Daily Decadence at Amandine Café


November 3, 2020

Words by: Joe Gurba

Photography by: Tatyana Semenova

A new francophone patisserie and café blossoms in Bonnie Doon.

In the midst of global turbulence and uncertainty, a group of Moroccan entrepreneurs have braved the turmoil to open an oasis of pastries, coffee, and comfort in Edmonton’s francophone community. In 2019, Ghizlane Malki and Fatima Zaid began plotting a destination that would bring the pace and taste of a Parisian café to Bonnie Doon. Ghizlane, having lived in Paris, had a certain style of café experience in mind, with the art of pâtisserie at its center. When Malki & Zaid secured Chef Otmane Ghozlan, an internationally awarded pastry chef and chocolatier, it was off to the races.

Chef Ghozlan began helping in a bakery as a college summer job in Casablanca, Morocco. He was immediately hooked. At breakneck speed, Ghozlan shifted to full time baking. He completed his schooling at the Hospitality and Tourism Institute of Morocco, began working at the renowned Boulangerie Pâtisserie Serraj, won the Macau Trophé in 2009, and was soon teaching at his alma mater.

His rapid rise brought him to work in Saudi Arabia where he became executive pastry chef at Al Mashfa in Jeddah under the world famous Chef Thomas A. Gugler. His crowning achievement came in 2017 when Ghozlan won the prestigious Nestlé Golden Chef Hat for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with his Potpourri of Crème Brûlée and Panna Cotta of Chocolate Mousse. That landed him Pastry Chef at the uber hip Pink Camel pastry boutique in Jeddah until he was offered the Pastry Chef role at Glowbal in Vancouver. Enter Amandine Café in Edmonton, Alberta.

When Malki & Zaid secured Chef Otmane Ghozlan, an internationally awarded pastry chef and chocolatier, it was off to the races.

Chef Ghozlan wishes to bring us a pâtisserie program marked by luxury with a capital L, and Malki and Zaid have replied with the perfect space to express the concept. Amandine Café is appointed with contemporary Parisian design, set in the saharan indigo of the Majorelle Garden, and the ubiquitous yellow Moroccan ochre that tints the Paris of Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier. A brunette palate of almond coloured wood softens the space, juxtaposing the glimmering brass fixtures and highlights. Tying the concept together is a gorgeous half wall of moroccan tiles behind the glowing pastry cabinet, the same tiles you see across the visual landscape of Paris. But the transport one feels in Amandine is most embodied in Chef Ghozlan’s baking. You will find a panoply of pâtisserie available at the café daily or for commission for events of any kind but I will limit myself to describing the eponymous Amandine Tart. This almond based treat surprises the palate with the quality of its sweetness.

Ghozlan’s scratch-baked dessert of almond paste and slivered almonds is startlingly restrained yet complex. There is very little in the way of sugar sweetness. Instead we have the natural sweetness of the almonds on full display in their subtle, almost savoury cherry like character. Normally when a pastry is described as ‘rich’ it is owing to a saccharine intensity, but here we have a dessert that is rich in its robust and round mouthfeel of the gently caramelized oils exuding from the freshly ground almonds. It is a fitting statement piece to name the café after their coffee, brunch, and plethora of chocolate fancies notwithstanding because the Amandine Tart captures the vaulted pleasures wrought from technique and quality without ostentation or excess. It is a mission statement for a more refined sense of the luxurious.


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