Some time ago I wrote about a conversation I had on Twitter about what should be done with the old KFC location. One of the main suggestions was a cafe or art gallery with community friendly meeting space.
Well, people of Spryfield and Herring Cove, your wishes have been answered. PAVIA Gallery opened just last month (and they held an official grand opening ceremony just the other week) so they are brand spanking new. I had a chance to visit PAVIA recently. I enjoyed the clean white gallery space and the art, and sampled quite a few things on their menu.
They're located at 995 Herring Cove Road, which is buried deep within Herring Cove at Hebridean Drive. Co-owner Christopher Webb told me people are starting to make the drive (or ride, they're on the 20 bus route) out just for the coffee. While starting a coffee house and art gallery in Herring Cove may seem counterintuitive to some, Webb and co-owner Victoria Foulger told me they believed this is something the area needs. They wanted to do something "funky" and prove "not everything needs to take place in downtown Halifax." Victoria also runs Ocean Breeze Health and Wellness centre upstairs.
The menu includes an assortment of paninis, home baked sweets, and Italian coffee. The sweets are all baked with real butter, of which I thoroughly approve. I was dining with a group, so we were able to share little pieces of the brownie, the pecan cake with cream cheese icing, the chocolate chip cookies, and the ginger cookies. I took away a grilled vegetable panini with goat cheese, and it was a close toss up between that panini or the proscuitto/mozzerella/olives. The food and sweets were good, but they didn't stand out as enough to draw me back out of my way to Herring Cove.
Ah, but their coffee… I'm a coffee drinker but not a sophisticated one, so I let Christopher choose for me.
He gave me a latte and a lecture on their coffee beans, which are imported from a microroaster in Italy. Apparently, this is similar to a microbrewery in Halifax – small and unique batches of beans. He gave me the shot of espresso while he heated the milk for the latte.
"This wouldn't taste very good," he said. He explained if he used the better tasting beans that are meant for drinking straight espresso, the taste would be lost. I took a sip of it anyway. He told Victoria, "You should have seen Shaina's face when she tried it."
But once he added the milk, it really was very nice. Not at all bitter, slightly sweet, and awfully satisfying, considering that this girl usually drowns her coffee in sugar. This latte didn't need a thing. Not a thing.
My picture above is hardly representative of the gallery, so here is PAVIA's website, where you can find out more about them.