Pressed café is located downtown Ottawa on Gladstone. They serve sandwiches, coffee, cheap beer and pub fare. Given that I haven’t really been anywhere in Ottawa for the past seven years I wasn’t expecting much from this café. My knowledge of the city is limited and last I checked there wasn’t a whole lot of vegan food on offer. It was a pleasant surprise to discover Pressed has quite a few vegan options on their menu.
I instantly fell in love with their eggplant tempura sandwich. It was crispy, had heaps of vegan miso mayo and was served alongside a massive pile of greens — just the way I like it! The use of the word “tempura”, however, was a bit misleading. The eggplant was definitely battered but the light, fluffy tempura crumbs used at sushi restaurants were no where to be found. It kind of reminded me of the batter you would use for fish and chips.
I went again last week and felt conflicted. Should I order the same sandwich? Or go for something different? I gave in and had the eggplant tempura for a second time. Sadly, it wasn’t the same. It was oily, lacking mayo and my sweet potato chips were soggy. Consistency is super important when it comes to running a top notch café. Yet, this debacle didn’t stop me from going back the following week. After all, life is like a box o’ chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get.
At that point, I switched up my order and had the black bean sandwich which definitely made up for things; the sweet potato chips were still slightly dodgy though. The spicy bean over the salad is a killer addition! Those pickled delights are my new obsession. Also, did I mention the selection of hot sauces? You can never have enough hot sauce flavours.
Pressed might be a bit inconsistent when it comes to food and drink but they’ve got a great atmosphere and super friendly staff. I’m a big believer in community spaces that support all things local and provide a welcoming venue for people to congregate. Three cheers for organic fair trade coffee and locally sourced ingredients!
Not to mention, promoting local artists. This is a huge part of what this hip little café does. They have live music on a regular basis, a rotation of curated art on the walls and a shelf packed full of zines produced by Ottawa creatives. The place is cozy and decorated with shabby-chic furniture reminiscent of all the cool stuff in your grandma’s attic. It’s a coffee-shop-meets-bar where students work until they can start drinking. You get to know the staff. Other patrons working on their blogs or PSYCH101 assignments chat with you. They’ve got the vibe down-pat and in my opinion that makes it worth supporting. I’ll see you there!