A couple of months ago I visited Blackbird Brasserie. At the time, the space that had housed Bouchée Boucher’s retail operations was still under renovation. This renovation has produced a new coffee shop, called The Canteen coffee shop. The ownership is the same, and this is the second The Canteen coffee shop location, as there is another one on Stafford Street, just down the road from The Grove.
The interior of The Canteen is very much the same as it was when the place held Bouchée Boucher. The new owners have done a creative job with the space. The frames for the retail items have been left, but the shelves have been removed allowing for the area to be turned into counter space for enjoying your beverage. There are also a couple of larger tables with seating for six along with a counter by the window with a few more stools.
The area where the meat counter was, has been changed. It’s being used as a prep area for the restaurant. The counters are low enough that you can watch the Blackbird Brasserie staff as they work. The big fridges and freezers are gone, but there is still a little cold case by the cash register where you can pick up food and beverages
One thing that has changed since I first started visiting, is that the drink menu is now up against the back wall as you enter the building. That means you have to look there first before heading to the counter, which is on the left, before you place your order. It’s a small thing, but an adjustment you need to make.
Beverages and Sweets at The Canteen
The beverages available at The Canteen are listed on a board just to the left of the counter. The choices are very much the same as you would find at any coffee shop. Most of the beverages are available in at least two sizes, some in three. Value wise I’ve tend to order the larger sizes at they seem to give best bang for the buck.
My first couple of times I went in, I simply ordered a beverage to go. Over several visits I’ve tried a few of the different drinks. My least favourite would be the Americano, as I find it to be a darker roast than I prefer. I’ve enjoyed the Mocha, London Fog, and the regular drip coffees that I’ve had.
The Canteen also offers a variety of canned drinks, including the San Pellegrino sodas. I especially enjoy the pomegranate and orange flavour which they generally have in stock. You can also get the regular Coke or Pepsi type beverages in cans.
One thing I really like is their choice of sweets. The sweets at The Canteen all come from Lilac Bakery. The first sweet I tried was the Butter Tart Bar. When I did my post on Winnipeg’s Best Butter Tarts, I ranked Lilac Bakery’s as number 4 out of 14. I think the Butter Tart Bar is even better than the actual Butter Tart.
The other item I tried is the Dream Bar. The menu listing from the bakery describes the bar quite well:
A delicate pink buttercream tops this truly dreamy slice
of succulent cherries, walnuts, and coconut covering a
delectable shortbread base.
One thing I like about all the baked goods is that none of the pieces are too large. I like places where you can get a small piece of something sweet at a reasonable price, and The Canteen delivers.
Sandwiches and Salads.
One thing I really miss with the disappearance of Bouchée Boucher was the availability of to-go meals in the coolers. Fortunately, The Canteen is carrying a small selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads. I haven’t tried any of the soups, but I’ve given a couple of the sandwiches and a couple of the salads a try, and have enjoyed those.
After I had made a few visits ordering mainly beverages, I decided I would give the salads and sandwiches a try. The first time I picked up the Cobb Salad, and an Egg Salad sandwich. The Cobb Salad is one of my favourites as it has a wide variety of ingredients(particularly bacon). The Canteen Cobb was one of the better ones I had. They offer salad dressing on the side, which meant that the salad itself was quite dry before I added the dressing, but that meant that it wasn’t soggy as I ate it (a problem I sometimes encounter with Cobb and Chef salads).
The Egg Salad Sandwich was quite good as well. There was a good amount of filling. The bread was fresh, and I really liked that they included a good helping of lettuce, which gave the sandwich a nice bit of crunch to go against the smoothness of the eggs.
Next time I ordered the Turkey Vegetable Sandwich and the Taco Salad. The thing I really liked about the Turkey sandwich was that when they added the red pepper, it was done as one large piece of each half of the sandwich so I didn’t have to worry about it falling out after the first bite. the flavour was good and there was a good mound of turkey in the sandwich as well.
The Taco salad was also very good. There was a good mix of ingredients. The tortilla chips had been broken up and put in a small container so that they retained their crispiness until you are ready to eat the salad.
The Taco Salad features a nice mix of ingredients. Unfortunately, I had mixed them all in before I took the photo.Given the nature of my job as a priest, and the fact that I don’t drive, there are often times when it’s hard to get home for a meal in between meetings at various times during the days. So, I’m glad The Canteen is there for those times when I need to be able to grab food between the different meetings and services that I’m involved in. The food is quality, the prices are reasonable, and I can get in and out in a very short period of time. I’m definitely going to be stopping in here on a fairly regular basis.
Since writing this post, The Canteen has become a fairly regular stop for me. It’s great, particularly in the middle of the day, if I’m in the mood for a cup of good coffee. I can just walk out the front door of the church, and I’m at The Canteen in about two minutes. By and large it’s a coffee to go place for me. I’ve yet to really take the time and sit inside to enjoy the atmosphere.