A short walk down from the famed El Jannah’s in Granville is Abla’s Pastries, which boast a strong selection of Middle Eastern sweets and pastries!
There were so, so many varieties of pastries and sweets to select from that we really struggled to narrow it down! In the end, we gave in and asked the lady behind the counter to explain what some of the selections were, which she helpfully did. Eventually, we ended up with a tasting plate that included 10 different sweets, the majority of which were many different kinds of baklava, and also some shortbread pastries dusted in icing sugar as well. Unfortunately, the names of most of the different varieties of baklava are difficult to find, so I’ll just describe the shapes! My personal favorites were the cashew based pastries, since I prefer cashews over pistachios, which formed the basis of the other varieties. In particular, the ‘lady finger’ or ‘log roll’ baklava was the best by far, with the filling being light and airy to complement the soft nuttiness of the filling. There was also a hint of rosewater syrup through it, which was lovely and sweet! Overall it was very well constructed, and tasted beautiful! I also enjoyed the round version (in the center of the plate) which had the same filling in slightly thicker pasty. The square variety with the white top was my least favorite, as the pastry topping was quite stringy and dry, and the pistachio filling had a very strong nutty flavour that overwhelmed the pasty, making it not quite as enjoyable to eat. The icing sugar shortbread was also lovely, and had a good filling, with a tasty biscuit outer that really made it a great option as an alternative to filo pastry! Most of the options either came with a cashew or pistachio filling, so I would keep that in mind when ordering, but it’s worthwhile to try a range of things to find out what you personally like!
The cafe itself is very difficult to spot, being not in the main strip of shops but around the corner and then a short walk away, and the outside is also not very distinctive. Inside, however, is a visual eating dream, with a lengthy counter of both sweets and pastries inside a glass cabinet, and then baskets and hampers of sweets, cakes, chocolates and other treats on the outside. There aren’t, however, any signs to say what each particular variety is, so expect to rely heavily on whoever is serving to figure out which pastries are which if you haven’t tried Middle Eastern sweets before! There’s ample seating if you choose to dine in or grab dessert after dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants or eateries in Granville, but we chose to take away since we wanted to share the pastries and try a bit of each!
Considering my love for all things sweet, and desserts in general, Abla’s Pastries gave me a great way to try a new dessert cuisine, as well as satisfying my sugar fix! All up, we paid $9 for a plate of 10 pastries, which was great value, and they’re normally around $1 a piece. I really enjoyed most of their pastries, and trying a bit of everything helped me to figure out what I liked to order better for next time! While it’s a bit of a trek, the pastries are definitely worth the travel, so give it a try sometime!!