Ever since the pop-up shop appeared at the corner of Carrall and W. Hastings, I’ve been wanting to try the donuts by Cartems. Even more so after reading all the reviews and hearing the buzz about it. I was disappointed to find out that they don’t do online sales/delivery anymore, but I was delighted to have dropped by that side of town one weekday afternoon thanks to work.
I ordered the Earl Grey one since it’s one of the most popular items. The donut itself was cakey, yet light, and the glaze wasn’t overly sweet. I was expecting a burst of earl grey flavour as I bit into the donut, but it was rather subtle. Too subtle for my liking. I did, however, like the spinkle of rose petals on the glaze, which added more floral fragrance to the donut.
KB chose Carrot Cake while AM chose the Classic. I took a small bite of each of the two. Carrot Cake probably had the most prominent flavours. In fact, KB said it’s like “heaven in the mouth”. Classic was also pretty good. I also tried Sally Ann – its featured donut of the week, which was made for its partnership with the Salvation Army in honour of Dignity Month. It’s a red velvet donut, which was probably my favourite of all the ones I tried. It’s sweeter, silky texture, just like a red velvet cupcake. Too bad it’s not a regular item.
Overall, I did like that they were all cakey donuts that weren’t too heavy. You wouldn’t feel super guilty after finishing a donut in 4 bites. However, I’m not sure I would pay $3 for a donut, even if it’s a high quality donut.
Luckily, it wasn’t very busy at that time, so we were able to take our time placing orders. The staff was also able to explain the various donuts on display and chat with us about where we are from and what we were super excited to visit the shop. It was overall a fun experience. And the timing worked out perfectly. More customers showed up as we walked out the door; we wouldn’t have received the level of service that we did had we showed up minutes later.
Because the donuts are not made on-site, and rely on the delivery from the kitchen on Commercial Drive, the availability changes constantly. That means you may not always be able to buy your favourite donut, but it also means whatever you get is freshly made and delivered, and is still yummy by the bite.
Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop)
408 Carrall Street, Vancouver