PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
The Toby's Estate Empire is growing internationally with a Brooklyn store up and running and a cafe roastery in Singapore too. But the latest notch in Toby's belt of local cafe's is a venture just down from Broadway Shopping Centre on Bay Street.
80 Bay, an espresso-cum-wine bar shares a space with Readers Digest, but is surprisingly large and decorated in the classic Toby's aesthetic albeit with a Viennese coffee-house spin. Wooden communal tables with elegant stools, booth seating accompanied by patterned bentwood chairs, industrial pendant lights hanging from high ceilings and a solid wooden bar that showcases syphons and other brewing paraphernalia. The wall is adorned with black and white framed photographs of plantation workers to remind customers of their coffee origins.
All of your typical espresso-based drinks are on offer, but for anyone looking for the ultimate coffee experience, the coffee ‘degustation' for $12 – three different varieties of beans, served on Chemex or V-60 – is a must. Presented in three wine glasses on a wooden board, with a glass of mineral water on the side, the degustation is an opportunity to understand the different flavours and notes found in different beans.
The waiters are very friendly and are more than happy to help explain the brewing methodology and to pass on the tasting notes of each coffee. The first I sample is from Brasil's Sul De Minas at the Sao Pedro farm. It has a floral aroma and undertones of praline, toffee and orange liqueur. It won the cup of excellence and turns out to be my favourite pick. The second glass is from Mexico's Nayarit region from the La Yerba Reserva farm and tastes of honey, melon, balanced pineapple and lemon. The notes ring true and I find it quite citrusy (perhaps too much zest for my tastes). The final coffee is from Costa Rica's Central Valley at the Perla Negra farm. It has notes of strawberry, plum, vanilla and brown sugar and is more full-bodied then I expect but makes for good sipping.
Apart from coffee there is a small Australian wine list and a decent food menu featuring well made sets of sandwiches, salads and other sweet treats.