I hope you all had an amazing weekend, and scored some major Black Friday deals! Remember that lots of retailers are offering cyber Monday sales today as well. Peter and I both dislike the madness of malls and shopping this time of year, so online shopping is a huge win for us. It’s a little bit tougher this year because of our strict budget, so we have to be a little bit more creative with the kinds of gifts we are giving this time. It's definitely a challenge!
That being said, we wanted to splurge a little this weekend because we have been doing so well with our budget (we actually have some surplus money leftover for the month). So we decided to spend some time in the city checking out a restaurant/café that we’ve both wanted to go to for a few months now; Colette Grand café opened at the end of this summer at the Thompson hotel. It is a stunning place with a bright white, blue and yellow interior. It’s bright and airy decorated in a French style that is classic but inviting – not stuffy.
It’s a large space that is divided into several, all equally appealing areas. On entering the main doors, just to the left the restaurant is flanked by large windows, columns and archways. Straight ahead is a lounge type area, complete with a bookshelf, coffee table and several large, comfy armchairs. Behind this bookshelf is a slightly more private eating area with a cozy vibe and crushed velvet benches in blue. The bar is further back and to the right in the restaurant, it is a rounded and open feeling, also getting lots of light from the large windows. Lastly, is the café, a long narrow space that has both a seating/eat in area and a smaller space with the registers and baked goods and its own entrance.
The whole space seems as if it was designed for the ability to take damn good photos. The lighting is perfect – seriously minimal to no editing needed. Each area is it’s own beautifully decorated and well thought out vignette, you cannot make anything look ugly in here.
It’s beautiful and it is reminiscent of Parisian cafes – a nice little break from the rest of the city and the ultra modern Thompson hotel.
Peter and I stopped in for a coffee date – we would like to try the restaurant itself but we didn’t have too much time, and to be honest – even with our little surplus, the prices here are steep. The brunch service on weekends is $54 a person. A little bit outrageous - plus the food has some mixed reviews - some think it’s amazing, others just so-so.
I will probably try it at some point, but for now Peter and I were more curious about the coffee, the desserts and the atmosphere.
The other spots we have visited in the city are usually specialty coffee shops. This isn’t the case with Colette. When I asked the associate about the coffee she could tell me a lot about the beans and variety (there are 4 different beans they use apparently) but not really about when it was roasted or where – this leads me to think that it may not be fresh necessarily, also you wont find any fancy coffee art here - however it was pleasant enough.
I had a cappuccino and a bitter chocolate macarón; Peter had a latte and raspberry danish. All together it came to just over $16 which is probably what it would cost at Starbucks so it wasn’t completely unexpected.
Peter and I sat and talked and took sooo many photos until we started to feel like freaks – then we just sat, talked and enjoyed the atmosphere. We people watched as if we were out on the patios in Paris again and it all felt so familiar.
The macarón was of course AMAZING – not Ladurée, they put something illegal in those I’m sure – but still pretty damn good. The winner was the danish though. I think besides the décor Colette wins most at pastry. It was just the right amount of sweet, not overbearing and the pastry was light and flaky.
The coffee was also pretty good, smooth and had a pleasant almost chocolate flavour.
There were groups of people in the café, chatting and catching up with friends or getting some work done on laptops. People obviously feel free to come in and hang out here and I think that’s a great achievement – to have both a high-end restaurant and a casual café in one space. That is definitely the biggest appeal of Colette - that it manages to feel so inviting, comfortable and open and still be an amazing one of a kind experience.
Plus as a bonus they have free treats for your dog. That wins my heart every time.
I would definitely recommend Colette to friends (at least the café part until I try the food). More than anything just for the experience, a nice the little break from the city and to feel just a little bit like you’ve entered Paris. You may never want to leave.
PS- These photos were all taken by brand new iPhone 6 plus! I'm pretty impressed with this phone and its photo-taking abilities so far. I promise not to drop it into any toilets this time...