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Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on July 16, 2012

bivy torontoBivy is Pascal Vernhes' attempt to remedy an apparent drought of quality, affordable cafe eats along Dundas West.

The Parisian and former owner of Midi Bistro is planning on a roster of homemade soups, fresh salads, and gourmet sandwiches, though when I stop by Bivy five days after opening, coffee and croissants remain its main sells.

bivy toronto"I'm hoping to get the menu out in the next couple of weeks," says Pascal as we sit down at Bivy's large communal table. "And full brunch by early September."

bivy torontoThe narrow cafe space, once home to She Takes the Cake, has been done over with reclaimed wood accents and vintage hanging lamps, though it still sports a full open kitchen with a prep area downstairs. The cafe offers free WiFi for now, but Pascal hints that he may do away with it when the full cafe menu comes to fruition.

"The idea is I want people to come here and be social. If someone's here just on their laptop, it doesn't offer that same experience."

bivy torontoPascal's plan includes items that can be quickly offered for eat-in as well as packaged to go (with quiches being a particular specialty). The name "Bivy," he explains, comes from the word "bivouac," which refers to an improvised camping shelter usually erected during mountain climbing. "It's a place to eat and sleep," Pascal says. "A place to relax. That's where this idea came from."

bivy torontoThe space itself has a rustic feel with a large hanging map and mountains painted on the rear wall. The coffee, however, is a little less improvised than drip in a canteen, and features espresso drinks pulled on Bivy's shiny new Nuova Simonelli. Of the lattes ($3.50), cappuccinos ($2.90), Americanos ($2.25), and others on the list, I opt for the latter over ice, deciding it's ultimately too hot to indulge in a croissant ($1.90), though they do look scrumptious over on the cafe's shelves.

bivy torontoMade with Social Coffee & Co. beans, the drink has a nice sharpness and a dark chocolate flavour, which is mellowed as the ice continues its inevitable melt. Also on offer are six types of loose-leaf teas ($2.00), though Pascal, who is a self-professed tea-drinker, says he doesn't expect the demand to be all that high. "People keep saying tea will catch on; well, it never really did."

bivy torontoTable service will be offered during weekend brunch starting in September, though the rest of the time customers will come up to the counter to order. Bivy is currently open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Photos by Stephani Buchman



How Cute / July 16, 2012 at 04:00 pm
Looks great! I'm going to bring my mommy group here!
Connie / July 16, 2012 at 05:00 pm
I'm not a coffee drinker myself but a few people have told me their coffee leaves a bit to be desired. I'll check out their food one of these days though.
Oh Comeon replying to a comment from How Cute / July 17, 2012 at 01:11 pm
Hmmm / July 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm
This place is really open and comfortable inside, nice lighting. I needs to be improved...espresso is a little weak...
Leah Salomaa / August 2, 2012 at 08:24 pm
Just went in today for their first day of serving food/lunch. Soy latte was great, wonderful tuna/egg open faced sandwich with amazing potato salad (I loved the dill) and green salad. The sandwich was too big for me and I took the rest home. Great avocados on the sandwich too. Excellent atmosphere and a real kick up for this 'hood. I'm so happy it is here!!
jim / August 17, 2012 at 06:35 pm
Coffee is great. Food is great.
Tim / October 5, 2012 at 11:42 am
This place is a great and needed, ever since neighbourhood fave Naco closed. Good coffee. Good food. Good baked goods. Nice people.
jolene / November 25, 2012 at 09:41 pm
We finally made it to brunch at BIVY this past weekend, and thanks to a flyer in my mailbox, got two brunches for the price of one. Thank god. The food was nothing special- I go for brunch expecting that I could not do much better, hungover, in my own kitchen. Not the case here. Actually, the french toast was pretty tasty but THERE WAS ONLY ONE PIECE!!! One piece of french toast for brunch (2 meals together, folks) really left me hungering !!

The omlette, although hefty, was undercooked and bland, and the most exciting thing that morning- aside from the day-care that was exiting upon our arrival- was the potato salad.

But the servers were nice. So there's that.
vincent / December 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm
Jolene - I am so surprise of your review. The food have been delicious and perfectly prepared every time. And you are right the service is great! And I love to have a place with a great atmosphere in a causal seating with the best value in town for a sunday Brunch.
Kurtien / December 14, 2012 at 08:33 am
I have tried a lot on the menu. Pate is a favourite. So is the tuna. Salad is always nice and fresh. Good coffee and WiFi. I always leave feeling satisfied. Thank you Bivy.
Trisha replying to a comment from jolene / December 15, 2012 at 11:25 am
It seems as though Jolene's hangover impaired her taste buds!I can't say I've ever had a bad, bland or under cooked meal at fact quite the opposite. During the week my go tos are the hot open faced sandwiches and the salads. On weekends my favourites include Croque Monsieur and the Pulled pork – with mixed greens & potato salad. All portions are generous and typically come with the most amazing potato salad & mixed greens. The atmosphere is relaxed, inviting & the service is great!
Lisa / May 28, 2014 at 10:14 am
I love this place, highly recommend it - food is always fresh and delicious...

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