Red Fish Blue Fish Creative Cafe
Red Fish Blue Fish Creative Cafe is a new spot in the Annex that is exactly as it sounds: a haven for mamas and their babies. The space, located in the former home of the much-loved Toronto Women's Bookstore spans two floors, with a creative workspace and snack bar (not to mention a massive, sunny patio) on the main floor, and a small yoga and dance studio upstairs. Owner Nathalie Robertson says that part of the studio will have programming for both mums and children.
When I first walk in on a sunny week day about a week after they open, three friendly women who seem like pro babysitters greet me with huge smiles. I dither about what to order, bugging them about whether they have savoury snacks. They apologetically tell me no, and I order a mixed berry muffin ($2.50) and a cappuccino ($3.75).
The cappuccino, for its part, hits the spot. Super milky and soothing, and made with Detour beans. It's an ideal, manageable size, too: small enough that it won't give you a heart attack, and big enough that it perks you up. The muffin, on the other hand, leaves a little to be desired. It's moist enough, but it needs more berries.
Snack options are about to become more plentiful, though. The friendly ladies behind the counter tell me sandwiches are on their way, once they figure out what to order. Nathalie wants to set something up with Cote de Boeuf on Ossington or maybe Hannah's , by way of lunchtime options. (Currently, the selection stops at cupcakes, muffins, cookies and the like).
The downstairs dining area of Red Fish Blue Fish is wide open and free of frills, the ideal spot for kids to get raucous. It's adorned with low tables and vintage schoolhouse-style chairs, and not much else.
Apart, that is, from a massive wall filled with jars of googley eyes, feathers, glitter glue, and anything else you can think of that makes you feel nostalgic for your childhood. I kind of want to come here to play, not going to lie.
But that "kind of" holds strong. Though there are a few 20-somethings on their laptops and scribbling in notebooks when I visit, my verdict is that this is a place for people taking care of children, and their children, to hang out.
Photos by Christian Bobak