As it was recently voted one of the top 25 coffee shops in Canada by Sharp Magazine, deVille Luxury Coffee & Pastries offers coffee, sandwiches, and other light fare to Calgary’s downtown caffeine connoisseurs.
Restaurant type: Coffee, sandwiches, light fare, local, organic, modern
Honest flavour: 5/10 - After a night of heavy intoxication, my friends and I decided to check out deVille’s fashion district location for some lunch and much needed coffee. Having been to a handful of the other cafes mentioned on the list published by Sharp Magazine, I had a certain expectation as to the quality of coffee and the menu offerings. My americano was somewhat flavourless, but thankfully not burnt or too dark tasting. I appreciated that it was balanced and retained some of it’s complexity, though I would hardly describe it as creamy or rich; and the idea of a ‘luxury’ coffeehouse might hint at a more full, flavourful coffee than what I experienced. The menu at deVille looks to change regularly, as the menu is written on a chalk board. I opted for the rosemary ham sandwich with pineapple, prosciutto and smoked Canadian cheddar. It came as toasted on a panini grill, though my ham and cheese were still cold in the center of the sandwich. The rosemary was subtle in flavour, but it did add a pleasant aroma to my plate. I specifically enjoy sweet and savory combinations, and though I enjoyed the pineapple, the ham in this sandwich just seemed to lack flavour. The bread was overly dry and seemed to soak up any moisture from the pineapple, giving a chewy, dusty, unappealing texture to the whole sandwich. The rosemary ham sandwich looked promising, but it lacked good texture and didn’t have the intense flavour I was expecting from the ingredients.
Ingenuity of flavour: 5/10 - Though many of the menu items look to have big, bold flavours- deVille seems to miss the mark on some of the more simple aspects of a good meal. The sandwich I ate with rosemary ham, prosciutto, smoked canadian cheddar, and roasted pineapple was missing the salt I would expect from the prosciutto. Despite supposedly being a cafe that gets it’s ingredients locally, my sandwich was lacking the freshness that I would associate with organic food. I’m all for interesting flavour combinations and intense, saturated ingredients like aged white cheddar, but when it’s served lukewarm on bread that has obviously been sitting around drying out- I have to ask if the emphasis is in the right place. The ‘all show, no go’ menu was unfortunate, but at the very least I am still interested in trying deVille again simply because some of the menu items are intriguing. Though I doubt I’ll find my new favorite dish at deVille, it is worth noting that I like the idea of a small menu, especially at a cafe. Hopefully the quality of food I expect from one of Canada’s 25 best cafe’s will follow if I do decide to return.
Restaurant Vibe: 6/10 - DeVille’s fashion central location seems to follow it’s menu with regards to the overall ambiance. When I first walked in, I was impressed with the high ceilings, modern decor, friendly staff, and urban style associated with the entirety of the Fashion Central building, which includes a collection of shops focusing on art through contemporary fashion. At closer inspection though, deVille’s vibe falls short with unprofessionalism and it’s unsightly run down state of affairs. Many of the tables were uncleared, seats were missing buttons, and the coffee condiment table was messy. The entire restaurant felt somewhat unkept, despite it not being overly busy on a sunday afternoon. Our food came out one sandwich at a time, the last of which took close to 15 minutes- an uncomfortable waiting period for a sandwich that was premade and warmed up just prior to service. On the whole it was an underwhelming dining experience, and I hope the decor and service can some day finally be worth of it’s name as a ‘Luxury’ cafe.
Overall Value: 6/10 - Pricing was typical at $9.00 for my underseasoned, dry sandwich, which I would now consider steep knowing the quality I received. My coffee was typical market price, but I certainly expected a bolder, more refined americano given deVille’s recent press. My portion was thankfully large enough to keep me satisfied for a short while, though if I were really hungry, the sandwich probably wouldn’t cut it.
Final Thoughts: Flat out- I’ve had better coffee, sandwiches and atmosphere at a handful of other Calgarian spots. The experience just didn’t seem to add up in the end- a room with great potential and a menu with great potential that just seemed to miss the mark in all categories. I’ll think about trying deVille again, but I’ll opt for the arts central location if I do make it back- hopefully there is a greater strive for ‘Luxury’ there.