201-99 Osborne St.
Two things will happen the moment you walk into Kawaii Crepe, the new culinary hot spot in Osborne Village. First, you will be warmly greeted by the tantalizing scent of freshly-made crepes. Second, you will be uplifted by the bright, inviting colours of the decor.
Bold, red leather sofas and modern white tables give the space a casual yet spunky vibe and the large picture windows at the front of the restaurant illuminate an accent wall covered in big, multicoloured bubbles.
This cute, creative little creperie is the brainchild of two young Winnipeg women, Candy Lam and Erin Kroeker.
Since its opening in December, Kawaii has quickly become a new favourite among Winnipeggers.
The crepes themselves are Japanese-style, quite different from the traditional Western crepe that has a thicker, mushier texture. In contrast, the thinner Japanese crepes reveal themselves to the palate in layers – slightly crisp on the outside with a softer, somewhat chewy inside.
The crepes come rolled up like ice-cream cones, stuffed with filling, and are served in cute, convenient little stands that keep them upright between bites.
The diverse menu forces diners to broaden their conception of a crepe, offering 16 varieties of signature savory crepes and 15 varieties of sweet crepes with playful names like “Hit Me Baby One More Thai” and “Divine Brown.”
A “make-your-own” option lets diners customize their own fantasy-crepe, allowing for endless possibilities. Ranging in price from $4.25 to $8.25, the savory side of the crepe menu provides plenty of delectable breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
The “Tofu Dill-Lite” offers the perfect balance of textures and tastes. The cool cucumber and crisp sprouts add a nice light crunch that offsets the creamy tofu and nutty cashews, while fresh dill adds the perfect amount of brightness and tang. The only downfall is that the tofu-dill sauce tends to saturate the crepe, especially near the bottom, making it somewhat sloppy to eat.
Those looking for a heartier, meaty option may go for “The Cowboy,” stuffed with roast beef, cheese, lettuce and slathered with mustard.
Another widely popular item is the “Osborne Branch,” which is filled with grilled chicken, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.
On the sweet side, one can’t go wrong with any of the choices.
Traditionalists may opt for a simple “And Everything Nice,” spread with brown sugar and cinnamon.
The “It’s-a-Smore” crepe, oozing with warm marshmallows, silky milk chocolate sauce and graham cracker chunks, is a must for those willing to try a new spin on an old campfire fave.
In addition to its extensive crepe menu, Kawaii also boasts an impressive array of beverage options, including Bubble and Fusion Tea.
The antioxidant-rich rose fusion tea comes served over ice and is refreshing and rejuvenating with just a touch of sweetness.
The bubble teas, available with or without tapioca pearls, have a thick, smoothie-like consistency and are bursting with fresh-fruit flavour.
Overall, Kawaii Crepe offers a cheap and cheerful dining experience full of bold flavours and textures not typically associated with the modest crepe but that will definitely make your taste buds happy.
Check out the menu at www.kawaiicrepe.com
Published in Volume 64, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 4, 2010)