This last afternoon of the long weekend and all the house work taken care of, my Mother-in-Law, Wife and I decided to head downtown to tour the Byward Market. We toured the fruit and vegetable stands and then eyed the breaded goods at Le Moulin De Provence (55 Byward Market Square, Ottawa).
We perused the displays of what pretended to be a Paris Cafe transported to the Byward Market building in Ottawa. We found our afternoon snack and waited to order in the not to fast moving lineup. The main issue with this cafe is it is set up with long display cases along the "L" shaped walls of the cafe. Thus, there is bread section for loafs of bread; another section for croissants, danishes and coffee; additional section for deli meats and finally a section for salads. Each section has it's own servers and cash register for check out instead of one stand alone check out area. This means that server at bread counter could be standing there twiddling his thumbs while the two servers slinging croissants and coffee are overwhelmed with customers. This is exactly what occurred while we waited to order our croissants and coffee. Added to the wait was a technical glitch with the interac machine that required the manager to stop by and rectify. Eventually we got to place our order and continue to wait in line to pay.
The Order: 2 Almond Croissants and 2 Coffees.
The seating was much to be desired. Most of the tables were already full with Monday afternoon tourists or dirty from people having been there. No sign of a dedicated employee cleaning the tables or even remotely looking interested in tending to the tables.
The Almond Croissant was the saving grace of this place. Moist, sweet and tasty. Great with a cup of coffee.
The coffee? Nothing special. Just a plain Jane coffee with no discernible effort. Probably just a plane Van Houte coffee from a can and nothing special like you would find in Paris. Heck even a locally sourced Bridgehead coffee would have been better.
Overall, Le Moulin De Provence is nothing but a tourist trap pretending to be a special place in Ottawa. The French themed cafe sure would work there. But for two coffees and two croissants at $12.00 is overpriced! Added to that the dirty tables and lack of effort to present at least a clean environment makes it worse. On top of that the arrogance from the Barack Obama 2009 visit to by a couple of cookies with the word "Canada" on them is quite noticeable. Full size pictures in the entrance door windows, more photos inside and a complete display of overpriced Canada cookies seemed to be an arrogant way to say "we are tops". Le Moulin De Provence may have been tops back in 2009 when Obama was there, but things have slid since then. Now you get asked for spare change by a homeless person walking by as you sit at a table with crumbs all over it. At $12.00 for what we ate, Le Moulin was lucky I bused my own table. Next time, I rather go to Tim Hortons for coffee and baked goods.
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