Val and I needed a cute place to eat at. We wanted something different. And cheap. OK, more cheap than different. But different nonetheless. I AM aware I just said the 'd' word like three times. Still. We decided on THE newest place around: September Surf Café. Which, by the way, sounds like they will have their first run in soon with the Office de la langue française. I mean come on, they're just begging for it.
So, we all know that for a new restaurant to be successful, it needs to have either extraordinary food, a great concept or really rich owners (as I've seen before, even uber rich people sometimes can't save restaurants). Well, I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that they are going for the concept here. This is a coffee shop with, wait for it, a DIY surf board repair shop! BAM! Whaaaaat! Oh and a little surf-related store-ish (definition: a couple shelves). I mean, I would have never, ever, EVA thought that I'd see this in Montreal of all places! I mean, we only have two natural waves for surfing and an indoor one at Quartier dix 30 if I'm not mistaken.The surf shop is in the back and hardly seems like anything else but an excuse to be uber cool and different.
The space itself is quite big, with really high ceilings and lots and lots of room wiiiith... one big table!?! I mean, they could be making much more money if they added a table here and there (think W Station on Wellington where every inch of the place has a table). Basically, it's that huge table, seats at the windows and a couple at the bar plus some random chairs in one corner. I don't believe that's using the space wisely. Anyhoot, it's very industrial meets cottage style: brick wall, single bulb light fixtures, big wooden table, clean lines. The music was a bit too relaxed when I got in but then it became more upbeat which, compared to the first one, did not make me want to sleep ;) The vibe in there is nice tho: you can see that they already have regulars that come in often and that know the employees and on a weekend day, I've seen this place full with parents and kids and a many hipsters.
I had to have a hot drink. When in Rome right? Val and I were there for lunch but a nice chai latte sounded like just the thing I needed. First off, they drew a heart with the foam! Aaaaaaw! OK, I know it's apparently not that hard to do but hey, it's the little things. It was smooth, hot and creamy. Three aspects I look for in my foamy hot drinks.
To be clear, we had three choices for the eating lunch part: homemade granola (this is obviously a breakfast item), a cheese toast (it was more elaborate than that but still...) and the bol balinais (which is what we had---duh). I must say I was quite disappointed with the lack of choices, especially since I had read that you could eat there. The bol balinais was made up of coconut rice, cabbage, peppers, cucumbers, green onions, lime zest and peanut sauce. First off, the rice was largely (and this is an understatement) overcooked. I mean, when u can smoosh it as easily as I was smooshing it, iz because iz overcooked gurl. Oh, it's overcooked!!!! Plus, I did not detect any coconut until my last bite (to be fair, Val did). The lime, both our palates had a hard time finding. We could see some but we just couldn't taste it. The veggies were a bit too raw and crunchy for my taste: you got rice in there, why not cook the vegetables just a bit. Blanch them for all I care but having crudités in my rice is not what I like best. The peanut sauce was way too present and overpowering. It was too strong and this is coming from someone who absolutely loves her peanut sauce.
I had to have something better to make myself feel... better about going there. Hahaha! They only have a couple dessert type thangs so we had the zucchini and chocolate chip bread. The sides were a tad dry but the inside was moist and chocolaty but not at all zucchini-y. I could see it but there was no hint of it when I took bites. All in all it was still good.
Service was meh. Seriously. Neither of us were impressed. On top of it, we were AT the bar, right in FRONT of them. We had to ask for water, and come to think of it, we had to ask to get the menu AND to order. They were not busy at all; that would have been the only possible excuse. They were actually a bit rude, to boot! It seemed like there was a September Café club and we were totes not members. And I must mention this: when we were paying, she asked us if it was separate and we said yes and THEN she asked us if we wanted two bills. Some people.
And now, the scores!
Food: 6 (but only because of the chai and the OK dessert)
Service: No. OK, a 5.
I know I seemed harsh but hey, when you have a bad experience, you can't be Mr. Nice Guy. I might go back for one of those chai lattes tho.