Tucked away on a quiet street in Québec’s Saint-Roch neighbourhood, Mælstrøm is easy to miss. The building it square and ordinary, and the surrounding buildings appear to be empty, some in disrepair. The only evidence that Mælstrøm exists is a square white sign that juts out from the side of the building, and a small sandwich board standing just outside the door displaying a greeting and possibly some specials. Welcome to Mælstrøm, one of Québec’s hottest new cafés.
Exposed brick walls and faded plank wood floors, worn square tables with mismatched country style chairs painted in either white, black, or grey; exposed pipes painted in a brushed gold to given them a more industrial-chic feel; a bar with a white subway tile wall, industrial stools and lighting; Mælstrøm is an urban café who has mastered the art of industrial-chic ambiance, and while there are no shortages of hipsters, the café attracts Québecers from all walks of life.
Mælstrøm, which opened its doors on November 5, 2015, is known for two things: their famous barista-owner Jean-Daniel Lajoie (he has two partners: Marie-Ève Leclerc and Mathieu Villeneuve), and their cold brew. The former learned the art of coffee making in Melbourne, Australia. The latter is one of the main reason why people flock to Mælstrøm.
Sitting at a table near one of the windows which face rue Saint-Vallier Est, I enjoy a chilled glass of draft cold brew coffee and marvel at its divine existence as I occasionally nosh on date truffles, rolled in cocoa.
During the day, the café is relaxed and quiet, a perfect spot for getting some work done while enjoying artisanal coffee (hot or cold) or a cup of chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). A perfect temporary workspace. In the evening Mælstrøm’s vibe changes are locals arrive to enjoy draft beer or cocktails — some made with cold brew coffee.
The menu at Mælstrøm features a variety of coffee: espresso, latté, americano, cappuccino; and four different styles of cold brew coffee. A small selection of pastries are also on offer: croissants, pistachio or date truffles, or cupcakes. Coffee prices range from $2.84 to $4.35.
Our favourite: Draft cold brew (Fût) for $4.35
181, rue Saint-Vallier Est • Québec City, Québec • G1K 3P2 • 418.523.0700
Open Mon to Sat: 7:00 am to 1:00 am, Sun: 7:00 am to 12:00 am