November 12, 2021

By: Emilie Lapointe

I have always maintained that in another life I would open a café filled with vintage books and eclectic furniture, featuring pastries with unique flavour combinations. So when I stumbled upon a new café in Kerr Village that embodies that aesthetic and ethos, I felt instantly compelled to pop in for a visit.

Narenj, which is named after the bitter orange hailing from Iran, opened in February 2021 and sits beside its parent company, Maro’s Bistro. This new business venture comes from Lebanese immigrant Maro Al Chaama, who owns Maro’s Bistro, and his fiancée Afsan Ehsani. Although there is a door in the back adjoining both establishments, Afsan says they stick to their sides a she runs Narenj.

Much like its predecessor, Narenj offers Middle Eastern fare with a twist. Their breakfast menu features Persian cuisine and Israeli-style food, and their bakery offerings feature classic pastries like Danishes, croissants and éclairs, but with hints of Middle Eastern flavour like quince, za’atar, rose and saffron!

As a lover of pastry, it was imperative that I pick up a few to try despite just having eaten a shakshouka for brunch. I chose to build my to-go box with a butter croissant, a cashew cream and orange blossom éclair, a strawberry and rose tart, a halva and pistachio roll and a halloumi Danish. I took all of this home to share with family and sneak a few portions while walking off my breakfast around town.

While a good pastry alone will make me happy, my favourite cafés also offer an ambience that has me returning. With a cursory glance, you can spot Narenj’s warm “Home Away From Home” ambience through the large front window and from the string lights hanging over their brightly decorated patio.

Walking inside feels like stepping into a lush botanical garden, as there are plants all around, many even hanging from the ceiling (a few are on sale!). By midday, Narenj can be found abuzz with brunch-loving patrons. There is also a quieter vibe in the mornings and evenings for those looking to simply sip on some coffee, enjoy a pastry or two and read or write.

Now that the weather is cooling down and life feels a little slower paced, I always recommend that people make an effort to invest in some self-care. As we approach the time of year when the sun sets by 4:30 p.m., enjoying a delicious pastry and steaming cup of tea can feel special. After stepping out of Narenj, even though my stomach was filled with brunch and pastries, I felt a little bit lighter.

Treat yourself to some of these cozy comforts and share your Oakville adventures with us through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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