Despite its French-inspired name, it's all about scones at Creme de la Crumb, a tiny bakery tucked away on Granville Street between the Trees Cafe and a lingerie store, and across the street from the Canada Line station entrance.

The scone is a tenuous affair.  Like most things, the world is littered by mediocre versions (particularly on this side of the Atlantic), with a small minority left to balance out the baked good's reputation.  Unless one has high tea frequently, the scone is usually left as an afterthought, something you pick up at a chain cafe if one doesn't feel like a biscotti.

This, despite its alleged regal origins: the scone is purportedly named after the "Stone of Desitny," the Scottish coronation stone at the Abbey of Scone, stolen (and now returned) by the Brits and oblong in shape, with markings of chiselling on the top. (As with all items now in ubiquity, the Welsh, the Dutch and the Germans all lay claim to the biscuit as well).  Poems have been written about it: think of that when you bite into the next dry and chalky scone you purchase purely out of hunger pangs.

Lydia Lai, head baker and - together with her husband - owner, has thankfully restored some decorum to the scone.  They are sumptuous and they are good: moist and light on the inside and crisp on the outside, another reminder of baking's indebtedness to butter.  There are a variety to be had, each ($2.75) made daily and seemingly rotated (or simply sold out) through the week: lime and coconut; cranberry and white chocolate; vanilla bean and pear; apple and cinnamon; apple and cheddar.  The seasonal version - pineapple and dark chocolate - is perhaps the best, with the pineapple adding an extra touch of moisture.  There is plenty of other baking available as well, most of which is made in-house, though all pale in comparison to the scones (the carrot cake, made with coconut, comes close), which Lai has obviously laboured on to perfect.

As with all downtown eateries, Creme de la Crumb offers a handful of savoury items for working lunches: the bakeshop is too small to offer seating, save for a lone table outside.  Apart from a hearty grilled steak and blue cheese mayo sandwich, served with carmelized onions, mushroom and arugula and among the better of sandwiches-to-go in the downtown area, the other sandwiches (all $6.95) are sufficiently satisfactory, and would be no more memorable if not for the bread on which it is served on, sourced by Lai from another local bakery but equally as fresh as anything made in-store.


Creme de la Crumb
466 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 683-5595
(Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm; Saturdays 8am to 4pm, though Saturday hours seem sporadic)

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