The 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.
Upon 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.
Next 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.
Being 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 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.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak