So many of the quirkily harmonious qualities of Village Café & Bakery, Colleyville’s 2-month-old nouveau-rustic sandwich/salad/baked goods spot, emerge within seconds of a stroll through its unassuming entrance.
First, there’s the decor, starting with walls painted alternating hues of taupe and seashell pink, framing a carefully choreographed mash-up of antique-sale bric-a-brac: a teal-colored watering can next to an Asian tea service. Then my eyes wandered to the bespoke butcher-block tables, a loveseat beckoning to be curled up in and faux-distressed sideboards holding everything from Splenda to ceramic animals.
The next mesmerizing visuals came from two front cases filled with such creations as “jumbo” croissants spiced with jalapeño or sausage and cheese ($2.95) and a lattice-roofed spinach pie ($3.99). The sweets contingent included salad-plate-sized chocolate chunk and M&M’S-studded cookies, and almond bear claws ($3.99) the size of a talon of the nearest Kodiak bear.
And then I meet Village Café owner and clear front-of-house master Songyoung Lee. Born near Seoul, South Korea, before emigrating in 1987 to Grand Prairie, Lee became the proprietor of several doughnut shops in Weatherford. A few moments chatting with Lee made it abundantly clear where Village Café gets its intriguing mix of soft-spoken refinement and unpretentious hospitality.
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Classical music fills the dining area, which comfortably seats 20 (the entire restaurant from front door to its back kitchen wall measures a mere 1,450 square feet), and its fast-casual ordering arrangement is apt for its relaxed vibe.
Though I missed out on sampling one of the three breakfast sandwiches (ham, bacon or sausage, served between 8 and 11 a.m.), I found the freshness of the ingredients palpable in each of the three sandwiches sampled, in addition to the soup of the day.
The popular tomato-basil version ($3.75, cup) was a welcome reminder of why tomato and basil fuse so harmoniously. Little chunks of tomato bobbed near small specks of basil, lending unexpected texture to the soothing, rich soup.
The turkey avocado on sourdough ($7.95) consisted of two generously stuffed half-moon-shaped vehicles alternating layers of lean turkey, creamy avocado slices, the often underestimated American cheese, refreshingly acidic tomato, and the welcome crunch of onion and lettuce. Hardly fancy, but heartily good.
Though listed under the “subs” section, the turkey and ham club ($8.50) didn’t come with a classic sub roll. But that did not detract from the sandwich’s equitable layering of salty ham, lean turkey and crackling bacon with a repeat appearance by smooth American cheese along with those sprightly elements of lettuce, tomato and onion.
The cafe’s grilled chicken panini ($8.95), one of five on the menu, sported reassuring grill marks, showing just how well the panini press worked, alchemizing slabs of chicken and slices of mozzarella with earthy roasted red bell peppers and onions — with all ingredients perked up by a tangy pesto mayonnaise.
All three sandwiches were accompanied by house-made potato chips, with the potato slices forming a double-helix, curling around each other.
Village Café afforded me that rare opportunity to sample authentic macarons. And the one ($2 each) with hazelnut filling was a button-sized bite of cloudlike goodness.
From the mini-pastry section, I could not resist the nut-dotted, chocolate enrobed “turtle” square ($1 each). That too was vanquished in a single bite.
Between Village Café and Bakery’s soothing musical soundtrack, its charming supply of Grandma’s-attic decor, and the irresistibly hospitable welcome by Lee, it is easy to see why people might come for lunch — and stay for an afternoon coffee or tea break.
Village Café’s rare languid pace is confirmed by the sweet plea hanging above the entrance to the kitchen. It reads: “Thank you for being patient while she makes each order with lots of love.”