Noir Coffee & Tea
Noir Coffee & Tea is a newish Japanese inspired cafe on St. Clair West. Inside, the cafe has black and red walls and is decorated with mirrors. Tables are adorned with orchids and bamboo. Some have simple bar stools while others offer plump black leather couches. The lighting is moody from the glow of hanging electric lanterns. The soft splashing of a water fountain adds to the aura.
After claiming a comfy chair I attempt to familiarize myself with the menu. The list of drinks available is lengthy but exciting. A Tokyo fog (Sm. $3.50, Lg. $4.00) reflects the Japanese inspiration. The espresso affogato ($5.00) and root beer float ($4.00) are tempting while the blossom tea ($5.00) keeps things dainty.
Food-wise, Noir tip-toes on the healthy side with offerings like snap peas and hummus ($3.50), fresh whole fruit ($1.00) and oatmeal with raisins, cranberries and walnuts ($4.00). There's also a rotating selection of made to order sandwiches ($5.00) prepared on site. And to appease my sweet-tooth the cafe also has a selection of pastries ranging from muffins ($2.80) and scones ($2.80) to pumpkin pie with whip cream ($5.50) mostly brought in from Altitude Baking in Leslieville .
Despite the exciting menu, I settle on a latte to ensure Noir at least has the basics down. The latte is exquisite with microfoam that looks like it was freshly woven by an industrious silk-worm. While the impeccable Rosetta design atop the latte speaks to the barista's talents, the flavour of the espresso does the same for the quality of the cafe as a whole. The espresso beans, and the drip coffee beans for that matter, are supplied by Reunion Island Coffee.
Noir is a quiet cafe with a zen ambiance perfect for work or study. There's complimentary lemon water available and the WiFi is fast and free. Unlike many cafes, there are also plenty of outlets to keep the laptops charged.
Before I pack up my books to catch the TTC home, I order a genmaicha tea to go. The barista tells me the tea is commonly referred to as "popcorn tea" because it has bits of popped brown rice in the usual green tea blend. It's aromatic and flavourful and despite the 18 loose leaf teas available, I would likely come back just for the genmaicha.
All of Noir's teas are from Metropolitan Tea and can be purchased to stay ($3.00), to go ($2.30), in a press ($3.00) or in 50 gram tins ($6.00) for home use.
Hours: Mon - Thu: 7am - 6pm, Fri: 7am - 10pm, Sat: 8am - 10pm, Sun: 8am - 8pm.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak