Contra Cafe is tucked in the corner spot on Shaw at Yarmouth. Many may remember this location as the home of Hub Coffee and Locavorium but they've moved on to Dovercourt . The building owners took the summer to renovate and launched Contra Cafe just last week. Things are still getting settled but the beautiful patio is open for the last days of summer, and the coffee's on.
They've stripped back the design of the place, whitewashed the exposed brick, poured concrete and put in design requisite droplights and wood tables (including a communal one, and one with a glass chess board on permanent display).
Cool marble counters, retro school chairs and tables and an over all black and white palate adds to the space's highbrow sophistication. The gleam of the chrome La Marzocco coffee machine doesn't hurt either.
They carry brewed drip coffee, Social Coffee & Tea Company teas and Social "Contra" beans for all espresso-based drinks. While the menu isn't set up yet, I ordered a decaf Americano ($2.86), already heavily caffeinated that day.
It was a decent cup; rich and nutty with a little acid, and not bitter or washed out like some decafs can be. They can whip up any of the traditional espresso, cappuccino, and latte style coffees with either decaf or the caffeinated beans.
Food offerings are minimal, but presented nicely under glass domes on the marble counter. Some baked goods are made at Contra - like the gluten-free cookies and muffins - while the croissants are Rahier but baked there.
They also serve yogurt and house-made granola, and there is talk that sandwiches may make an appearance in the near future. While they've traded the homey downtown feel of Hub for the cool, uptown feel of Contra, I think this place will fit into the neighbourhood in no time. Who can stay away from that wrap-around patio?
Photos by Jesse Milns