QUEEN OF TARTS (283 Roncesvalles, at Westminster, 416-651-3009) The former Bathurst patisserie relocates to Roncesvalles and expands its line of sensational dessert tarts to include savoury mini-pies. Strictly take-away, but unparalleled. Complete light meals for $10 per person, including all taxes. Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm. Closed Monday and holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door, no washrooms. Rating: NNNN
Fearless eater thinks he's struck gold when he spots on my Frigidaire shelf one of the Queen of Tarts' new savoury creations. He knows he's not supposed to -- after all, this leek, mascarpone and Stilton tart (all tarts $4) is sitting on my "work" shelf (warning: eat and face the Wrath of Steve) -- but he sneaks a quick one anyway. "These are amazing!" he splutters from the kitchen. "Like cheesecake!"
He never listens. I've only been raving for two days about Q of T's snazzy new digs on Roncesvalles and how the flavours of her latest batch of pint-sized pies are so swoon-inducing that a solitary nibble produces 15 minutes of rapture. They're deceptive little tarts; at four bucks a pop and only 4 inches in diameter, they look kinda like quiche but they're pure ambrosia.
Sinfully rich with creamy chèvre, Mediterranean-inspired tarts come laced with pink-speckled pepper, black olives and mushroom. With its pinched puff pastry crust, a thyme-scented galette of caramelized onion, more 'shrooms and runny Brie would make a great light summery dinner alongside seasonal greens. And fabulously flaky sun-dried cherry and orange scones ($1.50) are super with a morning cuppa or as a late-night snack.
Not that the Queen of Tarts' owner, Stephanie Pick, has lost her sweet tooth. Square, smooth lemon tarts criss-crossed with candied rind, and oval pastries piled with tart cranberries and slivered, honeyed almonds are right up there with her acclaimed chocolate chipotle wonders.