3343 Boulevard des Sources (Centennial Plaza)
Phone: (514) 683-3050
Cost: $ 34.37 – tax and tip included.
Chef Hats: 4
Montreal has weekly restaurant openings but so is not the case in the land of suburbia. Openings are few and far in between, but a few days before Valentine’s Day in February a new dessert place called XO Cacao quietly opened on Sources Boulevard in Centennial Plaza. Aside from the sign in the window that once housed Pasta Tutti Giorni, no one was aware this innovative desert shop came to fruition at the most opportune time. Long awaited by some West Island Foodies, who were fed up with the handful of usual café and desert shops that have existed for years, we craved something different.
I have said it many times that West Island falls short of original ideas when compared to Montreal and that the suburban landscape as that of Laval is splattered with too many chain restaurants that serve a generic menu and favors only consumption for the mass market. For the Montreal foodie, the maximum allowable shops allowable to not fall into the chain category is two. Anything after that is considered a franchise. A friend of mine who once owned a Second Cup explained this to me that to turn a profit one had to own a few franchises to be making any kind of money. This is a fact that does not cross a regular patron mind and that a foodie surely does not care about; we abhor franchises and look for originality. Our proverbial mission is to always find a new place that serves innovative cuisine by a renowned chef that will bring his craftsmanship to our fickle palates. These days many restaurants are owned by a group of people, branded with a name synonymous to a lifestyle. We can count a few in Montreal who have and still do turn a profit, get into trouble and open and close restaurants as soon as they have become outdated.
But West Island is not Montreal and we want our restaurants to stay as long as our children are all grown up. We establish a rapport with our shop owners and they become an integral part of our community and an extension of our family. We are loyal and go more than often.
I would like that for XO Cacao and felt at home and was awed when visiting shortly after its opening. The new local looked amazing with its streamlined black and white décor and beautiful mural of photos of the great European cities. The opposite wall features a splash of color with artful paintings made by local artists that can be purchased for a small price.
The ambiance is classic in a European sort of way. Tastefully decorated, minimalistic and uncluttered, and fitting the recent mold of many urban modern cafes and chocolatiers. The décor itself will take you to faraway lands. The service although local and unpretentious is super friendly and accommodating.
This dessert shop is definite contenders for all those die-hard chocolate fanatics that like to quench their weekly cravings in fine chocolates. We are pleased now that we don’t have to wander too far to satisfy all of our chocolate cravings. XO Cacao is comparable and better than many of the in town chocolate dessert places I have frequented of lately.
XO Cacao also serves a plethora of sweet & savory crepes with a choice of fillings to satisfy all taste buds and sweet tooth’s desires du jour. A must for me was the waffles topped with my choice of fruit and a mix of any chocolate desired , white milk or white and that extra maple syrup for an added touch of extra sweetness.
XO also serves delicious fondue with fruit for a convivial partage a deux, for those romantic date nights or long chats between girlfriends. Gluten Free-Gelato and sorbet creations made in-house for those ice cream aficionados, or simply crepes for lunch stuffed with anything from ham and cheese, chicken or spinach, egg and goat cheese, they come served with their house salad and secret house dressing. Desserts such as cheesecake, fudge cake and brownies can be sampled with any type gelato and a list of specialty coffees and teas and hot chocolate beverages of course, because where would any good chocolaterie be without it that magical blend of hot chocolate drink that adds sweet ambrosia to life.
Everything we sampled on our first visit was delicious from the Nutella crepes to the waffles with white chocolate and fresh strawberries. To compliment that we sampled two herbal teas of our choice, picked from a tea box for $ 3.00 each. The prices at XO Cacao are very reasonable comparative to other desert shops, our crepes were only $8.00, but can range from $ 6.25 to $ 12.95 and the waffles were $ 12.00 but range from $ 11.00 to $14.00. Although the menu stipulates $ 13.95 the numbers are rounded off on the bill. You can blame the government for that. But it is all worthwhile.
XO Cacao is truly a gem and one of a kind with their philosophy not only to shop local, but by enhancing their community through local artist exhibition; all the while by preparing high-end desserts that are affordable in a setting and ambiance unmatched in every sense.