10-12 John St North
You walk down the hustle and bustle of Main St toward John, book or notepad in hand and Lucienne Boyer softly playing into your earphones. You are looking for a quiet place to read, write or relax with a friend.
Or maybe you know nothing about the French culture. You have no idea who Lucienne Boyer is (singer of Parlez-Moi d’Amour which you’ll find in one of Lindsay’s all time favourite movies, Casablanca) and you don’t know the difference between a macaron and a macaroon (ask Heather if you still don’t know).
But, hey that’s okay. Moulin Rouge Café and Boutique has just the right atmosphere any local café goer will love, with the fine French details Coco Chanel would be proud of.
Located at 10-12 John St N in Treble Hall, Moulin Rouge is one of Hamilton’s newest Cafés. Five months into business, the Café and Boutique is doing well says owner Jeff Feswick.
Jeff tells us that he feels like Moulin Rouge is the hidden gem on John St N. But don’t let its intimate setting fool you – Moulin Rouge is not exclusive in the least and opens its doors to any Hamiltonian.
Okay, so let’s dive right in!
The “Moulin Rouge” logo has the vivacious curves and sultry feel you would expect from a dimly lit French café and the boldness found in a strong French woman. And could it be any other colour than red? We dig it.
Lindsay’s order: Freshly squeezed O-Juice at $4.00 plus a salad with none other than French dressing, approximately $5.00. Total Cost: $10.20.
The O-J was unreal. I mean, a little Starbucks priced but well worth spending the two toonies I found at the bottom of my purse. Jeff said to ask for it with ice and shaken, not stirred.
The salad – was salad.
Heather’s Order: Thé at $1.95 plus a ham and cheese croissant sandwich, approximately $4.00. Total Cost $7 and some odd cents.
Well you know I love my tea – I drank every last sip. I also did enjoy asking for a cup of (peppermint)“thé.” Last time I was there I noticed they had some adorable rock-sugar-on-a-stick, and it was free to customers! I thought this was a great addition to the teas, but was disappointed that I didn’t see them available on this visit.
The croissant sandwich was filling and fresh. It served its purpose as a late afternoon snack. I would have loved to see some true Parisian meals available… Arugula and tomato on a baguette, anyone?
Look out! Moulin Rouge just got its liquor licence. We see red wine and french beer in its future.
As soon as you walk anywhere near Moulin Rouge you can feel the vibe of John St. N change. As you near Treble Hall you see a beautiful storefront that showcases a sophisticated café and boutique. Its deep red colours draw you in and instantly entice you.
When you walk in you feel like you have just been invited into the secret world of the Moulin Rouge. French music plays in the background, French books lay on the counter and the staff is there to make sure you enjoy every second of it.
We loved the combination of exposed brick and chandeliers. Super chic!
With the couches and the set up in the café side you really feel like you could sit and relax with a good book or good conversation. Plus – Moulin Rouge offers free Wi-Fi to customers!
On the other side is the boutique. You are able to shop and chillax on this side as well. They have tables and couches set up so you can bring your drink or food if it’s a scenery you prefer. We opted to stay on the café side while eating, as the crisp whites of the boutique made us nervous.
What can we say, from the music to the décor to the clothes, Moulin Rouge displays a consistent brand. They know who they are and hey, we like it. And you will too.
We think Hamiltonians are always on the hunt for a great brand and a great experience when it comes to our food and restaurant scene. We’re all about the details and the way we feel when we step into a restaurant. And the way Moulin Rouge made us feel they accomplished any goal they had set out with their branding.
Social Media Campaign
Is lacking. Five months into business and Moulin Rouge seems to be known to those who pass it or to those who know a friend of a friend who has been there. We think some serious Twitter and Instagram love needs to happen. #HamOnt loves local places. Let them love you Moulin Rouge!
Suggestions and Recommendations
Amp up your social media and your menu. Would love to see an array of macarons (again, if STILL unsure, ask Heather).
Overall, a place the two of us will frequently visit.