Monday, February 22, 2010

CC: Bridgehead Coffeehouse

What's does "CC" mean? [109 and 366 Bank St locations]
Location visited:
Ottawa, ON
Free WiFi ? : yes

4+ [
see key]

Going north in the winter seems tremendously unnatural but occasionally, one has to strap on a thick scarf, don some mittens and drive to Canada. Fortunately, this trip had promise of a nice relaxing stay and a little exploration of never-before-visited Ottawa.

Upon arrival, one of my first destinations was local coffeehouse operation Bridgehead Coffeehouse. According to a few locals, Bridgehead is one of the only places to grab good espresso in town, thus given its close proximity to my hotel, it was an easy respite after the long drive.

After checking in at Hotel Indigo (turned out to be a swell stay by the way), I made my way to one of their four Bank Street (366 Bank St) locations. The exterior of this and most Bridgeheads is mostly window save a snazzy, dark wood sign. Inside, this cafe radiated a warm, chic feel with an exposed brick wall, a bustling counter and an orange, cream and gray color scheme.

Bridgehead produces their own line of coffee, seeming to err closer to dark roasts. I ordered a cup of their Peruvian, a medium roast that actually acted more like a dark roast, as the brew held a peppery and bitter flavor throughout, some sugared grapefruit up front and a touch of nutmeg in the middle. A fair cup that I really thought too dark to be medium, so to give Bridgehead's medium roasts a second try, I went to another Bank St location (109) the next day to try my fortune. Oddly, they also had the Peruvian on tap and at the very least, I credit Bridgehead with consistency, as my second cup of Peruvian was practically identical to my first.

But their espresso is what initially drew me and their espresso is what ended up winning my admiration. The espresso blend, a coffee that looked like a light/medium roast in the grinder, was pulled by skilled hands to produce a beautiful, short doubleshot that held a nice crema and harnessed the powers of lemon, soft pretzel and chocolate truffle. The tea was free leaf.

While I wasn't floored with the darker Peruvian experience, I suppose it is quite possible I simply had misfortune with one of their coffees and that the others will blow me away (experience tells me otherwise, but only further sampling of their coffees could settle that). In the end, the conundrum of a coffeehouse that produces quality espresso but only pumps out lackluster drip is new to my list of unique experiences.

All in all, if you happen to be in Ottawa, try out Bridgehead.


Unknown said...

hi..this is ravi padiyar
from Ujjain

i just adore a hot cuppa coffee
chai latte

Mike said...

I felt that I had to give my 2 cents on Bridgehead too as it is located in the town where I grew up ...

I didn't try any drip, but I had about the same impression as you on the espresso. Good, but nothing great!