It’s fair to say that I was blown away by the coffee scene in Montréal. I came to it armed with precisely zero foreknowledge and left deeply impressed with the range and quality of the coffee spots dotted around the city. Café Plume is another of the new crop of places which have bloomed in the last 18 months or so. It was recommended to me by Marie- Ève of the Pikolo Espresso Bar and her recommendation proved to be spot on.
Café Plume is best described as a neighbour café. Located on the eastern edge of the plateau area of Montréal, opposite Parc Jeanne-Mance, it’s a laid-back, relaxed and friendly place with coffee that’s every bit as good as its setting. Throw in a generous provision of power outlets and free wifi and you have the sort of place that makes you want to move in next door (or, in the case of Café Plume, move into one of the flats above the shop). Or maybe just move into Plume itself!
October 2017: Café Plume has closed, but has been taken over by Paquebot, which has pretty much left things unchanged. You can see what I made of Paquebot Mont-Royal when I visited in a year later in October 2018.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Compared to the more central coffee spots I’d started off with in Montreal, Café Plume was a more laid back place. That’s not a criticism of the likes of Pikolo Espresso and Café Myriade, more a reflection of their different locations and customer-base.
Located in an essentially residential area, Café Plume seems to live its life at a slightly slower, more relaxed pace. It helps that Plume itself is a wonderfully laid-back, friendly spot. A lot of thought has gone into making it a relaxing place to drink coffee; and just as much thought has gone into making the coffee wonderful to drink.
Café Plume is set back off the street, up a small flight of steps in what looks like a residential block. It has a big, bay window at the front and lots of natural light. Inside the counter is on the left, with the seating on the right, meaning that customers coming in and out don’t disturb those sitting at the tables (it amazes me how often details like that are overlooked).
There are a series of two-person square tables alongside a bench running down the wall opposite the counter, a bar with bar chairs by the window and a final group of square tables in the middle of the café. The natural light from big front window is complimented by soft light from multiple unshaded lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling (I’m a big fan of unshaded lightbulbs). This all blends with the natural materials that have been used in the interior: wooden tables, counter and floor, with bare brick walls hung with artwork. There’s also plenty of greenery in the shape of house-plants dotted around the place.
The coffee and food match the quality of the environment: Café Plume uses coffee from Verve, who hail from Santa Cruz. If I may offer one observation: while the coffee scene in Montréal is booming, with an emphasis on local produce, most of the coffee comes from the west coast, with very little from local or even Canadian roasters.
That said, the coffee was very fine indeed though: my espresso was one of my favourites in Montréal, not too fruity and not too acidic. The owners describe it as somewhere between 2nd and 3rd wave, which probably explains why I liked it so much! They too had noted the amount of west coast coffee in Montréal, but the simple fact is that they liked the Verve coffee the best. However, they also reckoned that the east coast roasters were quickly catching up.
I wasn’t able to sample the rest of the coffee, but I did notice that the latte comes in a tulip cup which makes me suspect that it’s much more like a flat white than a typical (north) American latte.
I also didn’t get to try the cakes; I needed something more substantial so settled on a very excellent cheese toastie which hit the spot. The rest of the food looked equally tasty.
I finished up by having a long chat with the owners: Stephanie, her husband Fabio, and her brother, David. Stephanie explained that they had been very keen on creating a relaxing, restful neighbourhood place and I’m glad to say that they have succeeded!
|123 AVENUE MONT-ROYAL OUEST • MONTRÉAL • H2T 2S9 • CANADA|
|www.cafeplume.com||+1 514 903 2618|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Verve (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Salads, Sandwiches, Toasties, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||13th March 2013|
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