Last Sunday, an old friend (let’s call him N) and I met for a quick coffee and a bite at Café Parvis. We hadn’t seen each other for what felt like close to a decade. Since it’s the new year, it was simply perfect to catch up and talk about our exciting projects for 2016. It was also the perfect occasion to try a new spot and fall in love with it (hopefully).
N and I came close to not meeting each other because after weeks of unusual mild winter weather, Mother Nature decided to unload inches of snow that morning. Winter coat on, ear muffs and snow boots, I made my way downtown even though my dog begged me to stay home and snuggle on the couch. If it wasn’t for the many restaurant reservations I make daily for my boss, I wouldn’t have known about Café Parvis since it’s located on a small isolated street behind a church.
I was a bit early so I decided to get a table while waiting for N. I looked around quickly as I waited for a hostess to show up and noticed that every table at the front of the restaurant was taken. It took a couple of minutes for someone to see me standing by the entrance and to show me to a table. The hostess initially asked me if I would mind sitting at a table for 4 that was already taken by two customers. She then remembered some empty marble tables towards the back next to the open kitchen where it would be quieter. I chose the latter even though it meant my clothes smelling like food when I leave.
The service was professional and timely. I had the time to remove my winter garments and sit down before a waitress came to set up my table with some utensils and two glasses of cold water. She offered to bring me a coffee while I waited for N, and I gladly requested a cappuccino. After a few minutes, N finally showed up and so did my cappuccino, small but gorgeous and aromatic.
At first, we were only going to chit chat over coffee but after seeing the menu, I was tempted. I ordered a smoked salmon rillettes with herbs yogurt and toasted English muffin. N was more modest and had an almond croissant that took longer to get to our table than my order. It was worth the wait for the both of us though. N’s almond croissant was possibly the best I’ve ever had: fluffy, lightly sugared and filled with creamy almond paste. My rillettes wasn’t too bad either. I can positively say that I’ve never had anything like it. It didn’t seem like much but the portion was perfect. I wasn’t hungry enough for a big brunch but had enough room for something lighter than just a muffin. It was delicious and just right.
Café Parvis was definitely worth leaving the comfort of my home on a snowy Sunday for. Aside from the good food that they serve, savoury coffee and courteous service, the overall setting was pleasant. Regardless of how busy it was, the customers were not all crammed together and shouting at each other. You were able to have a decent conversation without being bothered by the people sitting next to you. Comfort seemed to be more important than accommodating as many people as possible. Charming and effortless, it is the perfect place to have brunch with friends or by yourself with a good book.