The four-person team behind Villeray's homey two-year-old cafe Oui Mais Non are expanding into the heart of the Village's pedestrian street today with the official opening of La Graine Brûlée. The cafe looks to be as colourful as the thousands of pink balls hanging over the street outside. The crew decided to keep the characteristic red and white tiling and colour scheme from the Five Guys Burgers & Fries that formerly occupied the space.
"Graine" refers to a certain male appendage in Quebecois French, and it's not difficult to grasp the joke in their punny slogan: "every 'graine' is unique."
Owner JP Loignon describes the new digs: "It's something that felt like kind of a fair, kind of like a circus. It's a bit of a Burning Man situation with temporary installations and lots of raw materials." There are plenty of wood structures to help make the sizable space feel not-too- sparse, including treehouse-like nooks that customers can climb into.
To drink, the offerings are mostly the same as Oui Mais Non: Loignon tells Eater that the coffee will be a Café Olimpico style Italian blend, from local supplier Espresso Mali. "We want to have something consistent, which is why we go with a blend," he explains. While they're shying away from third wave, Graine Brûlée looks to integrate itself as one of the few quality brews in a hood mostly populated by Starbucks and Tim Hortons.
The food is comforting, "grandma's house" style - muffins, sandwiches, chili and soups at affordable prices. They're giving numerous cheeky nods to the Village's gay character in the theme, too: "graine" refers to a certain male appendage in Quebecois French, and it's not difficult to grasp the joke in their punny slogan: "every 'graine' is unique". Keeping with the phallic approach, there are even hotdogs on the menu. Too far? Loignon says no: "It's always slippery, but we try to keep a humour that's between intelligent and childish."
La Graine Brûlée, 921 Sainte-Catherine Est, (514) 903-8550.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Site - www.lagrainebrulee.com