Posts Tagged ‘coffee’
It’s a funny place, Melbourne. We say we are open-minded and progressive, yet we are creatures of habit, refusing to leave our suburbs for anything but the most special occasions, drinking at the same coffee shop day-in-day-out and being bemused when someone sits in our seat at the local. In saying that, there’s nothing better than having a reason to leave – to make the trip, not only across the river, but across the Westgate.
And what a reason there is. In an effort to not mince my words, Duchess of Spotswood is off the charts. It’s armed with a combination of amazing food; great coffee; a comforting space; the friendliest staff; and something only it’s “remote” location can explain, a lack of crowds. It’s so good, I saw a house for lease across the road and for more than a fleeting moment considered calling the agent.
Putting your finger on what makes a place tick can is tricky. Though the mere fact that nothing in particular is outstanding is a sure sign of quality. While there is no clear intention, everything works well to provide the illusion of a olden English home. The quiet location, the white-washed walls and the airy and bright space complements perfectly the concept of the menu. The staff are friendly and familiar and take the time to remember you were here last week, even so far as remembering your order.
Of all the highlights though, the food that Chef Andrew Gale is dishing up is the crowning achievement. He has taken a mix of seasonal ingredients (white asparagus), complex flavours (black pudding, and smoked eggs) and some instant crowd pleasers (house special bacon and pork belly) and rolled them into a menu that works for everyone from the everyman to the most conceited food nazi. Add to this a couple of specials and leaving unimpressed simply isn’t an option.
The food is in the style du jour – english. There’s the Duchess of Pork – crispy pork belly with a fried egg and truffle sauce; the lancashire hash – black pudding wrapped in a potato hash, served on a bed of beans with crispy pork neck; field mushrooms and white asparagus toppped with a smoked egg and crispy pork neck; a ploughmans lunch, pickles and cheese. None of this is to mention the specials, like a school prawn salad with toasted quinoa, walnuts and blood orange segments which take seasonal to another level.You should follow me on Twitter.
Campos Coffee, one of Sydney’s brightest coffee stars is opening a cafe and roastery in Carlton. Opening on the 20th of November, the address is 144 Elgin St. As you would expect, the bar will be decked out with all the usual suspects – a slayer, pour over and syphon.
As a company they appear to be very active at origin, and have been pretty active in the recent Cup of Excellence auctions. The Sydney store has just opened a purpose built cupping room, and there’s certainly a focus there on consumer education. They’ve got an interesting blog that’s well worth a read.
For mine, it will be fascinating to see how a Sydney cafe fares here in Melbourne. My guess is that, our appetite for high quality coffee can certainly accommodate another good coffee shop. It hasn’t been a problem for the 12+ recent openings and I doubt another one will be a problem.You should follow me on Twitter.
There are 2 things that can cure a brain-debilitating hangover and a man with a moustache – coffee and breakfast. So over the West Gate bridge to the amazing Duchess of Spotswood with a chance meeting with the lovely Claire and Em; Discussions of the size of forks and the merits of carrying rum (and moustache wax) in your pocket at all times. I won’t call our side of the meeting scintillating, but it was conversation.
Not to mention the food.
A prawn and quinoa salad; which wasn’t really what I needed – but ordered all the same. Elegant. Balanced. Fresh.
For the moustache – the duchess of pork. Toast. Pork Belly. Egg.
And did I mention coffee and the fitout. Both fantastic.
A quick drive to Collingwood and a rare seat at a quiet Proud Mary. A short Kenyan Chewle by the hand of the enigmatic Kris. In a different style to the vast majority of espresso I have drunk lately. Less acidic, with a lighter mouth-feel. An elegant coffee, which could be enjoyed short by most.
Rosemary sausages. Potato hash, poached egg and bagna cauda. Again – not quite what the doctor wanted, yet highly recommended.
By this stage the staff had realised we were not authorised to be speaking, let alone making decisions and we were handled with care.
A pork belly sandwich with house made relish for the moustache and thankfully he shared. A mouthful of pork and an iced clover set righted the wrongs of the ordering process.
All of this mooching got us thinking about an opium den style coffee shop complete with hammocks, day beds, cushions and sheesha pipes. With French acid jazz on the stereo and ample caffeine.
By this stage the level of caffeine was at an all time high, yet the 3 o’clock St Ali ritual hadn’t been fulfilled. A short Nicaragua La Benedicion and a Bloody Mary.
A quick break on the couch and a flight of wine tasting at Richardson St Cellar and a the purchase of a box of German beer.
All in all a very productive and fruitful day. 28 coffees, a lot of shit flowing from mouths and some amazing food. Don’t worry Duchess of Spotswood. I’ll be back with a better idea of how to be human.You should follow me on Twitter.
It’s a great name, and perfectly in the theme of the other Seeds venues – a testament to the origins of coffee. Gabriel de Clieu took coffee seeds from the French botanical garden and introduced them to the French colonies – most of which are the primary producers of Arabica today. In many ways the opening of a new venue in Fitzroy is much the same – taking the Seven Seeds brand of coffee away from the mother ship to a suburb almost completely devoid of quality caffeine.
And a brand it is. The execution across the 3 cafes is almost identical and amazingly consistent. Every coffee produced is impeccable in balance, flavour and presentation. De Clieu, on opening day is no exception and with the sharing of staff it is no surprise. There’s a range of single origin’s on offer and brewed in the usual array of methods.
The coffee isn’t the only consistent element. The cake and pastry counter has been cloned from Brother Baba and the menu is similar to that of 7 Seeds in content and presentation. The menu consists of light breakfast food, grilled sandwiches and pizza. Gourmet seems like a poor descriptor – but it is what it is. Seasonal produce; classics with a twist; and interesting combinations are all featured. There’s great attention to detail in the food, with the little things that make a good sandwich great – a few olives or a pickled gherkin on the side. It’s short, sweet and interesting. There’s no doubt it will change regularly.
The biggest step away from the existing formula is a large area dedicated to retail. Currently the shelves are lightly stocked with a few of the usual suspects – Aeropresses, espresso machine cleaner and a few different beans, but there’s no doubt it will be a great coffee retailer.
It may not sound impressive – a clone of the Carlton cafe with a retail arm. But taking something that works so well in one place and move it to another is no easy feat. For the coffee lover in Fitzroy it’s an absolute gem; on a greater Melbourne scale, it’s not going to be one of my coffee “destinations”.Twitter.
I don’t have much to say other than it’s great to see so many people who are great at what they do to come together for a giant pissing contest. Was a great night and thanks go to Market Lane for hosting such a great event. Here’s a collection of photos that were mainly taken by Tresna.Twitter.
For a place that was featured in The Age on Tuesday, it’s remarkably hard to find the location of the Salford Lad’s Club. There’s no website and a quick Google reveals very little. It’s on the corner of Fennell and Bridge St, Port Melbourne – a little bit of an oddball place between the freeway and Bunnings. That doesn’t stop it being a great little lunch location, and as was mentioned in the Epicure will probably be a popular stop for the weekend bike warrior crowd.
The fitout is great, it pays homage to the fact that the building was (and I suspect still is) a car workshop. On one wall there’s an assortment of bicycle odds and ends, a car hubcap and assorted other mechanical style bits and pieces. On the other, are some skateboard decks and some interesting but slightly out of place artworks. The requisite communal tables are lovely pieces, not over-the-top expensive and big enough that your copy of The Age isn’t in someone else’s dinner.
Apparently the lunch menu changes each day, but today was hearty stews – comfort food. We had a beef, mushroom and wine braise with a smashed potato salad and a tagined lamb stew with cous-cous. They were both $13.50 and perfect sized portions. If I had one complaint, it was that the potatoes weren’t well enough suited to clean the sauce from my bowl.
Finally the coffee – made from Coffee Supreme beans, our milk coffees were strong, very strong (this isn’t a problem, just a preference) and mine had a hint of unwanted bitterness, and a few stray sedimentary coffee grounds. Similarly, my espresso had the same bitterness and grounds. Neither was unpleasant, but there’s some definite room for improvement.
At $33 for a lunch for 2, not too far from home. I’m going to be going back; probably on my bike; I recommend you do too.Twitter.
There is this concept in Japanese cooking that a piece of food on a plain plate is naked – an insult to the food. This is why sushi is always served on beautiful ceramics. It’s an oft forgotten idea – that the plate is as much a part of the meal as the food. We eat with our eyes so why not focus more on the crockery.
Padre Coffee in the South Melbourne Market (and I assume the East Brunswick store) haven’t forgotten. They are serving their coffees on the most beautiful hand-made ceramics. They are made by Karen Ho; a regular at the East Brunswick store; at the Carlton Arts Center. For such a simple thing, they add an amazing warmth to the coffee – something that no machine or bean can reproduce.You should follow me on Twitter.