Campus café review: Momentum
U of R’s new café offers sinful cinnamon buns, variety of sandwich options, locally sourced coffee and art
Let’s be honest. Right now at the U of R, food services are scarce; there are limited options. The Tim Hortons recently opened back up, but we’ve all had Tim’s before; the Extreme Pita has been open for a while, but that doesn’t always hit the spot. Introducing Momentum: a brand new, locally owned cafe right here at the U of R. It’s located within the Innovation Building, just a short walk away from the campus green.
The walk from the green to the Research and Innovation Centre is surprisingly really nice. When I went to Momentum, it was my first time making the trek through the Innovation walking trail. The walking trail provides plenty of benches and places to eat if you want to take your baked goods outside.
The coffee shop is owned by Laurie Wall and CJ Katz. Wall is the owner of Saskatchewan’s first full-service catering company, Wallnuts Expressive Catering. Wall brings her knowledge of farm-to-table food into her work at Momentum. Katz is the author of award-winning cookbooks One Loaf at a Time: The Baking that Brought us Together While we Remained Apart During COVID-19 and One Bowl at a Time: The Soups, Stews, and Bowls of Comfort that Brought us Together While we Remained Apart During COVID-19. Alongside writing cookbooks, Katz is the host of The Wheatland Cafe, a cooking show on CTV.
The café has delicious baked goods like muffins, cakes, cookies, and brownies, as well as a changing baked good of the day. When I was there it was “Sin-Buns Thursday,” described as cinnamon buns so good it’s sinful – and they weren’t wrong. The cinnamon buns were a bit small, but overall delicious. The brown sugar mixed perfectly with the cinnamon, and I will probably not stop talking about the icing on those cinnamon buns, which made them perfect. It was just the right amount of sweet, but not enough to overpower the rest of the cinnamon bun.
Similar to the pastries, they have a changing sandwich of the day. When I was there, it was a Reuben sandwich with pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. Some of the other options they’ve had are a Cuban Panini “TLT” with turkey, ham, and pesto aioli, and an open-faced vegetarian sandwich with roasted zucchini and herbed goat cheese. To go along with the sandwiches, Momentum offers the option of soup or a salad. I was unable to try either, but based on the rest of the food, I would expect it to be fantastic.
For people on the go, they offer online ordering and pick-up through their website, which is perfect for students and professors with their busy schedules who need a quick lunch. They offer a variety of hot drinks, from teas to coffees to a simple steamer. Outside the café is a sign with different drink specials that are all equally delicious.
The food is seasoned incredibly well, no bite is ever bland, and each flavour mixes to create a delicious meal. Each meal is served on a plank of wood which you can return, and they’ll wash and reuse. Best of all: they work with other local businesses as much as they can. The coffee is from Ambassador Coffee’s roastery here in Regina. Momentum also offers locally made canned and bottled drinks in their side fridge. Even the art is local: produced by an artist in residence from Saskatchewan, Val Moker, that makes art in their common area.
The seating area at the Research and Innovation Centre right outside the café is beautiful. The lighting is fantastic and the chairs are comfortable. The biggest complaint I have is that the tables are much lower than the chairs and you have to lean in close to make sure you don’t make a mess.
The menu changes often, providing variety for customers. When asked to remove an item from a dish for us picky eaters, they happily obliged. Their menu seems to cater to all different kinds of eaters with many different options. But, in all honesty, it’s a bit pricey. No more than your trip to Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich and coffee, but for a university student, it’s not something I could sustain daily like a quick trip to Tim’s for a double-double. The food and drink are well worth the price, though.
Momentum Café is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is located in Innovation Place at 10 Research Drive. Their menu can be found on their website at momentumcoffee.ca.