The Abbott, near King and Dufferin is full of carefully-curated antiques, solid wood and a beautiful painted aluminum ceiling. Unfortunately, the coffee doesn't quite live up to the decor of this quiet west-end space.
Hidden around a corner in a pretty desolate part of Parkdale, my first impression of the Abbott is how hard it is to find. Hidden beneath a staircase, and tucked away from the sidewalk, it took a little bit of searching before I realized where this cafe is.
Old mason jars, beakers, microscopes and items of historical Canadian significance adorn the shelves and walls, but my favourite aesthetic consideration of this shop is the name, "Abbott" in the black and white honeycomb tiles on the floor. I'm told by the barista behind the counter that the name Abbott comes from the first Canadian-born black doctor Anderson Ruffin Abbott, who lived in this exact area in Parkdale, and died in 1913.
Personally, I love a shop with meaning. The owners of this shop, who also own the Lakeview restaurant, have really taken the time to represent Dr. Abbott, with old science tools and encyclopedias on shelves.
The first thing I order is a shot ($1.25), and it came in a paper cup. The crema had little elasticity, and the shot barely had any complexity or body whatsoever.
To see how this espresso held up in milk, I ordered a cappuccino ($3.25), and it came in a skinny glass stein. With the espresso in the bottom, and a huge, thick head of bland milk foam on top, the shape of this glass made it difficult to enjoy the combined taste of espresso and milk, forcing me to consume the milk foam before reaching the espresso at the bottom.
Admittedly, the cappuccino didn't taste as bad as it could have. Despite the fact that it was difficult to drink as a cappuccino, the espresso blend did taste much better with milk. This is a very uninteresting blend of espresso that lacks the sweetness I crave, but it does pair well with milk.
The food selection at The Abbott is also fairly disappointing. On the counter are a few glass containers with muffins and croissants. I order a muffin, which I'm told was homemade, but wasn't as good as mom's. It tasted at least two days old.
Though the coffee coming out of this cafe right now isn't quite up to par, it's not as though The Abbott couldn't produce a better product. A new Mazzer grinder and Elektra rig prove that with the right kind of devotion to coffee, this could be a place to get a good cup of coffee in the west-end. Unfortunately, it needs some work right now.
On the weekends, The Abbott is open 7a.m. -6 p.m., and 6:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. during the week. Lattes are $3.25 or $4, depending on whether you order a single or a double shot, Americanos are $2 or $2.50, and a cup of brew is $1.75 or $2.25.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak