Alpha Soul Cafe
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Hintonburg/ Preston/ Chinatown
1015 Wellington Street
Foods from Alpha Soul Cafe
2012 Jan 26
We were at Alpha Soul recently and it's the sort of place I really want to like (and perhaps we've just been unlucky) but the service has not been bad, just non-existent.
On our first visit it was fifteen minutes before we received any attention. We ordered a drink each and it was ten minutes before they arrived despite being one of perhaps five occupied tables. We enjoyed the atmosphere and stayed for a while. In that time no one came to check in and our glasses were eventually empty for ten minutes before I decided to find someone and ask for service for a second round.
We returned recently and waited 25 minutes, completely ignored, as the table beside us received their food and drink orders. Of course the atmosphere was great and it was a nice place for a conversation on a cold night but eventually we just got up and left, apparently still unnoticed.
The menu looks great, the space itself is very nice. I love the paned windows at the front, framed in black. It's inviting in every way. The space reminds me a lot of Cafe Wim which was a favourite destination of ours on Sussex Avenue many, many years ago, although Alpha Soul lacks the myriad of nooks, booths and crannies (not necessarily a bad thing as one could be forgotten in them as well).
Perhaps the confusion on our part is a matter of expectations. Alpha Soul used to have a role as a morning coffee shop, until their hours changed to open starting at lunch, and in that environment I can expect to look for my own service and order at the cashier. If that's expected as well for dinner and wine by the glass then that's okay but walking in as a new patron it's not what I would normally anticipate and needs to be communicated to people who arrive.
In any event, Alpha Soul has a certain charm that exceeds that any other place on the block, including the places that opened recently across the street. We certainly admire their dedication to supporting the arts and community involvement. We'll give it another few tries and hope for a better experience.
2012 Jan 21
Alpha soul... or Alpha coffee shop/restaurant/cafe/bar???
I have been frequenting this gem for some time as I live up the street. As someone who likes to support independent business, especially businesses that are courageous enough to stray from the mainstream, I was extremely pleased to have this community-focused joint open up on Wellington. As the place wears many hats, I will discuss these in turn.
But first, general hits and misses:
1) Hi-speed internet is free and absolutely unlimited... Nice!
2) Service with a smile every time.
3) Great artistic vibe including rotating local art on the walls, live music most weekends, and special events.
4) Community organizing is encouraged and supported! Bring your politico movement or sports team down to plan your next big event and expect love from the staff.
5) The temperature is on the chilly side (maybe a bonus in the summer?)
Coffee Shop: Number 1 is the fair trade coffee. Excellent drip in various roast profiles is available, while the espresso-based specialties are above average as well...maybe even better than the Ottawa coffee baron that just opened up across the street. Prices are comparable. They also have scrumptious baked goods including scones (the chocolate orange is SO GOOD!), muffins (although a bit small), and cookies.
Restaurant: Have had several items from both the lunch and dinner menus. All were very good. Would recommend the lamb rogan josh, the spicy Thai bouillabaisse, or pulled-pork sandwich. Prices are super reasonable too ranging from 8 to 13 for most items on the menu. And you can expect to leave full.
Cafe/Bar: A selection of local micro-brews on tap. Wine and cocktails as well. Although the lists are short for the above, the quality and price is good across the board. Try a 5 dollar pint Wednesday and bring a date, book, or late night spreadsheet. All are welcome!
To wrap up, I know it is a risk to step away from the norm but it is places that do that make our communities and city a more diverse, interesting and exciting place to live!
2011 Apr 29
.... and the inside (through the rainy window).
Please someone review soon. I'm skint right now.
2011 Apr 29
Here's what it looked like on opening night at around 10pm. I was driving home when i saw the lights on so I stopped and used my phone camera.
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