For those of you following me closely, you may have noticed a number of Syrian restaurants covered on my blog and social platforms of late. Partly due to nostalgia and partly due to Ramadan, tonight's destination would – sort-of – continue this streak.
While not necessarily a Syrian eatery, the chocolate haven under the name of holychoco is in fact owned by a Syrian! This factoid notwithstanding, the real reason this Sherbrooke Street pastry shop was chosen was for suhur, the Muslim tradition of consuming a pre-dawn meal ahead of a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Granted it was only 11PM when my friend and I converged here on this Sunday night (a far cry from the crack of dawn), we had to make due with holychoco's closing time of 1:30AM.
tagged: SUNDAY NIGHT
Open since 2019, I was previously invited here around two years ago. Given that was midway through the COVID-19 pandemic along with its restrictions, I was not surprised to face an empty room. Tonight would be a different story however, as throngs of night owls would flood the shop just shy of midnight.
Clearly we were not the only observers of Ramadan seeking a sugary nightcap before bedtime! Others seemingly opted for a guilty pleasure from the comfort of their homes, given the incessant flow of delivery drivers I spotted coming in and out.
Over the last few years, Montreal has been crawling with specialty dessert stores which all seem to follow a tried-and-true formula: a pastry of sorts is used as a base for a drizzle of sauces, which in turn serve as coating for more toppings. Sugar on sugar on sugar in other words.
At holychoco, a similar model is followed, where crepes, waffles/croffles or cookies are given a decadent treatment thanks to milk, white, or dark chocolate sauces, maple syrup, fruit, brownies, Oreo cookies, Rice Krispies and so much more. Other indulgences are also on offer such as a praline éclair, a brownie sandwich, fondues and milkshakes, in addition to hot and cold beverages.
Where holychoco distinguishes itself is with the chocolate used. Add $1 to most orders and uplevel the Nutella to Belgian chocolate, which is so much smoother and silkier and won't leave you full of regret afterward.
"homemade french crepe cut into ribbons, topped with four belgian chocolates, salted caramel crunchy pearls & rice krispies, served with vanilla ice cream"
"croissant dough in a waffle press, topped with belgian chocolate, strawberry, banana & kinder bueno, drizzled with white, caramel & dark chocolate"
Landing midway between a fast-casual operation and a full-service restaurant, at holychoco you place your order at the counter then the staff bring it to your table. Since everything is made on demand and the chocolate drizzles are artistically splatter-painted, you should expect to wait ten to fifteen minutes before being served. Think of it more as a café where you linger than a grab-and-go joint.
I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I rarely consume dessert outside of an after-meal ritual. Asides from the occasional ice cream in the summer (mostly in the presence of my kids), I can count on one hand the number of times I purposefully visited a pastry shop in the last decade.
Tonight would be an exception, which I hope to repeat in the near future – although preferably not so late at night! The combination of chocolatey decadence minus the feeling of sickness along with the convivial, hang-out vibe left me wanting for more. Clearly the feeling is shared among my fasting brethren on site tonight.
The next time you have a sugar craving and happen to be in the Quartier Latin or downtown Toronto (yes, there's a second location there), drop by for an (un)holy indulgence.
Price per person: $19
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.