Before even talking about this week's coffee shop I must tell you how enthused I was to see that you people did not want to rip your eyes out (or mine for that matter) after my first review. Thank you for that!
Café Le Falco is this week's star. It wasn't the only new shop I visited this week but it most certainly stood out as the best. During this week's coffee ventures I realized one important thing, so pay attention: I would be hard-pressed to write a negative review. It's just not my style. That’s not to say that I’m not willing to critique a place at all or that I will write good things about a coffee shop even though I actually hate it. It simply means that you won’t be reading reviews of places that aren’t to my taste – waste of time if you ask me! I’d much prefer to write about places I hold in high regard.
Le Falco is located just outside of the unofficial limits of the Mile End within steps of Frank & Oak's headquarters, in the industrial area just east of the St-Laurent/St-Viateur intersection. It's tucked in on the ground floor of a rather bland office building on a street devoid of any other cafés, restaurants or anything else really. Don't let that be a turn-off because Le Falco is absolutely worth the detour both for its design concept and its coffee.
Stepping into Le Falco is like entering one of those I-have-always-dreamed-of-living-there lofts, with floor to ceiling windows along the full length of the outside wall. And though the entire shop is filled to the brim with various refurbished and recycled tables and stools, antique Singer sewing machines, bikes, and a hammock, in no way does it feel crowded. It’s like walking into a cool temple of Zen. Oh, and there is art! A giant world map drawing and a sequence of prints depicting a falcon taking off into flight cover the walls in a mesmerising monochrome arrangement. No frames; only a bit of wood and paper clips at the top and bottom keep the paper from rolling up.
Just beneath the large prints, you will find a few love seats and tables with Singer sewing machine bases. However, the key feature in the room is a large communal table lit by one long light-fixture. On this solid iron beam hanging from the ceiling rests one of two bikes used as centerpieces for the shop’s design. The table is surrounded by drafting stools and electrical plugs are subtly tucked away under the table. Let's face it, having access to a plug is key to survival these days. At least it is for me with my battery that doesn't last longer than 20 minutes.
Not in the mood for working? Then you'll want to make a beeline for the hammock to just relax and even grab a snooze before the coffee kicks in. There's no going wrong with a concept so well exploited: the concrete and cinder block walls tie everything together nicely. The place most definitely looks fantastic.
While we’re on the subject of coffee, I feel like I should tell you that Le Falco serves siphon coffee. Siphon coffee, not filter, not espresso, just siphon.
It’s quite entertaining to watch so if you’ve never seen it prepared before, stay for the show after placing your order. It involves a bunsen burner and gravity defying water – magical! If you'd like to know more, the fine folks from Coffee Geek will take care of you - or you could simply drop by Le Falco and see it in person. No limitless-possibility-induced headaches: full or half cup of siphon. It makes life simpler both for you as you order and for me as I review.
When I visited, Le Falco was serving coffee from Idido Valley in Ethiopia, roasted by Cafe St-Henri, and daaamn was it good. What I tasted differed somewhat from what the label indicated. Whereas I was expecting lemon meringue, black cherry and jasmine flavours I was only able to pick up on the jasmine scents. Floral, well-balanced and with a strong body, my coffee hinted at salted caramel, almond and just a tad of citrus which could explain the light acidity. It left me wanting more and more I shall get soon, and hopefully see you there!
Wait! Before you leave, I would really love some feedback on the length, quality, content or any other thoughts you might have. I invite you to drop a line down below, in the comments. Cheers!
P.S. I didn't have a chance to try their food but from what I can read and see on Instagram (check out the geo tag), their Onigiri, small Japanese rice-based snacks, are worth taking a bite of!