I had several Canadian friends growing up, and the one things they were most proud of (apart from Hockey) was this coffee chain called Tim Hortons. Its exclusivity to Canada and quality of their pastries made the place seem mystical and out of reach. Every now and then I’d see someone return from Canada with Tim Hortons merchandise and I wondered if I’d ever try it. Several years later, I got to try it without even leaving the country.
Its 2017 and the world is more globalized than its ever been. Popular restaurant chains from other countries (primarily the US) are popping up left and right. In 2016 it was Halal Guys and Denny’s. And just this past week, Tim Hortons opened a branch near my wife’s office in BGC – the first on Asia.
My wife and I accompanied my daughter when she received her measles vaccination, and we ended up taking the morning off. Since I was dropping my wife off at her office, we figured we could drop by Tim Hortons and see what the fuss was all about. I had seen on my Facebook newsfeed that the line at Tim Hortons was very long. People were excited about it (some guy even brought his Canadian flag with him), so we were expecting a similarly long line. And sure enough, the line stretched outside the store and into the corridors of Uptown Mall.
While waiting in line, some of the staff offered us a sample of their black coffee and double-doubles. My wife really liked the double-double (double creamer and sugar) and we got even more excited about it. It was lunch time so we ended up ordering a lot.
My wife had the Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap which she commented was very filling. We got the combo, which came with potato wedges and iced coffee. I enjoyed the potato wedges more than my wife, but I admit it’s not extraordinary. The iced coffee was delicious. My wife preferred it over my Iced Capp because it still had the bitterness of coffee in it.
I had the Italiano Bagel sandwich, which I loved. The vegetables were fresh, the dressing was exquisite, and the bagel bun was tasty. I’m a sandwich guy, so this was right up my alley. I didn’t get a combo, since I wanted to try their other beverages. I had the plain Iced Capp (cheaper than Starbucks!) and enjoyed it as well, though it didn’t have as much coffee flavor. It’s pretty much a frappacino.
The Boston Cream donut was not as sweet as Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme. The chocolate frosting wasn’t excessive and the Bavarian filling was perfect. It brought me back to college when I used to get the Boston cream from Dunkin donuts several times a week. Tim Hortons’ version is better than Dunkin Donuts, but it’s also more expensive.
Timbits are very much like Dunkin Donuts’ munchkins, but not as sweet. The texture is also better (not as airy in the middle). But again, it’s almost double the price of Dunkin Donuts so while the taste is a factor, your budget will have a bigger impact on whether you’ll go to Tim Hortons or not.
So yeah, the pastries lived up to the hype. And I’m sure I’ll return when I get the chance. But I do want to share what I appreciate about Tim Hortons during their opening week. First, I appreciated that they offered samples of their coffee since the line was long. They even offered samples of their food while we were already seated and eating our lunch. They’re so generous with their samples, that I saw the branch manager instruct one of the employees to offer samples to the guards at the mall. Their service is also fast, I didn’t have to wait in line long despite it being the first week of their opening. And they also clean up the tables quickly. Will I go back? Definitely. But I’ll probably be more frugal on my next return.