Parc Extension has a new nook for coffee, banh mi and Vietnamese dishes, with Café Denise now open on the neighbourhood’s edge.
Denise moves into the mostly light-industrial zone on Beaumont just near Parc, closer to the loft and office buildings of nearby Outremont and so-called Mile Ex than to much of the neighbourhood.
There’s two prongs to the café — as the name implies, it’s partly doing coffee — there’s both third-wave espresso, and classic Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. The food offerings are light Vietnamese fare, like noodle salads, vermicelli soup, and banh mi sandwiches, alongside a few pastries. The soup and salad options rotate daily, but might include something like a peanutty and spicy noodle bowl with vegetables and tofu — light, but flavourful. There are also a few pastries, and a breakfast option too.
It comes from Vietnamese-Canadian artist and documentary filmmaker Khoa Le, alongside another producer, Ménaïc Raoul.
Taking up a small street corner, Denise occupies a relatively petite space with a communal table and wooden stools — it’s minimalist and not ostentatious, but the presence of a spot like Denise could prompt complaints of gentrification (a valid issue in the neighbourhood, although on a much bigger scale) just by virtue of its newness.
That said, Denise is a thoroughly cheap eat, accessible to locals: the daytime menu maxes out at eight dollars (tax in) for a solid lunch; banh mis are around five dollars (more or less the standard rate across the city).
At the moment Denise is only open daytimes, but is soon to transform into a day-and-night haunt, with dinner service coming next Monday (December 11) — that menu is still to be released (the café teased taro-shrimp dumplings as just one dinner item), but peep the day menu in its place, served until 2:30 p.m. weekdays. Meanwhile, check out the space and a dish or two.
STATUS — Café Denise is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday (evening service begins Monday, 11 December) at 386 Beaumont Avenue.
- Café Denise [Official]