Posts Tagged ‘cafes australia’

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



Monday, February 15th, 2010

Kokoh

Kokoh_lowresThe selection of cafes on Sydney’s Northern Beaches can be ‘mixed’ at best. However, there’s a little gem in leafy Wahroonga which really hits the spot.

Kokoh is tucked rather unpretentiously in on Redleaf Ave, but it’s proof that you can find good food and coffee on the Northern Beaches, if you look hard enough!

The menu itself seems, at first glance pretty modest, with a selection of teas, coffee [by Morgan's Handcrafted] and gourmet sandwiches.

Breakfast includes regulars such as Muesli, Fruit Toast, and Toast with numerous spreads, and for lunch, sandwiches include Ham [$13.50], Turkey [$13.50], Salmon [$13.50] and Chicken Schnitzel [$14.50]. However it’s the way things are done, with special menu touches and a lot of care taken over preparation, that make an impression. The only downside is the pricing – at $14 for Bacon and Eggs, with extras like a sausage at $5 or salmon $6.50, some would say prices are a little on the high side, although the ingredients are of top quality.

The toast includes four varieties of La Tartine certified organic sourdough: spelt, wholemeal, white or sesame, and is accompanied by Hank’s strawberry  or triple berry jam, four fruits marmalade, or honey and ricotta… not a huge selection, but beautifully done.  And for lunch, the sandwiches [on the same four La Tartine breads] are simple but beautifully made.

Indeed Kokoh is a lovely little haven situated as it is, just off the busy Pacific Highway; a haven that’s definitely worth searching out!

Kokoh

11 Redleaf Ave
Wahroonga NSW 2076
Tel: (02) 9489 1470



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



Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Bunker

Bunker_darlinghurst2It’s not easy to make an impression on Darlinghurst’s ‘cafe’d-out’ Victoria Avenue. True, Bunker’s actually not quite on Victoria Ave, squeezed in as it is by the hairdresser around the corner on Liverpool Street. It’s easy to see how it got it’s name; as you round the corner it’s easy to miss, but once you’re inside, the sandstone block walls do indeed give the impression of being inside a wartime bunker.

Bunker’s menu suffers from a hint of that slightly pretentious ‘down-home’ bonhommie [Poached chook/steak sanga] that screams ‘I’m so inner-city Sydney’. On the other hand, given that it was a friend in the media who informed me I absolutely had to check this place out, I guess I can’t complain. And in fact, the food range is interesting and eclectic; typical items include Omelette of the Day served on Sonoma sourdough [$13], Scrambled or Poached eggs on sourdough [$8.50] with a range of extras: bacon, field mushrooms ['mushies'], chorizo, smoked salmon and homemade baked beans, and a range of ‘Sangas’ including the aforementioned Poached chook, coriander & fetta on sourdough [$9.00] and the Kurobuta ham with cheddar & dijon on wholewheat miche roll [$8.50], which was excellent.

They do it well, with just the right mix of friendliness and panache, and even the coffee is pretty good. In fact, we’ve heard people say it’s the best in Darlinghurst [although given the quality of the competition, that wouldn't be so hard].

Bunker_darlinghurst1So all in all, we’d have to give Bunker a big tick. The only other thing is, so have a lot of others in the know and it’s a pretty small space, so if you’re going to visit, make sure you don’t come at weekend peak times, or you’ll be in for a wait!

399 Liverpool Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Phone (0404) 407 349



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



Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Deus ex Machina

DeusI (15)_tiny

Some people might consider Deus ex Machina – or ‘god from a machine’ [Latin deus, god + Latin ex, from + Latin māchinā] an enigma – a motorbike shop turned cafe. If you’ve got a bit of extra space [a lot, actually] why not put up some funky posters [big, striking artwork, actually] add some communal tables, a kitchen and an espresso machine, leave a racing motorbike in the middle, and call it a cafe? Which is precisely what the owners of Deus did and somehow it works!

Although right on the abominable Parramatta Road at the corner of Missenden Rd, they have managed to completely blanket out the sound of the road and replace it with the busy bustle of barista, waiters and expectant diners.

The menu is eclectic, adventurous and varied. Two items stood out for me – the Smoked trout and kipfler potato salad, with a poached egg and hollandaise [$15], and the Canellini and french beans, tuna, olive, fennel, tomato and caper salad [$15], and I tried them both [on consecutive days].

The bean salad was a trifle disappointing – perhaps perfect for a health food fanatic – ie it tasted pretty much like beans and not much else. The Smoked trout on the other hand, was delicious – the trout delicately smoked, fresh and moist perfectly balanced by the accompanying egg and salad.  To top it off, the chips [ordered separately] were delicious – perfectly fried in fresh oil. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of their chips [which are so easy to get wrong] and judging by this simple criteria, Deus beats many restaurants serving meals at twice the price!

Coffee [by di Lorenzo] was good – well-rounded and smooth, although talking of price, I can’t say it was deserving of the $3.50 price tag. However, as a complete cafe experience in an iconic location, Deus is one not to be missed!  AF [Sept 09].

DeusI (20)_tiny
98-104 Parramatta Road
Camperdown
NSW 2050

tel: 02 8594 2800



Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Dov at Delectica

DOV (6)_tinyIn the slightly seedy area of backpackers’ hostels and cafes mixed with comfortable terraces, is one cafe that has a particularly interesting heritage. Dov at Delectica has a strange name  and a slightly unusual history to boot. Originally on the premises of what is now Darlinghurst’s Forbes & Burton, opposite the National Art School, DOV was a Sydney inner-city institution. The glitterati used to mix with artists and A-listers, residents and druggies in a gloriously eclectic mix. However [as the story goes] the owner of Forbes & Burton wanted the premises for himself and didn’t renew the lease, causing the DOV owners to look for new premises. Instead of a ‘heritage’ style artistic haven, they settled on the slightly seedy premises of an existing cafe called Delectica.

Dov at Delectica serves a range of hearty meals, such as Penne with ham, baby spinach, pine nuts, garlic and white wine [$15.50] and Open steak sandwich, cos lettuce, avocado, tomato, onion, aloili and fries [$16.00] and, perhaps given their backpacker clientele, a $10 Special of Soup and cheese sandwich [Monday to Friday]. They also serve a small range of desserts [baked on the premises] – I had the Pear and almond frangipane tart and it was delicious. Coffee was well-made –  full-bodied but smooth.

With its wide-open windows, it’s a pleasant place to hang out, especially in summer. However, while its clientele may still be eclectic, it was nothing on the mix of people that used to gravitate to the old DOV!

2/130 Victoria St
Potts Point
NSW 2000



Friday, September 18th, 2009

Collective Espresso

DSC01438I can’t help but think that the Camberwell establishment are being shaken to their core by the Collective consciousness of ‘third wave’ barista values in what is perhaps best described as a ‘second wave’ coffee heartland. Turning traditional notions of what constitutes good coffee on their head, the Collective applies industry best standards to produce the kind of coffee that is worth crossing town for.

The store has only been open for six weeks but you wouldn’t know it based on the relaxed, friendly and professional service that’s on offer here. In fact, the service here is ‘restaurant quality’ in a cafe environment, which is remarkable really considering that at present there is only a limited menu of savoury items – such as panini – on offer.

The guys from Collective tell me that they are in the process of putting a kitchen in and bringing in a chef to spruce up what they have on offer, which is probably a good thing as on the day I visited the pastries in the ambient display cabinet looked and tasted a little on the dry side; but then again who could’ve predicted a 27C day at the tail end of winter?

More importantly, the coffee at Collective Espresso is excellent. They use a blend of Five Senses coffee for milk-based drinks and a changing selection of Single Origin coffees for espressos. When you combine this with the proven power of the famed Synesso coffee machine/Robur grinder line-up – then what you are in for is some very fine coffee indeed.

Collective Espresso’s location is a little tucked away [in a side street] but it’s close to public transport and just down the road from a park and playground, which is just the thing for the kids to run off their excess energy after an almond croissant!

I for one know where I will be heading the next time I go to Camberwell market! [PS]

Shop 1, 3 Cookson St
Camberwell VIC 3124
(03) 9882 8995



Monday, September 14th, 2009

Cafe E61

E61_low

Another, slightly lower-profile option in Crows Nest, is Cafe E61, up Willoughby Road and just around the corner from Wrapido.

The Faema E61 was the name of a famous and ground-breaking commercial espresso machine, launched [not co-incidentally] in 1961. Therefore, we would expect a large part of its focus to be its coffee and using Toby’s Estate, on the coffee front,  Cafe E61 did not disappoint.

However, it’s also an interesting Crows Nest option on the food front. Because it’s small and fairly narrow, it wouldn’t be a suitable option for work lunches or large groups, however although simple, the food was good and extremely good value.

Menu items consisted mainly of sandwiches, such as Panfried pancetta, fetta, tomato and rocket [$7]; Rare roast beef, horseradish, beetroot, tomato, swiss cheese and lettuce [$7.70]; Brown rice & lentil pattie, avocado, plum sauce and lettuce [$6.20], and the Thai tuna pattie, with avocado, sweet chilli, tomato and lettuce [$7.20]. E61 also serves a range of breakfast items – I tried the Pesto Scrambled Eggs, which were delicious. They also have wraps, and a selection of cakes and slices, which were all home-made and were excellent.

A low-key alternative to some of the flashier cafes down Willoughby Road, E61 comes highly recommended, especially for the coffee!

E61
20 Burlington Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: (02) 9966 9906