Cafe Reviews

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Admiral Cheng Ho

Admiral Cheng Ho, Abbotsfordby Tess Presso

Marwin has done it again. This is a stunning café, with some of the most amazing coffee available on the market. Admiral has 6 grinders filled with various single origin beans- most of which were geisha, cup of excellence, or ninety plus beans when I visited.

My Nekisse was spot on. When an espresso arrives with an aroma good enough to bottle and a smooth rich flavour, its very hard to avoid ordering a second. The consistency in quality is evident once the second cup is downed within minutes.

This cafe has a very familiar atmosphere – from the large clock adorning the main wall, to the artwork depicting Admiral Cheng Ho himself. The striking feature was the gorgeous copper piping feature along the brew bar, which allowed for the rustic feel we have all come to love at Monk’s headquarters.

The menu is as organic and nourishing as Monk Bodhi Dharma. Expect vegan options, with the added delectability. Staff at Admiral are like a family. I was greeted with smiles, and the team create a warm welcoming environment.
The only fault I can find is that it is not close enough to my house. Then again, Admiral Cheng Ho is worth travelling for.

Admiral_Cheng_Ho, AbbotsfordAnyone interested in quality coffee and food should definitely put this on their list. It won’t be long before the crowds are lining Johnston Street to get a seat in this new coffee mecca.

 

Admiral Cheng Ho.
325 Johnston St
Abbotsford, VIC 3067

Owner: MARWIN SHAW

Roaster: MONK BODHI DHARMA



Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Cornerstone Cafe

Cornerstone Cafe HamptonA mere stone’s throw from the vibrant busy main shopping strip of Hampton, Cornerstone & Co. Cafe is conveniently situation in Bayside Melbourne. Far enough from the hustle and bustle of Hampton Street, yet near enough to ensure ease of access and parking. Set in a quiet suburban location, Cornerstone & Co. café brings together luscious gastronomy, quality coffee, and skilful service.

This fresh and lively café was named after a Kings of Leon song that brought owner Michelle and her partner together. This sentimental value follows through the café, with a unique menu based on a well traversed head chef, Shoichi Ueda , from Japan who travelled through Italy perfecting the art of Italian cuisine. Design wise, cornerstone is clean, and energetic, with timber hexagon wall features behind the counter, bright spring toned wire bar stools, an outstanding yellow wired chandelier, and a fresh courtyard dotted with greenery.

Expect to be spoilt by choices for distinctive meals that bring together a fusion between traditional Italian style cooking, and Japanese cuisine. Not just your average café- this place shines in many ways. From traditionally made pasta dishes, to Karaage Burgers with marinated fried Japanese style chicken; your taste buds are sure to be pleased. The stand out dish that showcases the true talent of head chef Shoichi Ueda,  is the Japanese Brunch Set, which offers wasabi seared salmon, miso soup, creamy mustard mayo filled eggs, marinated veggies, 5 grain rice , and a to die for avocado nori jam!  For those who are after the usual favourites, rest assured- home-made muesli, toasties, and other beloved options are available. The eggs benedict is worth visiting for- topped with an Italian twist- Mortadella. Truly memorable!

Cornerstone_120839Coffee is smoothly extracted on a custom powder coat white La Marzocco Linea, and sourced from Melbourne’s award winning boutique roaster- The Maling Room.  Single Origins rotate weekly, and I was spoilt by the Ethiopian Aricha. As an espresso, it was sweet with floral notes, a creamy body, and a candied lemon fragrance.  Tea is sourced from Larsen and Thompson, and Mork chocolate is also available for those with a yearning to indulge in specialty hot chocolate.

Cornerstone and Co. adds a special touch to Melbourne’s bayside area.

75 Ludstone St

Hampton

Review: Tess Presso

 

 



Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Two Lost Boys

Two Lost Boys interiorI heard several friends speak highly of this café, so I felt 6 weeks after it opened its doors I should pay Justin and Mickey a visit, and see what all the fuss was about.

A modern fit out, with reclaimed timber tables and a striking counter made from recycled doors. Support beams from an old factory that had burnt down was put to good use, and converted into tables for diners to devour their morning breakfast and caffeine hit.  Atop the counter was a Synesso machine pumping out Monk Bodhi Dharma beans, along with those from a guest roaster from Perth.

Co-owner, Mickey, tells me they will be introducing a brew bar with filter coffee options within the next few weeks. The kitchen has an open servery, which opens up a world of impressive culinary delight. Breakfast options vary from delicious fritters to favourites such as baked and poached egg dishes, while the lunch menu continues with the Mediterranean feel, offering options that include duck, salmon, and chorizo. I cannot forget to mention the amazingly mouth-watering desserts, such as the sweet cheesy pastry-knafeh. Takeaway pastries are also available for those on the run, that don’t want to miss out on the nourishments.

My espresso was a Single Origin Ethiopian, which one can only describe as a burst of fruity colours in my mouth. Rich, syrupy, and full of flavour – just as an espresso should be.

Staff members are friendly, and without the arrogance that tends to permeate this area.  I spoke to Mickey about the setup of the café, which was converted from a bar into the fresh and lively café it is today. I was pleased to hear that they sourced the services of start-up businesses to create each component of this café; from the logo design, to the construction of the tables.  A wonderful “give everyone a go” attitude, to help kick start up and coming young business owners.

Two Lost Boys, WindsorTwo Lost Boys offers Windsor a gastronomic haven for those who enjoy the finer things in life, without the pompous ceremony; it certainly lived up to my expectations.


Two Lost Boys
2 Maddock St,
Windsor VIC 3181



[Review by Tess Presso @TessPresso]



Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Cafe Cities of the World – Vancouver


Nestled in the lee of the majestic snow-capped Coast mountain ranges, Vancouver is a stunning city.  it’s situated on a scenic harbour, protected from the harsh elements of the Pacific ocean by Vancouver Island, just offshore. Its location ensures a relatively temperate climate (although it will rain anytime of the year and frequently does) and one which Vancouverites enjoy in their myriad year-round outdoor activities; cycling, skiing, boating and hiking, just to name a few.

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Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Best Cafes of Melbourne 2011

Proud Mary_Cup_webWhen we started up, and we’re just about to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we floated the [then slightly sacrilegious] notion that Melbourne might not, after all, be Australia’s coffee capital – in fact the things that were happening in the Sydney coffee scene were rather leaving Melbourne in the shade. Since then, however, coffee in Australia has taken many leaps forward and we’ve enjoyed riding the wave as coffee in Melbourne, in particular, has surged forward.

We have recently concluded a coffee-hopping trip [including the erstwhile capital of modern world espresso - Seattle] and we now firmly believe that Melbourne takes its place – not just as Australia’s but pretty much the world’s, coffee capital – and as you’ve probably guessed, we don’t make that sort of statement lightly!

However, coffee has got to such a stage in Melbourne, that there may not be much further you can go with espresso. The ‘third wave’ in coffee has seen more emphasis on brewing with different methods – syphon, pour-over, chemex, french press and clover – to the extent that some roasts are optimised for these brewing methods & may actually not be quite so good for espresso… a quandary that probably no other city in Australia may be experiencing.

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Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

DeClieu

DeClieu_webOn the corner of George and Gertrude streets (part of the Gertrude Street boutique/shopping strip) is a smallish café which is part of the Seven Seeds stable [run by Melbourne coffee don Mark Dundon] curiously named De Clieu. Not so curious perhaps when you look into the taxonomy of Mark’s other café names [Seven Seeds, Brother Baba Budan] and see that they derive from the colourful history of coffee and its discovery.

The original De Clieu was a french naval officer who is celebrated for his claim to have introduced coffee to the French colonies of the Western Hemisphere in the 1720s. According to l’Année littéraire of 1774, he arranged to transport a coffee plant (or perhaps several) from the greenhouses of the Jardin Royal des Plantes [which had originally been given to the French King from Holland] to Martinique in 1720.

The story goes that water was rationed on the voyage and De Clieu was so dedicated to his mission that he shared his ration with the seedlings. The story may be apocryphal, but most sources do in fact credit De Clieu with the introduction of coffee to Martinique & thence the Caribbean.

But enough of history – De Clieu is a funky spot where everyone seems to hang out in black jeans [& black jackets, shoes or whatever] but this belies its class – it’s trendy, but it also serves good coffee and very good food.

The menu reveals an elegant simplicity as would be expected from the kitchen of Steven Carr (previously of the Healesville Hotel) and offers a slightly exotic take on otherwise prosaic items – our Pork Neck Roti [sweet roasted pork neck on a spring onion roti, with a fried egg and hoisin-flavoured BBQ sauce] was exquisite.

And the coffee – we had one shot which was excellent and one which was [only] good, which given the general state of espresso coffee, is still very good overall! Definitely recommended.

De Clieu
187 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
(03) 9416 4661



Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Cafe Cities of the World – Wellington

Havana_CoffeeWidely regarded as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital, Wellington or ‘the windy city’ as it is colloquially known, has a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and festivals. There is an innate confidence here, be it borne from the fact that this is New Zealand’s capital city, or perhaps from its role as a cultural and artistic epicentre.

Although a city with a population of little more than 300,000 Wellington has the cosmopolitan vibrancy of a much larger city. This is, in the main, due to the fact that the CBD of Wellington is principally structured to be accessible by foot and, with a civic policy of discouraging generic malls and outlying shopping precincts, it draws a communal breath into its restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, giving a pulse to its streets and a beat to its heart. Venture out on a Friday or Saturday night and you will be greeted by the buzz of the city’s populace in its myriad of  forms, all congregated around the restaurant and bar precincts of Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. (more…)



Friday, April 15th, 2011

Brisbane’s Best Cafes 2011

Cup Specialty_Brisbane_webLike any large Australian city, Brisbane has a wide range of cafes from the simple ‘mom & pop’ café to those where the focus is on excellent business lunches and great food. However, Brisbane has a large coffee purist element that is bubbling underground and is beginning to show itself to those who are seriously interested.

And the good news is this: from an espresso coffee point-of-view, the Brisbane espresso ‘scene’ rocks, supported by many enthusiastic young professionals eager to share their coffee knowledge and passion. One quick note: it’s not in necessarily in the CBD itself, but in the inner suburbs that you find the best coffee… suburbs like West End, New Farm, Spring Hill and even the formerly seedy Fortitude Valley! (more…)



Friday, March 25th, 2011

Room 10

Room10_webWith the increasing tendency of hip new cafes to use ‘boutique’ coffee brands to make their coffee, it’s probably no surprise that Room 10 uses Mecca [see Sydney’s Best Cafes 2011]. It’s a compact space with no separate kitchen – the kitchen is actually a dedicated area of bench space on the right [as you walk in]of the café. The space is dominated by two things – one a bicycle curiously mounted on the wall at the rear and secondly a shiny La Marzocco espresso machine at the front. It’s not always guaranteed, but it’s usually a sign that they’re serious about their coffee and in this case, the coffee didn’t disappoint, although there was some variability, depending on who was behind the machine. They offer a limited food menu and in spite of the size of the kitchen [or lack of it!] the food was actually pretty good, and if you can get a seat [especially in Summer] the little outdoor tables are a nice option. Room 10 brings a new dimension to otherwise ‘good-coffee-denuded’ Kings Cross.

10 Llankelly Place
Potts Point NSW 2011



Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Best Cafes of Sydney 2011

WorkshopRGB_webMake no mistake, Australia is at the peak of espresso coffee on the world stage with a number of barista champions, past and present hailing from our shores and many of our top cafes cresting the ‘third’ and even ‘fourth’ waves in world espresso.

Sydney is no exception to this and boasts a number of truly world-class cafes. Many of our reviewers have travelled, or even lived in Europe and their reviews attest to the increasing dominance of antipodean coffee on the world scene; let no-one doubt – these cafes are at the peak of their game and are of a world class standard.

So it is with pleasure that we bring you Crema Magazine’s Best Cafes of Sydney for 2011…

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