Fit for a princess

Princess Café is a quaint little coffee shop located on the bustling King Street in uptown Waterloo. Sharing its name with the famous Princess Cinemas, the café is a nice option for a quick bite or for a long chat with friends over a nice selection of coffees and beers from the tap. The assortment of mismatched furniture and menu drawn on the chalkboard creates an approachable, unpretentious gracefulness that effortlessly welcomes diners upon entry.

Coffee is a staple here at the café, and the aromas from the fresh brews linger in the air. Coffee beans are mostly sourced locally while all are fair-trade and organic. It’s nice to see a small café like this supporting other small local businesses.

Items of interest here include “the yamwich,” a roasted sweet potato panini with spinach, red onion, basil pesto and brie, and the “curried tuna melt,”  a curried tuna salad panini with fresh seasoned tomato and cheddar. I had a chance to try the curried tuna melt, as well as the beet salad, pasta salad, the soup of the day, and an iced chai latte.

Menu options are split between panini mains and sides. Most of the portions of panini are adequate and appropriate for the price range, but the sides could be a lot bigger.

After placing an order at the counter, the friendly waiter handed me the iced chai latte I had just ordered. I sat down along the tables and enjoyed the view of the busy King Street on a weekday afternoon.

The rustic flavour I expected from the iced latte was unfortunately missing; it was heavily under flavoured and there was hardly any fragrance of spice. Although the iced component of the drink was a special order (the menu only lists drinks as hot), I’ve had a lot of better chai lattes that tasted and looked like dirt water.

My order came all at once. The beet salad offered refreshing organic baby spinach topped with roasted beets, pickled red onions, and the fragrantly delicious goat cheese, drizzled with a maple vinaigrette.

The pasta salad wasn’t really a salad, it was a rotini in a sundried tomato vinaigrette, served with kalamata olives, red pepper, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese.

The soup of the day was a pumpkin soup with ale and roasted maple. The exotic combination of the soup could easily have been something I made while intoxicated, especially with the ale component that made no sense logically, but somehow in practicality complemented the soup perfectly well. It had a nice hearty feel with a smooth consistency that had a pleasant after taste from the roasted maple.

Last but not least, the curried tuna melt panini was a surprising standout. The toasted panini was paired with the delicious curry-infused tuna salad that had a nice zestiness. The crispiness of the panini complemented the tuna’s mouth-watering warmth, while the tomato and cheddar accentuated the layered texture.

For $24.50, you can also enjoy the “Dinner & A Movie” combo for a combination of a sandwich with a choice of side, a dessert, and a coffee or a tea plus admission to any regular screening at the Princess Cinemas.