Nelson the Seagull has been open since May of this year. In their own words, they are about bread and coffee - and they do both exceedingly well.
They are located on Carrall between Hastings and Cordova which you might think of as Gastown but is still the Downtown Eastside, and definitely raises the tone. Even so, I would be cautious about parking my bike where I couldn't keep an eye on it, if I were you. Carrall is one of the streets that has seen its cycle facilities upgraded recently.
As you can see the interior is welcoming and does have the air of a home.
The menu is short, but the choices are still adequately varied, though since I like to eat lunch at noon, when I arrived not all of the items - the stew for instance - were ready.
This came with a knife and fork, so I ate it that way. It would have been quite a mouthful if I had put the components together. Cilantro pesto is a good idea, but I would have preferred that the cheese be identified. This is going to sound like carping, because the white bread is truly very good. But I try to get as much whole grain into my carbs as I can (to lower the glycemic index) so I am hoping that they will introduce some greater variety of bread in future.
I haven't ordered a "flat white" before, since I haven't seen it on a menu, but it turns out that is what I have been making for myself at home. My partner likes to eat the fluffier foam from the top of the pitcher with a spoon - and I am happy to indulge her. Of course, I use a much bigger cup, and I have never managed to produce latte art.
Wikipedia says "A flat white is a coffee beverage from Australia and New Zealand. It is prepared by pouring microfoam (steamed milk from the bottom of a pitcher) over a single shot (30 millilitre) or double shot of espresso. It is similar to the latte and the café au lait and like other espresso based beverages it can be interpreted various ways.
The beverage is typically served in a small, 150–160 millilitre, ceramic cup. Microfoam is used, resulting in a smooth and velvety texture. A flat white may incorporate latte art."
Up to now, when in Gastown I have seen little reason to go beyond the Water Street cafe - but the number and quality of establishments is certainly rapidly increasing. I no longer have kids at home so the Spaghetti Factory has not seen me for a while despite its in house tram. Nelson will certainly see me more often