Imagine yourself sitting on a terrace somewhere in the South of France, Spain or even Italy, having a coffee on a peaceful summer afternoon. Even though it’s currently glacial in Montreal, that was the feeling I had when I stepped inside Café Castel. I had been anticipating this coffee experience ever since I saw pictures of the interior on this Top 10 list of coffee places to visit in Montreal before I die (or something like that). The decor made the ambiance absolutely perfect. I’ve been searching for a place just like this one.
Located by the McGill University downtown campus, I was surprised it wasn’t filled with students studying after class or meeting up with friends. Though it was busy, the café was spacious enough that it didn’t feel crowded or intolerably noisy. I easily found an empty table by a large window and made myself comfortable while waiting for a classmate to arrive.
When I placed my order, the usual cappuccino, the barista was very nice and courteous, and even greeted me with a smile as soon as I made eye contact with him. I asked for a chocolate croissant to go with my cappuccino but unfortunately, there were none left. Instead, he took the time to identify each type of baked goods he had left for me to choose from. I opted for an almond croissant and it was quite good. It wasn’t too sweet and the texture was soft. Freshly made!
The longer I sat there, the more I started to fall in love with the place. I saw myself studying for midterms or even blogging. Could this be my third home after the office? As I was daydreaming about spending all of my spare time in this coffee shop, I took a sip of my cappuccino…and it brought me back to reality. Initially, I was very happy when I saw the size of my coffee because it wasn’t a minuscule cup like at the other places I’ve been to. However, the quantity of coffee in the mug didn’t compensate for the lack of flavour. It tasted like watered-down coffee…or a latte. The barista might have put too much milk or brewed the coffee too quickly. I was so disappointed that I didn’t bother finishing my cappuccino and went to class without it.
What could have been perfection fell short on one thing it was supposed to be good for: its coffee. I’d like to give Café Castel the benefit of the doubt simply because the atmosphere is exactly what I want in a coffee place: warm, cozy and relaxing. I think I will give its coffee a second chance. If it’s still horrid, I might just go for its almond croissants next time…and will have tea instead.
1015 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A 1G5