Lucullus Bakery offers an array of perplexingly mediocre buns.
It takes three visits to newly launched Lucullus (31 Elm, at Yonge, 416-792-1886, lucullusbakery.com, rating: NN) to eventually score a six-pack of the Richmond Hill-based bakery's celebrated egg tarts ($1.65 each), such is the demand. But after all that, they're not all that.
Compared to the terrific Portuguese egg tarts found at Venezia on Ossington these Chinese-style pastries taste like something's missing. We're guessing butter. How else to explain their too-crumbly crusts and overly bland custard fillings? The signature pineapple buns ($1.55) are just as distressing, their sweet fruit topping reduced to powder. And who makes sponge cake ($1.20 slice) with chocolate that recalls Nestlé's Quik?
The savoury buns perplex as well, the exception an off-the wall combo of curried beef and hard-boiled egg in a sugar donut ($1.85) that could be like the love child of Tim Horton and the Patty Queen - so wrong it's right. Instead of barbecued char siu pork like we used to get at the sadly gone Yung Sing on Baldwin, we get shredded pork and the odd bit of Spanish onion in a saccharine sauce not that far from ketchup. Students at nearby Ryerson will approve once they find the place.
There are others stuffed with shredded chicken or canned tuna or "luncheon" meat. The white-bread buns themselves would be more at home wrapped around hot dogs. Perhaps that explains those stuffed with wieners (all $1.65).
With our a sandwich of nicely grilled Angus sirloin dressed with caramelized red onions on ($6.95), we switch out house-baked white for house-baked white littered with fancy flax seeds. Another two bucks brings a side of what the menu calls Russian borscht ($4.95 à la carte). 'Scuse us, but we understood borscht to be a beet soup and not beef trimmings in a sweet gravy thick with barley, carrots, cabbage and a honkin' whack of corn on the cob. No bad thing, but it ain't borscht.Steven Davey