“Main streets are the face of a village; back lanes display its character and heart.”
This is the philosophy that holds true for The Back Lane Cafe. The same would likely be said for anyone who stumbles into this relatively new resto in Hintonburg. Upon entry, you feel slightly disoriented, almost as if someone pulled you in by the collar from the back lane. When you get past the entrance, you are welcomed by a country-style home, something
you might find in the country-side of England. The windows are adorned with old-fashioned floral curtains that border on tacky. But it works for the Back Lane. It brings out the hand carved chairs and tightly spaced tables that summon images of a bustling pub. The bar was my favourite part of the interior as it was horseshoe shaped and held a collection of mismatched trinkets on the wall behind. It also was the home of some well received beer taps such as Granville Island draft, St. Ambroise, Kichesippi and Hogsback.
Enough about the atmosphere, the menu is an eclectic mix of fine fare, with some hard-to-beat wood-oven pizzas. I was intent upon mussels that particular day and Back Lane Cafe brought the heat with their tomato pesto mussel dish. The sauce was so good, we had to ask for extra bread to save it from going to waste. We also had a hearty lentil soup with a cute little twist. The waitress suggested that we put the accompanying bun directly into the soup. She said it was stuffed with chevre and would melt into the soup adding extra richness which we were obviously on board for. Delicious.
The wine list, though moderate in size, is well balanced with a great selection of Canadian wines as well as other Old World wines.
Will I be back? Most certainly. This is the kind of place to perch for an evening, making your way through the various aperitifs, beers and wines while enjoying some good home-style cooking. Cap it off with a piping hot espresso, and there’s really nothing better. . . in a nutshell.