Subject: Pikolo Espresso Bar
Location: Montreal, QC
Rating: 6+ [see key]
When I travel, rarely do my overnight accommodations and coffeehouse aspirations line up near one another. Whether that's a reflection of my cheap lodging budget or a subliminal aversion to convenience, I usually end up driving out of my way to find quality coffee in distant lands. Yet ever so rarely, my fortunes prevail and I am blessed with a great cafe within a few hot steps of my front door.
This happened to be my situation one recent stay in Montreal. I fell upon a great deal on lodging near Mont Royal that proved providential due to its proximity to several coffee establishments of good repute, the closest being a highly esteemed bar called Pikolo Espresso. Only a half block from my hotel, Pikolo was about a 7 minute crab walk (that's 2 minutes in human steps) from door to door, and yet despite the ideal proximity, it wasn't until later in my second day that I made my inaugural stop.
Situated in a high-ceilinged shop with the bulk of its seating in the back (specifically in a nifty loft), Pikolo provides a warm space for patrons to meet up with friends or simply enjoy their desired beverage. Equipped with roasters like Phil and Sebastian and Saint-Henri, they offer a tremendous variety of fantastic coffees and rotate regularly. The day of my visit, I went with coffees from 49th Parrallel, specifically their Epic Espresso for my espresso and a filtered brew of a Colombian. The espresso, pulled short/medium with brown crema, delivered a balanced, bright infusion of chocolate, lemon, strawberry, a little cilantro, beef broth and vanilla cake. The filtered Colombia also trumpeted out a smooth, saccharine coffee of honey, caramel, apple, fresh bread, porridge and celery in a medium body.
Needless to say, my experience with Pikolo was like someone jamming out to Jethro Tull on a really small flute (i.e rare and spectacular). With another location in Whistler, British Columbia, I hope to one day book a hotel near its front doors. Yet in the meantime, no matter where you wake up in Montreal, definitely make a stop to Pikolo for some excellent coffee.