We usually don’t travel too far East when exploring cafes. Living, working, going to school on the West end we usually stay there. Plus, I think the best of Toronto is almost all West of Yonge.
On cold winter’s afternoon, after a lecture, we headed over to the bustling strip, and entered Cafe M. The space was large, especially for its central location, with lots of seating. They had a good assortment of baked goods and even some locally made preserves (lime marmalade? sounds awesome). We could smell the espresso (which didn’t seem to be too fresh) and the sweets.
We ordered our drinks and took a seat. On the menu they had listed a macadamia nut latte, and I thought it sounded interesting, deviating from my standard fare. My wife, wishing to avoid the caffeine so late in the afternoon went with a hot chocolate. Both drinks were Starbucks quality.
I should have known better, but the macadamia nut latte was just a syrup based drink. It tasted like any other nut latte (try a hazelnut flavour at Starbucks, or an almond latte somewhere else). The bitterness of the espresso and the sweetness of the syrup created a medicinal flavour. The milk was textured to be fluffy, and not dense as I prefer. The same was true of the hot chocolate, but the flavour was actually much better.
I don’t know if I would suggest Cafe M. I would probably prefer Starbucks in terms of drink quality (which isn’t saying much) and the vibe of the space at most Starbucks locations iis more congenial. Cafe M was too eclectic (think the ethos of Toronto at its worst) with most the decor having a Homesense or Sears kind of feel. It has a great location going for it, and I like that it isn’t a chain. Unfortunately these two factors aren’t worth getting too excited for.