A look inside: Phoenix Cafe

By Sukaina Jamil

A Hong Kong style cafe is not something you hear about everyday - which is why Phoenix Cafe and Restaurant has been doing so well in the GTA since 2004. Their first location was opened in Markham, with another one in the city opening it’s doors soon after. Thirteen years and four locations later, a Phoenix Cafe was finally available in the downtown core.

Just steps away from Ryerson University, Phoenix Cafe opened for business in April of 2017. The establishment features authentic food and drink inspired by the culture and flavours of Hong Kong.

“We’re one of the only Hong Kong styled cafes that you can find in downtown,” said Kenny Lam, supervisor of the restaurant. “Unless you go all the way to Chinatown, you won’t be able to find another place like this.”

With a vast menu consisting of all-day breakfast options, curries, noodles, rice and desserts, a trip to Chinatown might no longer be needed for people on-the-go in downtown Toronto.

A popular menu item is the Pad Thai, which can be ordered with either shrimp, chicken or vegetables. The dish comes served with delicious roasted peanuts sprinkled on top, adding a unique, original flavour to it.

Customers also frequently order the Shrimp Fried Rice and Malaysia Curry, all cooked fresh in-house and served steaming hot.

More favoured than the hot meals are the desserts and drinks at Phoenix Cafe. With all options ranging from different ice creams, baked goods and milk teas distinctive to Hong Kong, any sweet tooth will find satisfaction here.

The Thick Ice Cream Toast is a customer favourite, featuring a huge slice of crispy toast with hints of butter topped, along with an ice cream of any flavour, and sliced caramelized bananas and strawberries. Ice cream flavours range from your basic vanilla and chocolate, to a more unique green tea and black sesame.

According to Kenny, the milk teas are popular among customers due to the convincing Hong Kong style in which they are made.

“We make it differently than other Chinese restaurants and tea stores,” he said. “The tea is cooked in a pot and then strained, and we use evaporated milk so that it’s creamier and has a sweeter taste than others you might find. It really stands out against other tea.”

Other drinks offered are milkshakes, ice cream floats and smoothies. Try a scoop of green tea ice cream with some Sprite, not something you can find easily anywhere else!