Pilot Coffee (Union Station)
Pilot Coffee now has a kiosk in the Great Hall at Union Station, giving commuters, tourists and everyone in-between an indie alternative to the Tim Hortons stand in the York Concourse.
Open every day, this 3.5th location for one of Toronto's best coffee roasters was designed by Williamson Chong , the same architect behind Pilot's Wagstaff roastery and tasting bar . Dubbed "the boomerang" by staff, the white oak counter boasts the same aesthetically pleasing Modbar espresso system as the one at the flagship tasting bar.
Since the purpose of this cart is mainly to serve people on the go, a stripped down, straightforward menu is offered (no Chemex here).
Big Bro, Pilot's signature blend of beans, is used to make espresso-based beverages (espresso, $3; macchiato/Americano, $3.25; cappuccino, $3.50; latte, $4) while the Little Bro blend is brewed for the house drip ($2.50/$2.75/$3, no decaf).
I try a latte, and it's smooth and creamy with sweet notes of chocolate and toffee. As has come to be expected of this local coffee brand, it's expertly made (yay, latte art) and a pleasure to drink.
A small selection of Sloane Tea ($2.75) is also available, along with baked goods ($2.50-$3.50) that include muffins, scones and cookies - with vegan and gluten-free options - made at Pilot's Te Aro location in Leslieville.
There are plans to add fresh juices and expand the retail offerings, which currently only consist of 12oz bags of its house blends ($17.50) plus some limited edition beans ($22).
While these definitely aren't Tim Hortons prices, you're definitely paying for the quality of product here, and sometimes it's worth the splurge in such a lovely setting.
Photos by Jesse Milns