Lunch Without Donuts at Cartems Donuterie

Did you know that Cartems Donuterie serves lunch? Without donuts? Neither did I! So I had to try what they had on offer…

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Cartems on Pender near Seymour, right next to The Umbrella Shop, which, as a side-note, is the best place to buy a quality umbrella, as long as you follow their instructions on how NOT to break or abuse those precious umbrella ribs.

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Mobile donuts!

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Open, airy space. Lots of young fit people getting their donut on. C’mon, you deserve it.

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Artisan donuts aren’t cheap. But compared to pastries, it’s fine. Their lunch specials run 11:30-2:30.

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They also have an ever-changing selection of vegan gluten free donuts.

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I passed on the donuts that day. I was more interested in their donut-like lunch specials. I ordered the Curry Bun. I REALLY like that they’re participating in Mealshare.

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They also have pour-over coffee. A natural pairing for donuts 🙂

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The reason Cartems is still around is cuz of their exciting, adventurous flavours.

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But they also have less-wacky flavours if that’s more your thing.

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A donut-based interpretation of a Canadian “classic”!

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Intriguing…”sencha” is great tea leaves, as opposed to “matcha”, which is the green tea powder. That would be interesting, matched with pear. Not sure what “sake flakes” are though…perhaps shaved coconut marinated in sake? I’m probably wrong. Definitely doesn’t look like sake (salmon) flakes…

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I love sitting on stumps of wood. Fun but really heavy to move around.

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So they lost my order, then ran out of enough ingredients to make another curry bun (they come 2 per order), so they subbed one Vegan Harissa Pocket instead. The wait was a bit too long as well, but luckily I wasn’t in a huge rush to get back to work 😛 At least it meant that I got to try two of their lunches in one visit!

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The Curry Bun. Looks like it’s coated in panko then deep-fried.

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Filling is ground beef, potatoes, carrots and edamame. I thought I saw stringy cheese inside, but cheese isn’t listed on the menu so I’m not sure… The curry flavour is very very verrrrry mild. The dough part is airy and soft, which is a plus. But all the flavours needed to be amped up. Same with the white miso garlic aioli — they need to pump up the miso component so you know you’re eating it. The dots of sriracha are a nice touch though.

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The Vegan Harissa Pocket.

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The apricot chutney served with the vegan pocket was sweet with a a nice touch of ginger. The fake meat inside the pocket is very convincing. Spicy harissa really comes through. Filling could use a bit more flavour and moistness though. The real letdown is the wrapping. Closest comparison would be a deep-fried samosa with a really thick, tough wrapping. I wouldn’t get this one again.

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Ironically, the side salads were the best part of the dish. Both salads had the perfect amount of dressing — present in every bite but not overpowering. The daikon salad was fresh and zingy, with sharp flavours from the daikon and red onion. The lentil salad tasted fresh with prominent lemon, which went quite well with the vegan pocket. In fact both salads matched their corresponding savoury donut in a really appropriate way, both culturally and flavour-wise.

Unfortunately, the overall effect of eating this dish was a sense of dryness. The salads help a bit but you really need a drink to get these savoury donuts down. The Curry Bun was almost there but next time I’ll stick to the real donuts.

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