by Julie Reitsma

Ah, Future Bakery, how you send waves of under-graduate nostalgia over us—pitchers on the patio the night before an exam, chai lattes at the counter on rainy days and those massive hunks o’ gâteau (with multiple forks) for some post break-up bitchery. Years(ish) later, skipping about the city in pursuit of cheap eats, we found ourselves back at Brunswick and Bloor, thinking of all the economic edibles on offer for our reminiscing pleasure.  

Apparently, memory doesn’t always serve. Well, let us clarify—Future is still crowded with students and all other manner of Annex-centric vagabonddery, the food stations are still broken up into savoury and sweet and the eastern European fare continues to be shovelled out in full force. What made us cover our mouths and gasp in horror (okay, at least dismay) was the change in price. Perhaps this was all in our approach. Future does put on specials Monday through Wednesday (Monday—$4.99 Burger and Fries, Tuesday—$4.99 Roast Chicken Dinner and Wednesday—$7.95 All-You-Can-Eat Perogies), but we just weren’t feeling like that hard of a carb-hit on hump day, so we opted otherwise.  

Our choices—the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich and the Roast Chicken Dinner—along with the requisite pint brought our totals to $17 and $15 respectively. The value at Future Bakery, it appears, is in the sheer quantity of the food, especially since the quality isn’t always consistent. The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, with a choice of two sides (chickpea, pasta or green salad, mashed potato, wedges, veg or slaw), was the sash-wearer of the meal. The chicken who sacrificed boobs for this sandwich would have rivalled our doggle for size, and the chef at Future treated her well—crisply breaded and skilfully seasoned, the meat was moisterific, slathered with a basic marinara sauce, topped with melty cheese and then plopped on a very fresh tomato and herb focaccia. The Roast Chicken Dinner was as daunting as the samich, size-wise, but just didn’t measure up (Project Entrée?) in the quality department. As our plucky dinner mate stated, for the “faint of palate, it’s perfect.” The chicken was pretty standard, and the sides were no more worthy of glowing praise. The mash potatoes, dotted with unidentified greenery, were slathered with brown and relatively lumpy gravy and the salad, an anaemic tomato and lonely cucumber slice atop an abundance of mesclun mix, came with only one (balsamic) vinaigrette option that wasn’t bad, but lacked an in-house flavour. If we could rate something with a shrug, this would be the time for it—with the only redeeming qualities being sheer size and a level of sodium that meant not having to go to the servery to retrieve S&P ourselves.  

If you want to eat big and like food with a home cooked feel, then Future Bakery is a pretty good bet, and for those of us with slightly smaller stomachs, sharing a main is totally doable, especially since at Future no one glares at you if you’re occupying a table sans grub. But if value for money is the only must, and you’re willing to wander the College way, you might as well join us at Utopia, where the burritos are as mouth-watering as they are monstrous, the sides stand on their own, and the price is spot-on. After all, with more than one under-grad night wiled away at Future, it’s probably time to graduate (snap!) to better fare, even if that means decidedly less perogies in our diet. 

Future Bakery and Café
483 Bloor Street West 

Utopia Café and Grill
586 College Street