What’s the best way to wind down after a long day at school? Ok, for those of you who said drinking a (maybe two) big glass of wine in your comfy pajamas and slippers, I do agree. But I was thinking more along the lines of sitting down with a nice hot latte and venting about that one ‘know-it-all’ student of your class to your best friend.
Yup, that’s what we did not too long ago after one of Marie’s MBA classes. What is particular about her MBA is that it’s weekend classes only, and it’s all day courses. I had texted her around lunch time to see if she wanted to meet up after class for a coffee and she jumped onto the occasion and suggested we try a spot on our Coffee Passport.
One of the closest spots to her building (the ESG building at the UQAM) was La Graine Brûlée on Ste-Catherine st., just at the entrance of The Village. Had it not been raining, we would have most definitely taken our coffees to go and strolled down the street but alas, it was a dark and stormy night.
I had walked by the place once before, so I was pretty excited to go in with my Sweet Patate. The first thing you notice walking in are the bright colours and the oddly shaped yellow “open room” in the middle of the floor. Oh, yes, there’s also a kind of mini tree house, picnic tables, a roller coaster wagon, and an old Nintendo game room. EPILEPTICS BEWARE: there are strobe lights and Teletubies music playing in the washroom, so either hold it in or close your eyes.
We chose a little spot on the outside of the yellow open themed circular room (you can reserve it for your next meeting or brunch) to get a good view of the place. You can play board games and video games as well as have a quick coffee or small snack, all at the same time.
With our passport, Marie got a super delicious latte and I a decaf espresso shot; while they were preparing our orders, we chatted a bit with the baristas. They have a mostly vegan menu (the vegan panini is to die for apparently) and loads of vegan snacks and pastries. They also offer brunches on weekends and, as mentioned, you can reserve some tables for your groups. Price wise, they are pretty on par with any other coffee shop that offers small meals, but I would give them a little higher rating for the vegan options and fun atmosphere.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like walking into a nice, white-walled, minimalist place from time to time, but quite frankly, it is a little antiseptic for me. I rather have some bright colours and random miscellaneous things around me: it brings liveliness and an enjoyable atmosphere to the place. I always feel out of place and afraid to make a mess when I’m in places that are too white. I will say that minimalist and calm coffee shops are probably more study/homework friendly, compared to loud and colourful coffee joints.
Overall, our coffees were delicious, and Marie will be definitely coming back to try out some of the sandwiches and treats during her lunch breaks!
If you’re in the area, you need to try it!
Cover picture credit : La graine brûlée’s Facebook Page