Happy Coffee and Wine
Happy Coffee and Wine offers libations of both the caffeinated and boozy variety with coffee by day and wine at night to go with a full lunch and dinner menu of shareable plates.
The Parkdale space features minimalist decor and neutral colours, with the mix of dark and white walls usually splashed in sunshine from a large front window. The speckled stone countertop is lined by six old-school stools set across from a few tables on the opposite wall.
At night, the atmosphere turns a little moodier with the lights down and your choice of small-producer wines available to be enjoyed at the bar.
The wine bar and cafe is the brainchild of Madeleine Hayles, Samuel Kim and Edward Anderson, a trio of friends who met about a decade ago at Early Bird, where you'll find a similar coffee and wine combo.Kim and Anderson both stayed in the coffee business, so you can expect pretty latte art while Hayles, a trained sommelier previously of Tanto, is around for questions about any of the natural wines on offer.
Espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and cortados are made with coffee beans from Luna, Detour and Quietly, along with a list of other rotating roasters, and nitro cold brew is available on-tap.
Probably best described as a non-alcoholic, ultra-caffeinated version of a Guinness, a tall cup of nitro coffee ($4) is just the thing for a hot day. And it makes it even cooler that it comes out of a wall.
Wines from around the world make up the specialty bottle shop at the front of the cafe. The well-rounded selection sits on wooden shelves made specifically for this purpose while others are kept cold in a fridge.
You'll find unique options not available at LCBO like Bouche Bée (glass: $15, bottle: $77) which is made with Mourvedre grapes from the Côtes Catalanes region in France. The funky red has plenty of berry notes and nice acidity.
Livvera (glass: $16, bottle: $73) is a light orange option coming from Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina, a region regarded for its delicious wines. The slight orange colour, strong smell of ginger and jasmine flowers, and rich flavour are all thanks to 60 days of skin contact.
The list of wines can be paired with a full dinner menu created by Kim, a first-timer in restaurant kitchens. He went on from Early Bird to serve at spots like Pinky's and Seoul Shakers but uses experience cooking in his home to whip up food creations.
Without a grill, everything is prepared here in an oven or sous vide, a method of cooking where food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag and gets submerged in warm water for a longer time. Veggie and salad dishes also change depending on what's in season.
The asparagus ($9) comes as one of the favourite starters. It's drenched in brown butter that has been sous vide, white miso, which is slightly less salty than regular miso, and seaweed powder.
The summer tomato salad ($12) features fresh whole and cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, shallot and cilantro in a zesty lemon vinaigrette made creamy with coconut milk.
The happy salad ($14) will get you a piled-high plate of kale, avocado, sundried tomatoes, black sesame, and tahini and pistachio for some added nutty flavours.
They also have a half rack of lamb ribs ($26) prepared in a harissa marinade with gochujang, the spicy-sweet Korean chili paste. Although there was a bit too much fat on the bones, the sauce doesn't disappoint on the flavour and the chimichurri top brings the freshness.
There are also a few small side dishes like pepperettes ($5) and marinated olives in dill and preserved lemon ($5) if you're just looking for a few bites between sips.
Whether you're heading to Happy Coffee and Wine for a low-key morning coffee or a glass of wine with a few friends at the end of the day, grab a table at the back patio. The private space has lots of greenery and twinkly lights overhead at night.