Wallace Espresso - Carleton Village

Ask any Toronto west ender and they’ll probably tell you they’ve been to, and love,

Wallace Espresso.


Wallace Espresso is known for pouring excellent espresso-based beverages in compact coffee shops by baristas who are as cool as they are personable. With locations in the Junction, King West and Corso Italia neighbourhoods, their 70a Hounslow Heath Road in Carleton Village (just off of St. Clair Ave W) marks the café’s newest location.



ABOUT + AMBIENCE


Just like Wallace’s other coffee shops, their Hounslow Heath café is a small brick-and-mortar shop that can only host a handful of people for counter seating. Given that the café opened it doors in 2021, rarely anyone has sat inside the shop given the pandemic/ restrictions/etc. This fact plus its general small stature makes the café more of a grab-and-go spot rather than a stay-in visit.


If you are looking for seating however, the café’s front area offers benches for outdoor seating in the warmer months. Despite its small size, the café is discernable from street-level for two things...


#1) The line of customers waiting outside on most days. I used to frequent the café on weekdays around 8am-8:30am and every time there was at least one other person ordering alongside me. Don’t be fooled by the café’s residential location – it’s a locals’ hot spot and you should be prepared to wait a few minutes to place your order.


(The wait is worth it every time in my eyes. Besides the delicious food and drinks, that I’ll talk more about below, one of my favourite things about the café is the people who work there. The baristas make an effort to learn their customers’ names and sometimes even their orders. It’s a very sweet and highly appreciated touch to the coffee shop experience.)


And #2, the bright baby blue mural that covers the café’s exterior. Designed by Andrea Manica, the mural is cheerful and attention-grabbing, with painted motifs of everything the café houses: coffee, baked goods, sweets, and community.


Hours at the café are often adjusted based for the season and other factors, so please check them out on Google or Instagram for current business hours. At the time of writing the post, Wallace Espresso – Carleton Village is open Monday-Friday 8am-3pm & Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm.


MENU


Just like the mural depicted, Wallace Espresso’s menu can be segmented into three categories: coffee, baked goods, and sweets. To start with the namesake of this blog…


Wallace serves standard coffee shop fare. Although there isn’t a real menu on site, rest assured that the café’s talented baristas can whip up whatever espresso-based beverage you fancy. My hot weather go-to: house cold brew. My cold weather go-to: flat white.


Drinks range between $2.25 and $4.50. In terms of accommodating dietary restrictions/preferences, the coffee shop offers almond, soy, oat, and coconut milk alternatives. Would rather brew at home? Wallace also sells their coffee beans for purchase at the café.


One of Wallace’s small touches that shouldn’t be overlooked is making beverages with the customer’s espresso roast of choice. This is substantial because it gives you the power to customize your coffee to suit your taste preferences. Typically a medium and dark roast are offered - I typically go for the dark roast for the robust flavour and to give me that extra pep in my step.


I have a hard time swinging by Wallace for a coffee and not leaving with something to eat as well. Luckily, the café’s eats are just as good as their beverages.


Serving baked goods from Blackbird Baking Co, a variety are offered every day: danishes, scones, croissants, cookies, bars, and sometimes even baguettes. On my visits, I typically opt for one of their fruit danishes and/or buttery scones – yum.


Other café eats include the house breakfast sandwiches (two kinds: bacon or roasted red pepper). Served warm, the sandwiches are composed of English muffin with egg, havarti, dill, and cayenne mayo for $6.50. Pro tip: when asked if you want hot sauce with it, the answer is always yes.

Aside from sweet pastries, Wallace offers ice cream in the summer. Last summer, its first year in operation, the café would extend its hours to serve scoops into the early evening. Here’s hoping we see that continue in the summers to come.


SUMMARY


Wallace Espresso is a coffee shop staple in Toronto’s west end and over 2021, they opened a new location at 70a Hounslow Heath Road. Although hours vary depending on the time of year, generally, you can expect the café to be open 7 days a week from the morning to mid-afternoon (check Google for their current operating hours). Just like other Wallace locations, the Carleton Village café is small and is more of a grab-and-go spot rather than a stay-in visit. Despite its stature, the café stands out in the residential neighbourhood with its bright and whimsical mural covering its exterior. The café serves standard coffee shop fare at a price point between $2.25 and $4.50. Alternative milks are available, and drinks can be made with the customer’s choice of espresso roast. As for eats, enjoy a range of baked goods from Blackbird Baking Co, house made breakfast sandwiches, or – in the summer – ice cream. With something for everyone, visit to understand why locals frequent the café and why Wallace is so beloved by Torontonians.