Soup, sammie and a smile

At Delica Kitchen the mood is festive, the pace busy but not hurried, and the food is impressive. This is a first.

At Delica Kitchen the mood is festive, the pace busy but not hurried, and the food is impressive. This is a first.

I am immediately struck by the bright, clean feel of the room, with its white walls and well-placed lighting that keep the long, skinny space aglow. Printed quotations in black text within recessed white frames offer food for thought and keep the overall look uncluttered.

This simplicity lets the room’s other features take centre stage: namely, a long pine bar that runs end to end showcasing the day’s offerings. Designer Bradley Denton knew what he was doing.

Delica prepares their sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods daily, from scratch, and they pride themselves on assembling high-quality and wholesome ingredients using time-honoured traditions.

Quinoa salad ($3.99, small) mixes the goosefoot seeds with walnuts, dried cranberries, curlicues of lemon rind, flat parsley and diced tomato. The mild but flavourful assembly serves as both a light lunch stand alone or as a fine accompaniment to soup or salad.

Squash soup ($3.99, small), the daily bowl, succeeds on many levels. Maple syrup and apple cider additions sound like a recipe for overload, but they add subtle fruity sweetness to the gourd’s natural starchiness. The soup’s consistency is thinner than expected, but after just two sips, we’re not sure we’ll ever go back.

Sandwiches divide into three categories: Out the Door (cold), A Couple Minutes (hot) and Between the Grill. Fresh and flaky Ace ciabatta roll holds flaked white tuna mixed in mild vinaigrette made interesting with wasabi and soy, aerated avocado spread and slices of cucumber in an Asian-style tuna sandwich ($7.99).

The cukes lost their crunch, a result of being prepared ahead of the lunch rush.

My lunch companion with the amazing appetite control can’t resist gobbling down both halves of the Parisienne ($7.99), a layering of smoked ham, Gruyère, perfect cross-sections of cored Bosc pear, roasted garlic aïoli and Dijon in an Ace white flute. Each flavour shines without overpowering the others. I wish she’d share more.

One of the seven black-clad servers behind the long counter confesses his addiction to Delica’s homemade Oreos ($1.25 each). I can see the glint in his eye, and I immediately take him up on his challenge. He’s right: Even though I’m a bit of a traditionalist, when it comes to childhood favourites, after eating owner-barista Devin Connell’s version, I will never go back.

These little cookies pack a powerful punch. We linger a bit, and no one shoots us dirty looks for hogging the stools. This is a fine place and a great addition to the neighourhood, and our fresh, healthful and reasonably priced lunch was one to remember.

Delica Kitchen 1440 Yonge St. 416-546-5408 Lunch for two excluding tax, tip and alcohol: $40

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO