The last two weeks have been quite hectic – we’ve been working late, travelling, attending networking events and sleeping when we can. It’s gotten to the point where we need to plan a few weeks in advance just to grab a coffee together (sad, we know). Nonetheless, after a short hiatus, things have finally calmed down and we are back to business as usual. Seeing as we were both in desperate need of bromance, we decided to meet up in the middle of the week at Café Chiado 28, a Portuguese cafe-bistro.
Chiado 28 is located on Beaubien Street, in the south-eastern part of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. The neighborhood’s charming streets are lined with dozens of large trees, giving pedestrians the impression that they are strolling through an urban forest. If truth be told, neither of us are strangers to Rosemont, having spent a good part of our youth in the area (David actually went to Rosemont High School). As we walked around the old neighborhood, we were reminded of a time when public transit was our only way to get around; the bus being our most common choice. Oddly enough, the owners of Chiado 28 were also inspired by a similar story. Chiado actually refers to a neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal and 28 is the most common tram-bus that commutes in that neighbourhood. How clever is that? Perhaps we can one day open a cafe called “Henri-Bourrassa 69”.
From the outside the cafe can be characterized by its massive windows, which cover the entire facade of the building. On the inside, a large counter faces the windows; where guests can be seen sipping their coffees and working on their laptops. Upon entering the cafe the first thing you will notice is a vintage bicycle suspended from the ceiling. The space is quite large providing plenty of seating options between the main floor and the mezzanine. The industrial rustic decor emphasizes natural elements, such as wood and steel. Several Edison bulbs are hung throughout the cafe creating a warm and inviting glow. Cultural accents such as Portuguese mosaic tiles and pictures of Lisbon complete the otherwise minimal decor, and give one the impression that they are visiting a cafe in Europe.
We were quite excited to try Chiado 28, mainly because it’s one of the few Portuguese cafes in the area. Montrealers typically associate Portugal to Cristiano Ronaldo or rotisserie chicken, both of them being quite excellent. However, few people are aware of how good Portuguese coffee really is. Chiado uses Delta Coffee, a reputable Portuguese blend that has been around since 1961. After just one sip, we were sold. The coffee presented a beautifully roasted flavour with just the right amount of potency. Yup, this is what a Monday morning coffee should taste like…
Chiado’s other unique menu items include their pasteis de nata, an authentic Portuguese egg tart pastry which is made in house. Unfortunately, there were no more traditional natas when we visited and we instead opted for a chocolate and apple filled version. Both were an interesting spin on one of our favourite desserts and we suggest you give them a try. Chiado also offers a small selection of sandwiches, bagels and soups. The cod sandwich looked like an interesting choice for our next visit.
Often overlooked in travel books, Portugal is full of culture, history and culinary traditions. Despite it being small in population and size, it remains a nation that is fierce and proud. In fact, Portugal just recently won the 2016 Euro Cup, proving it to be one of the best soccer teams in the world. Their hard work, tenacity and sense of cultural pride are also reflected in their food and to a certain extent; in their coffee. Café Chiado 28 demonstrates this sense of pride by providing Montrealers with an authentic Portuguese coffee experience. Força Portugal! Força Chiado 28!
David and Joey