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The Slow Room

Posted by Adam Vrankulj / Posted on November 28, 2010

The Slow RoomThe Slow Room has recently emerged near College and Dovercourt. Its delicious coffee, authentic Italian fare and a well-seasoned barista are sure to make it a neighbourhood favourite.

New coffee shops are opening in Toronto at an alarming rate, and it's clear the bar has been set high. Entrepreneurs in the city are quickly running out of coffee-less neighbourhoods to open new shops, and now that the caffeine coverage of Toronto is well-established, there's no room for mistakes. The good folks at The Slow Room are well prepared to make espresso-heads across the city happy.

The Slow RoomUpon first arriving, I ordered a shot and was delighted with the taste. Extracted from only one spout of a double filter, this was an authentically European shot: little acidity, a dull sweetness like milk chocolate and a smooth finish. I find this sort of espresso especially welcoming as winter slowly creeps in.

The Slow RoomNext I had a cappuccino, which was just as delicious as my shot. Drew Randall, the barista behind the counter has been a familiar face in the Toronto indie coffee scene for quite some time. A long-time barista at Bulldog on Church St., Randall is no stranger to pulling shots and steaming milk.

Tamping the shot with care and both dosing and extracting the shot manually, Randall makes it obvious he's been around the block, and more importantly has a passion for the coffee he serves. The milk in my cappuccino was perfectly dense, and perfectly warm. Nothing can ruin a visit to a cafe quite like a bad head of foam on a cappuccino, and this was anything but. Delicious from top to bottom, I will definitely be back to The Slow Room for another capp. Considering the smooth and mild nature of the espresso here, I wasn't sure how it would hold up to the heavy milk.

The Slow RoomBeing an Italian cafe, with an Italian approach to espresso, I somewhat expected an Italian-style cappuccino, but I was wrong. Microfoam, latte art and no spoon, this was a modern-style cappuccino.

The high bars and chairs lining two of the walls in the pocket-sized cafe certainly aren't suitable for a long coffee session, but are great for a quick drink.

The Slow RoomThe sandwiches on the menu boast items like heirloom tomatoes, and are all made in-house. To prove it, a shiny meat slicer sits behind the counter.

I had the Porchetta on a panini (available only on Saturdays, and often sold-out early), and it too, was absolutely fantastic. I'm a sucker for spit-roasted meat, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

The meat is smoky, moist and basically melts in your mouth. It has a distinct black pepper taste, and reminds me of picnicking, watching bocce tournaments in the sun at the Croatian Picnic. If you like savoury meats, make the trip to The Slow Room on a Saturday for the Porchetta.

Shots and Americanos at this cafe are $2 and $3 depending on whether you order a single or a double, a cappuccino is $2.75 and their lattes are shockingly cheap at $3.

The Slow Room is open Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tues.- Fri from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9a.m.- 5 p.m.

The Slow RoomPhotos by Dennis Marciniak



Charlotte Davis / November 29, 2010 at 08:31 pm
A most welcome addition to our neighbourhood!
Adam / December 1, 2010 at 02:28 am
One of the best americanos I've had in the city, keep up the good work boys.
Binky Barnes / December 1, 2010 at 09:41 am
"Entrepreneurs in the city are quickly running out of coffee-less neighbourhoods to open new shops"

There are no indie coffee shops in the downtown core; it's all Tim Ho's, Second Cup, Timothy's, and Starbucks. But that's 'cause the rent is so high there, no indie owner would be able to afford it. I would dearly love to see this kind of cafe open at Yonge & King, but *sigh* it ain't gonna happen.
Mike / December 1, 2010 at 10:06 am
Petite Thuet is at Yonge and King
Erin Marchak / December 1, 2010 at 10:10 am
Looks delicious! I can't wait to try. Slowly, very slowly, good coffee shops are encroaching on my home 'hood, Bloor and Dufferin.
v. / December 1, 2010 at 10:31 am
Almond milk! Can't wait to try this in a coffee with a porchetta sandwich.
Pat / December 1, 2010 at 10:34 am
Sunday and Monday - Open 10-2. WTF is the point?
Binky Barnes replying to a comment from Mike / December 1, 2010 at 11:29 am
Re: Petite Thuet is at Yonge & King. Yes, and I'm grateful. Love the pastries, skip the coffee. Any time I've bought an espresso drink from Petite Thuet, it's been horribly bitter.
Sandwich Man / December 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm
How much are the sandwiches?
Skimpwich / December 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm
Quality over quantity, however, sandwich fillings looks very skimpy. Proportion doesn't look right. Too much bread, no meat (pardon the pun).
basef / December 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm
Cappuccino with no spoon? Looks like there's a spoon to me...
boobies replying to a comment from Binky Barnes / December 1, 2010 at 01:02 pm
There's the Croissant Tree, but then again it might as well not be there..
Binky Barnes replying to a comment from boobies / December 1, 2010 at 01:37 pm
Re: The Croissant Tree -- that's not my point. I'm not moaning about the lack of pastries downtown. It's the lack of good COFFEE SHOPS.
chephy replying to a comment from Binky Barnes / December 1, 2010 at 04:11 pm
Bisogno and Cafe 260 are pretty "downtown core" in my book. Though not th Financial District, that's true.
Binky Barnes / December 1, 2010 at 04:45 pm
Yeah, I've visited Bisogno occasionally, but both it and Cafe 260 are a bit far east to be handy for me. But your point is taken.
saltspring / December 1, 2010 at 09:41 pm
Man, that's a well-written review. Love your personal touch with "...watching bocce tournaments in the sun at the Croatian Picnic."

I love the Church Bulldog, and I'll ride my motorbike to sample the westerly offspring.

Good job, Adam.
mick / December 1, 2010 at 11:28 pm
Welcome to the neighbourhood, Randall!
lisaD / December 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm
Yes! Delicious cappuccinos! I used to sleep in as long as possible but now these guys make me get up extra early so I can sip and chat for a couple of minutes before biking into the office. (They also treat me to free treats all the time!)
J / December 3, 2010 at 06:55 am
I can't wait to try this place out, I was walking home the other day and noticed their "shut happens" sign. Love it.
A / December 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm
Awesome. Drew used to be my favourite barista at Bulldog!
Robin / December 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm
love the cappuccino with almond milk ! and man the porchetta is sooo good!! i am so happy you guys are here :)
Robin / December 12, 2010 at 11:46 am
be sure to try out the other surprises as well. piccolo, eggplant sammies, the cookies, the PLT ..actually i should just say any of the sandwiches since they're all so good. the king is still the porchetta on saturdays!! what are you waiting for ..GO!!
Bill / December 23, 2010 at 05:54 pm
It's great to see a familiar, trusted face (Drew) at a new coffee place that's closer to home. Great coffee (my personal favourite is espresso), by one the best baristas in the city. And thanks for offering a vegan choice (almond milk). The food (sandwiches & treats!) is fantastic! Well done, Roberto. The vibe is terrific, and "fun". Thanks, guys.
Bill / December 23, 2010 at 05:59 pm
It's great to find a new espresso bar with a familiar, trusted face (Drew, the barista) closer to home. Their coffee is the best in the city (I've sampled extensively). The food (sandwiches & treats!) are great. Well done, Roberto. And the vibe is terrific and "fun". Thanks, guys.
Don / December 31, 2010 at 06:43 pm
I have to admit that it was Drew, the barista at Slow Room, who first got me through the door. I knew him and his espresso from his previous job and was thrilled when I accidentally rediscovered him while walking along College Street. I still think he's the best, most consistent barista I know . . . and Slow Room seems a great venue for him.

Roberto, the owner, has created a fantastic atmosphere with great coffee, sandwiches and treats. It's always a pleasure to spend time there. I also appreciate the veggie options and that I can get almond milk for the rare occasions when I switch from espresso to a macchiato . . .
cindy / December 20, 2011 at 08:08 pm
Love this place. Excellent sandwiches. The meatless meatball sandwich is a marvel. Can't believe its eggplant. Highly recommend trying this place out!
Lisa / February 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm
New cafés are popping up along College between Ossington and Dufferin – but this is still my favourite!
Danielle / February 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm
Best latte in the city hands down!!! Turned this into my favorite spot after the gym on weekends. Just delicious :)
jcitizen / June 20, 2012 at 09:29 am
Been in a few times this week. Started with a Macchiato, next day had a Piccolo (a nice treat), and followed that up today with a Cappuccino. Cappuccino took the top spot, which says a lot about this barrista. Have also tried a PLT (pancetta/lettuce/tomato) sandwich, and it was great. So far so good with this place. The espresso is a bold, chocolatey, italian-style roast, and works perfect in the milkier drinks, so if that's your thing I highly recommend this little spot.
ABmW / June 21, 2012 at 04:39 pm
Where is Drew??? Not the same place at all. Nobody makes coffee quite like him.
Drew replying to a comment from jcitizen / June 21, 2012 at 04:46 pm
I am not one to usually reply to comments, but I felt need to reply to the one from "jcitizen". Thank you very much for complimenting on my skills, I try my best with every shot I pull and every drink I make. That is what coffee shops are all about, getting great coffee.
??? / February 5, 2013 at 08:05 pm
Drew replying to a comment from ??? / June 6, 2013 at 08:22 pm
Thanks for asking. Still a barista, and manger as well, at Yorkville Espresso Bar, 3 Yorkville Avenue. I am running our two locations, so split my time between the two shops. Come by and visit, I miss you all.
Bbell / October 7, 2013 at 10:44 am
Visited on Sunday, you have changed the buns for the egg plant sandwiches and less sauce I was disappointed, please go back to original buns or give us a choice.

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