Simply French Café
3742 10th Avenue West
Saturday mornings and quiet times in cafés are becoming a combination that I’ve come to appreciate more and more of late. Perhaps its the dreary winter season, but the mixture of powerful aromas and hot liquids and heart warming foods to start my weekend is something that can’t be beat by much else these days. Any of our readers feeling the same way?
I had noticed this new café being established in a building along 10th Ave W, just before the Alma intersection. I believe it had previously housed an antique shop. The exterior signage is bold and noticeable when passing by, thus I was drawn in after I found out renovations were completed. It has the simple, airy feel of a European hangout, complete with an assortment of various shaped wooden chairs and tables, a long counter at the back where food and drinks are prepared, and even a wall with various French food products for sale. Its not the typical interior that one finds in coffee houses in this part of the city, so it was a refreshing change of pace for me. Not sure about most of you, but the cookie cutter designs that dominate the chains and even independent coffee houses in town are starting to all look alike to me, with their use of stone, modern lines and earthy color tones.
The homey atmosphere continues with a coat rack and umbrella barrel at the front door, making it feel like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home. I took a seat near the front of house, so I could watch people stroll by, but without having the “zoo-like” experience of being right at the front window glass. Some older looking mirrors and framed French pop culture posters completed the look and feel.
I know what you’re thinking. Geez, another latte and croissant? Yep – it seems the words stumble out of my mouth by default this early in the morning. This latte was very foamy however, I’m sure the more well versed coffee connoisseurs among you would tell me this is a faux pas, but again, like the scenery inside, it was a change of pace for me.
Unfortunately with the croissant, this was definitely worse than the one I ate at Café Muse, not too long ago. Dry, crusty, it just felt “old”.
I couldn’t help but be curious by their other food offerings so I inquired about their soups. Luckily, it was just about to be ready, so I asked for one of their daily concoctions, which turned out to be this very rich tasting, complex vegetable-heavy mixture with strong hints of carrot and ginger. The female cook in the back who listed off the ingredients to me spewed them out so fast, that I couldn’t mentally note them and so I just mentioned the two flavors that dominated my palate. For a small serving, it was quite plentiful, given that it was not overly liquidy, and dense enough to constitute a meal in itself, especially with the focaccia. I’d summarize by saying that in the end the strong ginger taste grew tiresome and I was only able to finish it out of politeness to the kind lady who served it to me.
On subsequent nights, I’ve driven past and noticed some odd looking going ons inside. I swear one night I think I saw a group of ballerinas performing inside for what appeared to be a private event. That alone seems to suggest the proprietors aren’t your usual gang of coffee house owners and are clearly going to make a unique mark on the community here. If you’re ever dining at the excellent Pair Bistro across the road and are looking for a smooth cup of coffee to round out your night, I’d suggest visiting the Simple French Café for an eclectic experience.