On a sunny day in Vancouver, I walked around Gastown in search of a nice place for an envigorating breakfast. It was early, before 8 AM, and I walked past a little bakery café named The Birds and The Beets. It looked wonderfully fresh, with colourful flowers, open windows, and a clean decor. I went in, and gazed at their healthy looking menu for a while before deciding to go with a Latte and a “Whole Grain Granola & Our Filmjolk Yogurt”. Filmjolk is supposedly the same as the Swedish Fil (according to Wikipedia), Viili in Finnish.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of Viili. The first time I bought it, when I just arrived in Finland, I intended to buy yogurt. For some strange reason I overlooked the Jogurtti (Finnish for Yogurt), and presumed Viili meant yogurt. Boy was I wrong. The Finnish Viili is a slimy, gewy, white substance, with a smooth texture. The sliminess was so off-putting, that I don’t even remember what it tasted like. It’s almost like those slimy kneading toys I had when I was younger.
But, enough about Viili, let’s talk about how wonderful the Birds and The Beets‘ breakfast was! And the space? A lust for the eye, and all other senses!
The granola with syrupy fruit and Filmjolk was both nutritious and delicious. I daren’t say anything about how healthy it was, because the fruit and granola probably contain a lot of sugar, but it felt healthy nonetheless. The latte was great; the foam had the perfect consistency, and the coffee was just the right amount of bitterness to give me that much-needed kick. And as the cherry on the cake some fine latte art to finish it off.
I often wonder if I should fill my Instagram account with pictures of latte art after the first sip, because my first inclination is always to take a sip of a beautiful and fragrant cup of coffee, rather than to take a picture… If you like the idea, let me hear your support in the comments!
A little more about the entourage in which I woke up to this idea: The bakery café smelled delicious of freshly baked bread. The ovens were right behind the counter, and the bread was cooling down in front of the customers. The café stretched from the front on 55 Powell Street, through to 45 Alexander Street on the other side. The counter is located in the Powell Street section, and through a narrowing in the middle, where the sanitary facilities are located, the space is divided into two. They each have a slightly different atmosphere, because of layout and the light that’s coming in.
The front is small and cosy, and the flower corner is right by the window. The back is a bit larger and has higher ceilings. Because of the large amount of tables it becomes a bit less intimate, which is made up for by the quirky furniture elements. The large windows create an airy, open ambience. The same style of furniture was used throughout the café, featuring square beech-wood multiplex tabletops with industrial looking stools, with the occasional vintage treasure. Along the wall was a custom made bench. The counter seemed to be a custom work as well, and the flower corner was laid out with vintage and upcycled wooden benches.
While I was enjoying my coffee, I noticed a florist making flower arrangements. You can see the plants and flowers which decorate the space in some of the pictures. I’m guessing they’re her works of art! Next to the counter I spotted a nifty feature. There’s a water tap—which she used to fill the vases—with right below it a plant. So each time she took water, the tap would drip a little afterwards, watering the plant below it. Such a simple yet brilliant idea!
Overall this place was a great choice for me to get my energy for the day, and I would certainly recommend a visit if you’re around Gastown, Vancouver on an early morning, late morning, or anytime of the day really.