Friday, October 26, 2012

Eat: Gushing about Campanelli (Review)

For the Montrealers out there, consider this a public service announcement. Go to St. Henri and find Campanelli.Try everything on the menu. You're welcome.

For the uninitiated, Campanelli is a fantastic little cafe that specializes in sandwiches, salads, coffee and dessert. Pretty simple menu and a tiny locale but they deliver quality ingredients and amazing flavour. Behold... the meatball sandwich. So good, it's really a sangwich. I turn a blind eye to the fact that no meatball tastes that good without having a certain ground meat in it that I once swore I would never ingest, but my trip to Italy ruined me forever. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's okay, I'm being intentionally obscure because of how guilty I feel)

 Or perhaps you would like to try the roast beef instead? Yeah, that's a good bet. The beef is sliced wafer thin and the combination of peppers and mustard really amp up the flavour. The bread is the perfect balance between toothsome and soft (even for metal mouths like myself).

I must say that their coffee is one of my favourites in the city right now. Coffee is ubiquitous but there is a paucity of GOOD coffee. I'll have coffee just about anywhere but I can count on one hand the places that I think make a great cup. These days I prefer making coffee at home to going out for one (think french press, a decent grinder and Kicking Horse darn good). I do enjoy Myriade on Mackay and In Gamba on Mont Royal but right now I'd have to say that I prefer Campanelli's americano. Their americano is incredibly balanced and always leaves me wishing I had splurged on a larger format.

I don't live or work near St. Henri, and Campanelli is closed on Sunday so it's not always easy to find an opportunity to go. Luckily, I have my hair stylist across the street (the lovely Alyson at Tête du Toro Art et Cheveux) so I get to indulge at least once every 6-8 weeks. Not nearly enough in my opinion. I'm working on it though, autumn means no more golf on Saturday afternoons and THAT means more lazy Saturday afternoons savouring all things Campanelli.

In terms of the cafe itself, the place is quite handsome. A lot of thought has obviously been put into the decor, which has a very masculine feel to it. I like the style (think unfinished wood, metal, mason jars) so I find the ambiance pleasant and comfortable. I was there for lunch last Saturday; it was pretty busy considering it's located off the beaten track for passerby. You get the feeling no one is here by accident. The barristas & staff there not only make a mean coffee but are also friendly. These days I don't expect 'friendly' at hipster-approved institutes (just ennui or disaffected stares), so it was a pleasant surprise.

Their website sure is pretty, but it doesn't really tell you much about what's on the menu. Perhaps it is because the menu changes often? Hard to say, but for this reason I decided to do an altruistic deed and share some pictures of the menus on the wall. Hopefully you can read it clearly enough, I tried to increase the contrast as much as possible. As a sandwich affectionado,  I want to try nearly every sandwich in the place. 

Aside from the sandwiches & coffee, the desserts and snacks are divine. On our last visit we tried (and loved) the pina colada muffin. It is chock full of pineapple and some wonderful blend of butter and brown sugar, which gives it this deep brown butter flavour. Fantastic.

And I guess you have to go early if you want to avoid the following sight. Heartbreaking!!! This empty jar use to contain cream cheese frosted carrot cake. A lovely square of carrot cake sliced in half and stuffed with a perfect cream cheese icing. This is a carrot cake so yummy I think it is better than a Cho'Cola carrot cupcake. There, I said it. But alas, it's true.

They are located at 4634 Rue Notre Dame Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H4C 1S2. Go there. Get me a carrot cake square while you're at it.

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