Monday, 22 July 2013

Hot & Cold Cafe - you'll warm right up to this place

Unfortunately, The Hot & Cold Cafe has closed this location on Pandora.
…fortunately, they still have their Cook St. Village location!

The Hot & Cold Café has recently opened up a second location on Pandora Avenue (the first one is tucked into Cook Street Village, just up from the Beagle pub). This new location is nestled up to Relish, a favourite restaurant of mine (best scones ev-a, and the breakfast isn’t a slouch either), but I digress…

The Hot & Cold is open Monday-Friday from 9:30 for coffee & baked goods and at 11am, they roll out their full lunch menu. The lunch menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches & rice bowls (plus they have a special of the day).

Lots of delish looking baked goods to liven up your morning coffee and then even more tasty-looking items for lunch….

The menu is easy to read - posted on large blackboards on the wall to your right as you walk in. Make up your mind and order/pay at the register.

The menu statistics: the word homemade comes up a lot - it's a common theme through most of the food items.

There are 3 soups (a vegan yellow coconut curry; chicken pazole blanco; and a red seafood chowder). All of them come in three sizes (ordering a full sandwich or salad? Pair a soup with it for $2 off – with a half order, you get a $1 off).

Three salads (Mixed green: lettuce/pea shoots/apple/sunflower & pumpkin seeds; Goddess: homemade pink sauerkraut/avocado/pumpkin seeds/tahini dressing; and BBQ chicken: chicken/ginger BBQ sauce/creamy almond dressing). The latter two are available in half and full sizes.

The sandwich count is seven (including a baked brie, a corned beef, and a meatball) and, finally rice bowls. And there’s usually a special on the outside sidewalk sign as well.

On a recent bike-eat-bike noon excursion we headed to see what lunch was like. The restaurant is obviously a hit with the nearby government offices – as the place was quite full just past noon (both with dine-in folks and some bodies waiting for take-away). Still – once we’d ordered at the register and nestled into some sidewalk seating – lunch was arriving at our table in less than 10 minutes. Not only was it fast…it was too hot to eat right away. These plates were not languishing in the kitchen.

First up: a half meatball sandwich and a cup of coconut curry soup. This sandwich really revolves around that homemade angle – from the meatball (happy, drug-free beef; ricotta; herbs & spices), to the bread (organic focaccia) and finally, the sauce (rich, fresh, marinara) – baked with provolone cheese, it looks and smells great. The meatball was really tasty and the marinara sauce was amazing. Size was generous too - even this half sandwich with soup was perfect for lunch. Curry soup was lovely - a warm, flavourful amount of spices. It was full of cubes of yam, carrots and potatoes and finished with a nice sprinkle of cilantro.

Order number two: a half shrimp & avocado sandwich with the chowder. Plump, bright shrimp sitting on the same homemade focaccia with avocado, red onion, alfalfa and house-made olive oil mayo. Excellent, fresh tasting sandwich. The soup was also great – a lightly scented saffron & fennel tomato-based chowder with potatoes, carrots, celery, rockfish & halibut pieces.

We really enjoyed ourselves at The Hot & Cold Café – the menu covers good, consistent lunch options (soup, salad, sandwich) - but they're a notch above a lot of places - the homemade sauces, bread & soups, local/free-range/hormone-free inclusions and fast service - this is a really great weekday place to hit.

I filled myself up on the meatball sandwich - no room for the fabulous sounding rice puddings for dessert. That'll be next visit...along with the corned beef sandwich...or maybe the baked brie one...or the BBQ chicken....I think I need more weekdays....

Cash & debt only.

The Hot & Cold Cafe

#1 313 Cook Steet (Cook Street Village)
Everyday 11am-7pm

Hot and Cold Café on Urbanspoon

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