Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m that guy. That one guy that you’ve heard about. It’s true, I’m the only person in Vancouver without a bicycle.
So what do I do when I want to act the poser and pretend I know how to be a pro at bicyclisting? I squeeze into my spandex and head to Vancouver’s newest, recently re-opened, cycling themed coffee shop ‘Musette Caffe’.
Cappucino – $3.75
I asked around and apparently Musette Caffe requested that their roasters produce a darker bean for their espresso drinks. I’d say that’s true as the cappuccino was a huge hit of dark, heavy flavour, that resulted in the espresso overpowering the milk and knocking the whole balance off slightly. The milk itself was steamed well and the art on top was a nice touch. Overall it’s a great version of a European cappuccino, but my preference lies at the lighter roast end of espresso.
8oz Filter Coffee (Phil and Sebastian Ethiopian Beans) – $2.14
Now we’re talking! A perfectly balanced and exquisitely textured batch brewed Ethiopian roast. The fruit flavours, whilst subtle, worked really well with some of the sweeter, honey-like notes and the body of the coffee was full and immensely enjoyable. This might be one of the best batch brewed coffee’s I’ve ever had.
Pork and Cheese Panini – $9
A pretty nice balance of flavours here, but the greasiness killed the enjoyment for me. The bread was crispy, but a little too oily, which made it awkward to eat. The outside was warm but the inside of the sandwich was very cold. The aioli was delicious but only added to the messiness of the whole thing!
Breakfast Biscuits – $5 each
These were much better! Soft eggs and smooth gruyere cheese with a nice sweet flaky biscuit to go with it. The addition of pork in one gave a slightly spicy taste. They seem expensive at $5 a piece, but they’re surprisingly filling.
Butter Tart – $3
Intensely sweet but it paired outrageously well with the above filter coffee. I think the sweetness highlighted the honey notes of the coffee really well, but I’d not want to eat this without a drink to wash it down, as I fear the sugar levels are a bit too high for my palate.
It’s time to shine for Musette Caffe because the venue is incredible! The enormous windows and high ceilings let natural light pour in and illuminate every corner that is covered with cycling memorabilia. There are two huge communal benches, a number of smaller tables and a row of booths, each named after a famous race winner. Some of the surfaces are made from imported wood that was ripped out of an old European velodrome, which gives a really authentic feel to the whole place.
Not a bad location. You can walk there from anywhere downtown or even if you live in Kits, as it’s just over Burrard bridge. There are plenty of buses that stop close by, however, parking is an absolute nightmare around this area. The paid parking around Musette Caffe is almost always full and the rest is permit parking. It’s also a bit of a maze of one-way streets and restricted left turns. My advice is to leave the car at home and cycle in…. oh right, now I get it.
These could have been a home run – both of them are large, bright, have nice little Musette themed colour accents and are spotlessly clean. Unfortunately there was one part that ruined it though – the soap dispenser. It’s a bizarre contraption where you have to physically push the soap covered bottom to dispense soap, which means you’re touching the same part of the dispenser that everyone else has been touching before they’ve washed their hands. I get that it shouldn’t matter, as you’re about to wash it all off, but tell that to the person who has to use this after Poopy-Hands McGee has had their way with it.
It’s been really busy every time I’ve been to Musette Caffe, but the staff have always been polite, chatty and enthusiastic. They know their products well and offered great suggestions based on my tastes.
If you can get over the fact that it’s a bit of a pain to get to, as well as the soap dispenser gripes, it’s actually a really fun and well put together cafe. The staff will always make you feel welcome, they have some great food and if you pick the right coffee you’re likely to really enjoy yourself. Welcome back to Vancouver, Musette!