Shop
We always visit the Dutch Bakery and Coffee House on those days when ONLY a vanilla slice will do. There is something insanely comforting about vanilla-flecked, eggy custard oozing between gossamer papery layers. The Dutch Bakery has been owned and operated by the Schaddelee Family since 1956 and, thank goodness, little has changed in the intervening years.
The Dutch is one of the few remaining bakeries in Victoria where one can find classic European styles cakes and pastries such as dollar rolls (marzipan coated almond cake), Kirsch tarts, mocha cakes, petits fours, eclairs, Black Forest cake and the aforementioned vanilla slices. These folks have the audacity to use gluten, sugar and fat the way your Grandma did…copiously, and with pride and love. Every time I enter the shop I have to control my urge to run a lap of the shop high-fiving the staff before tackling the baker and enveloping him in a loving bear hug.
These folks have the audacity to use gluten, sugar and fat the way your Grandma did…copiously, and with pride and love.
Walking in to the restaurant (which is tucked behind the bakery), you feel as if you have been catapulted back in time. Many restaurants try to replicate the aesthetic of fifties diners. This is the real deal. We worried a recent renovation would change things. Fortunately, other than a new coat of paint, it is business as usual at the Dutch. We love perching on the stools at the long counter and watching the servers perform their intricate ballet of pouring coffee and whisking plates to and fro.
The Dutch Coffee Shop serves up breakfast and lunch. A full breakfast, including eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast rings in at just $6.20. A coffee or tea with Danish, muffin or fruit bun is $3.15. There isn’t a better breakfast deal in town. If you are having lunch, savour the vegetable noodle soup with homemade veal mini-meatballs, a house specialty. They make a mean grilled cheese sandwich here, no frills, just crispy, toasty, liberally buttered bread with hot molten cheddar cheese oozing out, just like mom used to make (you can add a garden salad or scoop of potato salad to any sandwich or burger for just $2.75).
The Dutch Coffee Shop would be a great place to take your grandma for lunch or just go with a friend and enjoy a classic clubhouse and a root beer float. Most of the clientele at the Dutch are over 70. We say, why let senior citizens have all the fun? Forget “faux” old – go for the REAL deal!
PETE’S PICKS – Uitsmmyter (Dutch Style Ham and Eggs) – 2 slices of toast with ham and 2 eggs served open faced), hot turkey pie, vegetable meatball soup, sausage roll, grilled cheese sandwich with potato salad, apple tart, vanilla slice.IMBIBE: Rootbeer float, good old Red Rose Tea, coffee
Dutch Bakery Cake was the Opium of our Childhood
– A Personal History of the Dutch Bakery –
If you were a kid in Victoria in the 1970’s the words “Dutch Bakery” meant one thing – someone was having a birthday. If you wanted to guarantee attendance to your party during the busy spring birthday season you simply had to drop one key phrase while passing your fire truck or kitten themed birthday invitations around the schoolyard – “I’m having a Dutch Bakery Cake”. This was sure to crack even the toughest of the cool kids who normally wouldn’t consider attending a party with you and your wretched ilk. Your birthday was your one chance each year to lure playground royalty to your home and who knows, maybe win that ultimate reward…an invitation to the cool kids home.
But before reaching for this glittering prize there was serious work to be done. Obtaining a Dutch Bakery cake for your party wasn’t an easy task. You had to be on your best behavior for at least 2 weeks before approaching your mother with your formal request, and she always had her defenses prepared. The cakes at Safeway were cheaper and “just as good”, besides the Dutch Bakery would require a trip downtown and the ensuing battle for a parking space. It took just the right balance of moistened eyeballs, quivering lip, and slow sad lowering of the head toward the floor to win her over.
Of course you weren’t the only working for your chance to wrap your lips around that sweet creamy delight. All of your invitees had their own battles ahead. Bringing home a birthday party invitation was usually greeted with exasperation and despair. “Jesus Holy C, this is the 3rd one in 2 weeks. Who the hell is this kid, you’ve never even mentioned his name before. How do you expect me to pay for all these gifts not to mention your braces, and your sister’s dance lessons”. We would promise our parents anything (with our fingers crossed behind our backs) to get a taste of that sweet DB custard cream filling. Dutch Bakery cake was the opium of our childhood and once tasted we just wanted to be locked in a darkened basement, laid out on silken pillows and injected with a pastry bag of baby blue icing administered by a vision in wooden clogs and a Dutch cap.
To the outside world I maintain that I have long given up my most beloved of weaknesses, but if the truth be told on occasion I still head to the DB and leave with a discreet 8 x 8 box wrapped in string. With the lights down and no one around I press my face into the sweet layers of silky soft cake. My eyes roll up into my head and I hear the soothing tap of Klopmens as I float off on a yellow custard cloud.
Location: 718 Fort Street, Victoria. View in Google Maps Visit the Dutch Bakery’s wonderful website HERE
Recommended Listening: “Double Dutch” by Malcom Mclaren