Disclaimer: Since this got published I’ve had a few irate emails, messages and comments about the negativity in the intro. I’m keeping it up because I think it’s so ridiculous that it needed to stay, but I should preface that it’s a massive over-exaggeration, as per my usual, daft writing style. No offence intended to those of you that loved the old Our Town. – VCS.
One of my favourite things about going to a coffee shop is that most of them don’t involve you getting shanked, prison yard style. That reason is exactly why I never went for a second visit to the old Our Town Cafe, located on the corner of Broadway and Kingsway. As one could expect, eventually that place closed down, I’m assuming because all their customers eventually died from blood loss, or maybe because it was just never any good.
As you might expect, I was quite surprised to find that plans were in place to re-open it. “Wonderful”, I thought, “is this how it all ends for me?”. I predicted a half-ass effort to cash in on the old name, with a fresh lick of paint and the same crap coffee as last time.
I was wrong. I was so very wrong.
The NEW Our Town is f*cking awesome.
Flat White – $3.75
Definitely a solid effort here, with great milk texture and temperature, but I’d say the beans were probably roasted on the darker side, so it definitely had a bolder flavour to it. My preference is a lighter roast, but this drink was very enjoyable and for a dark roast its flavours were balanced excellently.
Almond Milk Cortado – $4.75
Interestingly enough, the dark roast flavours seemed to disappear with the addition of almond milk. Sweet, smooth and extremely nutty. either they have homemade nut milk or it’s very high quality. Either way, it was one of the best almond milk cortados I’ve had in ages. Pity about the price though, that’s definitely on the higher end of things for a cortado.
Pour Over – $4
Beans: Modus Coffee Roasters ‘Hiro’
NOW WE’RE TALKING. Holy hell this was a fantastic cup of coffee. Sweet, bright, juicy and bursting with amazing fruit flavours. It’s brewed in a small Chemex using an automatic pour over device called a Marco SP9. It’s great fun to watch, as the water is sucked up into the top chamber and then dumped over the grounds in waves. The end result was incredible.
In addition to the above, there are various juices, teas, matcha, hot chocolate and nitro cold brew.
Avocado on Toast – $9
It takes a lot to wow me with avocado on toast, as it’s something that’s hard to screw up, but in this case, the addition of sweet potato and black beans really made this dish stand out. The black beans added a savoury element and the sweet potato (which I usually hate) added a sugary note that balanced out the other flavours.
Oven Fried Chicken Sandwich – $13.50
I know what you’re thinking – why would you fry something in the oven? Don’t worry about it, I don’t think they even know why. Who cares though, because this thing was a damn masterpiece. I was slightly concerned that 2/3’s salad was going to be too much, but it turns out I’m an idiot; it was absolutely ideal. The focaccia bread wrapped around the whole thing was crispy on the outside and fluffy and warm on the inside.
Portobello Mushroom Burger – $13.50
Both myself and the missus were quite surprised to find this burger to be very sweet in flavour. Not in a bad way, but if you’re expecting a savoury experience you’re not going to get it. The mushroom was breaded which was a nice touch and there was a smoky note from the provolone cheese.
In addition to the above, Our Town has a bevy of muffins (pictured below is the delicious cornbread blueberry flavour) as well as sweet treats, pastries and tiny little amaretto style chewie cookie things with every drink!
It’s opening week so I was expecting it to be a little rough around the edges, but honestly, the staff are all enthusiastic, knowledgeable about their offerings, keen to laugh and joke with you and those that I spoke to seem to be really enthusiastic about coffee. A highlight for me was when one of the managers let me walk behind the bar to watch the pour over device at work, close up.
If you ever visited the old version of Our Town then picture that in your head… and reverse everything. Firstly it’s clean… very, very clean. Secondly, it’s white with beautiful marble accents and their new black and gold logo loud and proud on a feature wall. They have plenty of seating as well as a nook in the corner, much like Matchstick have in their Riley Park location.
As great as the venue is there are two issues: 1) The place is an oven. It’s SO hot inside right now, but I was assured it’s going to be fixed in the next week or two, so no points lost there. 2) The place is at the busiest intersection on the entire planet, so it’s really loud inside. Until I visited Our Town, I had no idea how many idiot Harley Davidson riders there are in Vancouver.
Noise complaints aside, it’s in a pretty amazing location. There are more bus stops in the area than I could count, and there are loads of on-street, paid parking spots around the area. Free parking is a challenge, though. My advice is to check out Scotia and 8th for a small selection of freebies.
Two bathrooms, both impeccable and both have fancy planters that make you feel stylish when you take a pish. Oh calm down, you’re not reading this site for my writing ability.
If you’re familiar with my reviews you probably know I love a good pile on when it comes to a bad coffee shop. So, to the owners of Our Town I’ll say this; you guys totally and utterly ruined my fun, because your coffee shop is freaking great. To be this good right out of the gate takes skill, to keep it going over the years takes even more skill, so keep up the good work and I’ll keep coming in and drinking your coffee.