Melbourne cafes & restaurants

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]



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.

(more…)



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



Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Seven Seeds

Seven Seeds_CarltonAfter hugely successful achievements in the Melbourne cafe scene [most recently Brother Baba Budan and St Ali] Mark Dundon’s latest effort brings new life to the warehouses of inner Carlton. Behind a slightly unprepossessing exterior lies a stylised and slightly cavernous cafe space, with the roastery visible through viewing windows out the back.

The decor is quite striking, with a bare, almost minimalist effect and metal chairs and military stencilled cutlery boxes giving unique utilitarian undertones. There’s nothing utilitarian about the coffee though, which like the simple but delicious food, is of a high standard.

With a selection of single origin and blends to chose from, the Rwandan Musasa had a juicy fruity acidity, a round, low body with a lovely aftertaste, while the flat white [Seven Seeds blend] enjoyed a velvety mouth feel with a full bodied flavour, hints of chocolate and nuts, a soft finish and a dark crema. Mark’s latest venture doesn’t disappoint!

Seven Seeds
114 Berkeley St
Carlton VIC 3053
Tel: (03) 9347 8664



Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Market Lane Coffee

Market Lane Coffee Prahran

Firmly entrenched as a leader in the third wave, and some would say in the vanguard of the ‘fourth wave’ of coffee evolution [where the method of coffee preparation is considered to be as important as the raw materials themselves], Market Lane is a great addition to the burgeoning Melbourne Cafe Scene.

Head barista and co-owner Jason Scheltus heads up an impressive team that includes co-owner Fleur Studd (Melbourne Coffee Merchants), and recent recruit Toshiyuki Ishiwata (Toshi), arguably one of the country’s finest roasters.

Perched on the ‘edge’ of the Prahran Market precinct, they have a focus on alternative preparation techniques such as ceramic pour-over, and have a keen eye for sourcing and roasting enticing beans. Recent examples on the menu include Carmo Estate from Brazil, with notes of blackcurrant and cocoa and Kenyan Mbee – sweet and complex, with notes of passionfruit, vanilla and rose hip tea. They also do 10.00am cuppings for enthusiasts. Highly recommended

Shop 13 Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road
South Yarra VIC 3141

Tel:  03 9804 7434



Monday, February 15th, 2010

Proud Mary

ProudMary_lowres.It seems that no expense has been spared when creating this elaborate space, from the standout powder blue coloured six group Synesso coffee machine – which is the only six group machine of its kind in Australia – to the quirky hand-crafted coffee handle door handles on the front door. Attention to detail is apparent everywhere and no where more so that in my coffee cup – which is where you would want it to be!

That’s the thought that was on my mind as I ploughed through my piccolo ($3.5) at Proud Mary recently. The barista behind the machine on the day was in fine form as the first coffee, made from the house espresso blend, exhibited notes of caramel and pistachio on a rich and creamy palate. And my second coffee – made from a Single Origin Costa Rican – featured aromas of almond, hot buttered popcorn and coconut cream, on a savoury palate with traces of tobacco and spice predominating.

Interesting menu touches such as a Seared tuna with grilled asparagus on a warm potato salad with a caper dressing ($17.5) make for appealing luncheon items, whilst items such as Crushed avocado on toast, served with a roast tomato salsa, rocket and lemon ($12.50) – available on the breakfast menu – also offer excellent value!

The space itself is wide and spacious, and filled with natural light due to its corner location, , and a swag of Mazzers on the counter, combined with the seemingly obligatory Clover and Syphon, Proud Mary’s coffee credentials are firmly stamped on the Melbourne scene. Was there ever any doubt?

Proud Mary

172 Oxford St

Collingwood VIC 3066

Tel: (03) 9417 5930



Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Cafe 120

Cafe_120_smallYou could be forgiven for not immediately noticing Café 120 on your trek to coffee nirvana [or someplace else] as it’s tucked away in a remote and somewhat obscure location – located as it is at the end of the 96 tram line, just around the corner from Ceres eco-village.

But to bypass the place altogether would be to do so at your peril, as the food good and the coffee is too.  Serving Coffee Supreme, I enjoyed a well-made half latte, which was smooth, creamy delicately textured, with caramel and roast almond aromas, which followed through on a butterscotch-infused palate!

The space itself is small and compact but well-built with high ceilings, distressed blonde timber flooring, and whitewashed walls featuring eclectic artwork, such as a vintage collection of skateboards and related paraphernalia dating back, I would guess, to at least the 1950’s.

There’s also a good selection of panini with fillings such as smoked chicken with rocket, shaved parmesan, and Japanese mayo, along with plenty of vegetarian options from $8.00.

It’s all pretty stripped back at 120 with an unfussy menu and friendly service – which puts the emphasis back on the coffee – but with prices starting from $3 for a cup of Joe, this café is well positioned to meet the needs of those who have come to the end of the line. [PS]

Café 120
120 Nicholson St
Brunswick East, 3057
(03) 9387 0010



Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Foxy Brown

FoxyBrown-smallFoxy Brown is one of those rarest of things: a cosy corner cafe in a former house that actually still feels like someone’s living room. Original 70′s furniture pieces provide a cosy backdrop in this long and narrow space, as does mood lighting and front and rear courtyards – which are just the thing for the kids to muck around in!

In fact the space itself has a long history servicing the local community, dating back at least until the 1920′s when it traded as a general store and in its most recent successful incarnation, as an eclectic community-based cafe run by a brilliant if somewhat flawed musician, prior to being taken over by Patrick Sloane, aka Askthecoffeeguy, of the Crema Forum.

Patrick spent six months fine tuning the coffee blend with master roaster Joshua Bailey, who, interestingly flies somewhat beneath the radar in Melbourne – roasting as he does from his lounge room on Errol Street in North Melbourne – and the blend is a combination of high altitude shade grown ingredients which are also available individually as ‘Foxy Bean of the Day’ components. Patrick pulled over 2000 coffees through his coffee machine prior to be opening, to be certain that it was working properly and to thoroughly assess the coffee that he is using – such are his coffee credentials.

In fact one of the first things that you notice about the place is the massive coffee blackboard which dwarfs the kitchen’s daily specials board – which says something about the emphasis on coffee here, as does the two page coffee menu which sits on top of the all day breakfast menu.

Foxy prides itself on being mostly organic and FairTrade wherever possible and uses a unique DEMTER certified biodynamic un-homoginised milk – which is in such short supply that Patrick had to go on a two month waiting list and was interviewed vigorously for several hours before passing muster, and the cafe is still one of only a select few able to stock this product.  The milk itself is not cheap but is an integral part of the coffee equation and the coffee itself needs to be experienced to do it justice!

Foxy Brown Espresso Bar & Cafe
31 South Crescent
Northcote VIC 3070