Freestyle Espresso opening in South Melbourne

Freestyle Espresso, South Melbourne It seems a new cafe, “Freestyle Espresso” is opening on Union St in South Melbourne. It is in the old Peter Watson shop and with a new sign and a few fliers in the window describing “Food, glorious food, coffee… Yeh… Really good coffee, gourmet pastries + delights takeaway deliciousness, sweet things + surrrrrprises to come”

Looks good, I’m excited to see somewhere new opening in what is already a crowded space. It will also be interesting to see who supplies the coffee. Most of the 3rd Wave roasters are represented in a 2 block radius of this place. I’m betting on Coffee Supreme.

Freestyle Espresso Coming Soon

Miss Jackson, St Kilda

Miss JacksonEvery time I’m on my way to Miss Jackson all I can think about is that song, “I’m sorry Miss Jackson, I am for real” it’s really annoying because I should be thinking how Miss Jackson is going to help me from my hangover, you know, for real. After watching the film clip, now I’m going to expect someone to be washing their pimped out car out the front and dogs nodding their heads at me as I walk up Gray St. All of this and no hallucinogens.

Wedged down an alley between halfway houses, backpacker travel agents and a few seedy nightclubs, Miss Jackson is a shining beacon of class in an otherwise classless (apologies to the Melbourne Wine Room, none such to the ever-so-trashy George lane-way bar) area. The café itself is a converted house that reminds me more of a rabbit warren than a café, the smaller nooks don’t quite fit the tables that they contain. It’s nowhere near as cramped as Wall 280 in Balaclava and there it adds “character”. Nonetheless the place has character and the larger communal tables are comfortable and spacious. There’s also an outdoor area, which thankfully parents seem to utilise to entertain their wild children.

TMiss Jackson: Corn Fritters, Bacon and Tomatoshe menu is everything you would expect without being outstanding. Corn fritters, steak sandwiches, and eggs every which way. But what the menu lacks in excitement it makes up with in the execution. While you might cook everything on the menu at home, it simply won’t be as good.

The portions are great, the food looks amazing and best of all it tastes spot on. In fact, of all the cafés around, Miss Jackson is my favourite for a comforting, hangover curing breakfast – morning or afternoon. Perhaps this is cause of a subtle focus on booze. There is beer and wine on the menu and a few bottles of spirits peeking out from behind the bar – important for my personal favourite menu item.

Bloody Mary, Miss JacksonThe “superstar DJ” bloody mary is everything you could want in this breakfast cocktail – good spice and acidity and a healthy sprig of celery. A bloody mary is tricky to get right at the best of times and they come out with amazing consistency.

The guys that run this place (Steve and Matt) are clearly drinkers – it shows – they know what’s good for you.

More photos on Flickr.

A Year of Coffee in Melbourne

Short Black at Padre CoffeeA week is a long time in football, and in a city as fascinated with coffee as it is with football, a year is an eternity in the world of cafes. Today marks the 1st birthday of Seven Seeds, one of the superstars of coffee in Melbourne. Happy Birthday Seven Seeds.

It is amazing to think that since the opening of Seven Seeds there have been so many other great coffee shop openings. So many in fact that Seven Seeds feels as though it is one of the “old boys.” It will be fascinating to see how the “scene” evolves over the next year.

Putting it all into context I’ve constructed something of a timeline of the last years specialty coffee shop openings. The dates aren’t exact (and I would welcome corrections) but they are pretty close.

Cafes opening aren’t the only thing that has happened in the last year either, the blog coverage of cafes in Melbourne has gone through the roof with the usual suspects spending as much time reviewing cafes as restaurants. There is one specialty coffee blog though that has been providing an attempt at objective reviews of the coffee being served across the city. Backseat Baristas is doing a great job and can only get better as they refine the concept.

Like in so many other facets of life Twitter has become the best way to talk to people who are involved in the industry and coffee is no different. I have created a coffee list of the people I follow. It’s a great way to keep an ear to the ground.

In a summary of the year I would be remiss to ignore the fact that the actual coffee has changed quite considerably. Seven Seeds, St Ali, 5 Senses, Market Lane and Small Batch seem to be all be expanding the number of cafes they are supplying with beans and places like Dead Man are making the most out of the variety.

Experiencing these coffees has never been easier either with Seven Seeds and Market Lane (that I know of) doing daily cuppings.

This isn’t to mention alternative brewing methods which seems to have had a massive boom. The syphon has gone from strength to strength with a good number of these cafes using it. Pour over seems to be the flavour of the day though, with it allowing some subtle flavours to really poke through.

The Best Melbourne Lunch Spots

Turns out a lot of people are finding this page, looking for the best lunch spots in Melbourne. Thus I’m creating a list of reviews of the best places I like going. See below for a map of cheap and quick places around the city.

South Melbourne and Bayside




When my friend Bruce isn’t writing about The Black Keys he is usually experimenting with some other piece of crazy social media or pottering around in his garden, beer in hand. But today he has enabled some cool team collaboration. Finding the best lunch spots in Melbourne. It’s a simple thing to do and one which any team could do, create a Google Map, share it with your coworkers, add some guidelines and presto. Better lunch for all.

Check it out, we’d love to hear how you and your coworkers find the best places to eat, drink and recover.

Coffee @ The Cupping Room, Hobart

The Cupping Room, Hobart It’s billed as “a team of coffee pro’s doing what we do because we love it. Here you will find all things coffee done the way we like it. We think you will like it too. :-).” It’s 3rd Wave coffee in Hobart so I had to try, but I left feeling a little bit underwhelmed. The Cupping Room is so close yet so far to being a great ambassador for the specialty coffee movement.

The setup is great. A huge warehouse with room for plenty of beans, roasters, a cupping station and a great open feeling cafe. The fit-out is well done, great furniture, some classy light fittings and some nice street art keeping the atmosphere light. There is a huge blackboard listing around 50 single origins that are stocked with the available beans highlighted. Taking this classy setup down a notch is the gold stencil of “The Slayer” on the back of what is a beautiful looking piece of hardware. Tacky.

The service though is left lacking, the decision not to provide table service confuses me at any cafe. But here, when the product is a new way of experiencing coffee which the public is not familiar with, it is all but criminal.

The Cupping Room, HobartSpecialty Coffee is complicated and confusing but at the same time it is very rewarding for the drinker. The price of a great cup of coffee is downright cheap, but someone new to the experience just needs a little pushing. A specialty coffee menu (like a good wine list) can be intimidating and an uninitiated customer just wants a latte or a flat white. They don’t care about the Tanzanian Peaberry or the Mexican HG Chipas. But with a little staff guidance they could become an easy convert.

The biggest let down though, was the execution of the coffee. To be fair, my double espresso a Tanzanian Peaberry was good. Rich fruit flavours with a hint of bitterness. The 2 lattes on the other hand were a disappointment. The first latte was well presented, but the milk was watery, completely lacking the creamy richness which I expect from a good coffee shop. I suspect some of this is to do with the milk itself, I spotted a bottle of Pura Full Cream on the counter.

The Cupping Room, Hobart

The take-away machine

Finally, I made my way again to the counter for a take-away coffee to make my walk through Hobart bearable. A take-away latte with the Mexican single-origin didn’t seem like too difficult a request but you can imagine my surprise when it was turned down. Apparently they don’t make take-away coffees through the Slayer and the waitress told me perhaps that they would if there weren’t so many coffees up. Apparently people drinking take-away coffee don’t deserve the same choice as dine in.

It didn’t matter, the latte was passable, definitely not good. It had an earthy flavour and the same watery milk. I walked away with sub-par coffee and the opportunity for the Cupping Room’s coffee to redeem itself was wasted.

I’ll be back to give it another go, but there’s other coffee in Hobart I hear is worth trying. So I won’t be rushing.

Thanks go to Nola for pointing me in the direction of the Cupping Room. Her review (with food) is here.

Abbotsford Farmers Market tomorrow

The monthly Abbotsford Farmers Market is on tomorrow at the Abbotsford Convent (and the Collingwood Children’s Farm). I know the produce is great (especially the dude that sells vac packed meat) and I do I find it entertaining watching all the 30 something new parent’s wearing their ultra cool colourful sneakers but it’s a bit far across town to make the trip that early. There are however a few foodie types going pretty early (around 9:30).


I’m not afraid to admit it, I woke up and had a bit of a purge. You know when you’ve forced too much water into yourself combined with an Aching Head and a little bit of nausea and you just can’t or won’t hold it down. Well that was me. Water spew. Thankfully I seemed to have digested all of the amazing food so it was hardly a waste.

I suppose over the coming days there will be an amazing amount of people following up from the talks at the conference and I thought I would perhaps get the ball rolling. Perhaps my favourite panel of the day was the first, “How and why we blog.” Prior to the event I thought that it would be a bit wanky and I wasn’t convinced. But man I like surprises like this.

An event like this doesn’t just happen and special thanks must go to the sponsors The Essential Ingredient, Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Water, St Ali, Der Raum, Prentice Wine, Red Hill Brewery, and SBS Food. Also thanks go to Ed, Mellie, April and Reem. Jess also hung the photo exhibition: much props go to her and whoever created that blogroll sculpture.

It’s a testament to the panelists, Gill, Reem, Zoe and the moderator Tammois that it piqued such conversation in a somewhat unfamiliar group of people. It really set the tone for the day and I kind of wished that we could have had some time to revisit it later.

The question (or title) of the panel “How and why we blog” might seem like an easy thing to answer but the reality is it isn’t. Everyone has their own motivations and desires but they also have their own style and way of going about things. I think it was interesting that Matt’s photography panel addressed his voice and style through his photos which I suppose extended the conversation from earlier.

The term voice was used a lot and it has made me think further about my voice here on My Aching Head and whether or not I’m editing it away and making this blog more impersonal and thus less engaging. This uncertainty isn’t a new idea for me but the conversation has really highlighted it in my mind and I think it is time to address it, or atleast discuss it.

The Melbourne food blogging community that I connect with has a big focus on reviewing restaurants, taking photos and describing the food and the experience. I’ve long thought that the narrative style isn’t my thing and something I’ve worked hard to cut out of my posts. I suppose in doing that I’ve moved my language a little bit away from the 1st person which makes it notably impersonal. It’s a fine line and a work in process but the acknowledgement of it should help force change.

I have also long had the desire to create a bit more of a shorter form of blogging, in part stepping back to the Kottke style of linking and making small and valuable comment. It is something that isn’t really done here in the Australian food blogging community and I think it might be interesting to my readers.

This also gets me thinking that the original purpose of this blog was more about documenting the process of getting and curing hangovers and my posts are often sadly lacking in discussing the drinking aspect of our eating.

I also found Matt’s comments on his photographic style and process really inspirational. It shows that the visual voice is just as important as the textual voice and his shoot from the hip approach seems almost within grasp of reproduction. Though I suppose that’s selling the fact that he’s got a great eye remarkably short. I’ve long been coveting a faster lens to replace my 50mm film lens and this really just rammed it home for me. I got the current lens for next to nothing, but it’s manual focus and the wrong sized sensor (which makes it permanently zoomed in) kind of suck. So as soon as my hip pocket can survive the anguish I think I shall invest.

I would love to hear peoples comments on not only their motivations and voice but also on my style and what they like about it and what they don’t.