Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lunch at Cora in Coquitlam

Cora Breakfast & Lunch on Urbanspoon

I finally managed to get together with an old friend, and she suggested we try Cora in Coquitlam at Sunwood Square (sort-of near Coquitlam Centre).

Cora is a Montreal franchise that started as a humble breakfast place in 1987 and has quickly grown to over 100 locations -- mostly far east but a few in Alberta and now two in BC.

The overall ambiance is very bright, helped by bright lights and sunny yellow decor, enough to dispel any rainy day outside. The cartoony artwork gives it an almost children's playroom feel, helped by friendly staff and an overall family atmosphere. The Coquitlam location was abuzz before and throughout the time we were there (I got there shortly after 11.30 am, we had lunch between Noon and 1pm) and there was invariably someone waiting to be seated at the front desk.

The menu is small and varied, and what hits the table looks like the pictures on the website and on the full-colour illustrated menu.
Breakfast is served even at lunch, which is handy is you like more fruits at every meal.

Overall, the Cora menu is very simple food made colourful and appealing with a lot of beautifully arranged fruits (breakfasts especially) and vegetables.
The abundance of fruits and vegetables makes for a more balanced meal in general, but you still have to look at the ingredients if you want to make sure you're getting something healthy. For example, my friend's Strawberry Waffle from the breakfast menu was one immense waffle (about 6 inches across) topped with custard and a mound of sliced strawberries, plus gobs of whippped cream on the side. (A smaller version is available as a dessert).
By the time the waffle reached our table, the ingredients had made it soggy, but you're not really eating a waffle with this menu choice. Watery syrup is available on every table; not butter syrup and if it were maple syrup, it was sure watered down a lot.

I ordered the Panini-Crepe from the lunch menu, which came with a small bowl of soup and your choice of a serving of Kraft salad dressing selected from what looked like a wooden cigar box. The Panini-Crepe was basically a beef wrap with too-little cheese (personal preference). It came out kind of bland and small.

Both items were about $11. Add one smoothie-of-the-day made with a combination of fresh fruits (not so readily available nowadays) and our meal came to just over $30 after tax. Since everyone paid at the counter I wasn't sure whether a tip was normal, but threw one in anyway since we were served at our table.

Overall I'd have to class the food as mediocre once you look past the presentation. Because of that, I'm tempted to say it was slightly overpriced, but overall it's a fair deal for friendly service, great ambiance, and platings that actually make vegetables look appetizing. Bonus points for breakfasts available at lunch, especially when the the breakfasts look amazing.

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