Posts Tagged ‘coffee’


Duchess of Spotswood

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.

Campos Coffee to open in Melbourne

Campos CoffeeCampos 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.

An adventure in breakfast and coffee

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.

Prawn and Quinoa Salad

For the moustache – the duchess of pork. Toast. Pork Belly. Egg.

Duchess of Pork

And did I mention coffee and the fitout. Both fantastic.

Light Fitting @ DuchessWater CabinetTrestle Table

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.

Sausages, hash and bagna cauda

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.

Pork Belly Sandwich

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.

Lights at Proud Mary

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.

De Clieu, Gertrude St

De ClieuThere’s been a quiet buzz on Twitter about a new Seven Seeds venue opening in Fitzroy. A photo of a door; a few comments by people and
now a few photos on Flickr and a name – De Clieu.

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”.

IMG_1541.jpg IMG_1523.jpg IMG_1536.jpg IMG_1538.jpg IMG_1539.jpg Latte. De Clieu. IMG_1533.jpg IMG_1531.jpg IMG_1544.jpg

Rosettas for Relief – A Barista Throwdown. Photos.

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.

IMG_1245.jpg IMG_1252.jpg IMG_1253.jpg IMG_1255.jpg Latte Art Competition. Market LAne IMG_1258.jpg IMG_1260.jpg IMG_1262.jpg IMG_1263.jpg IMG_1265.jpg IMG_1266.jpg IMG_1267.jpg IMG_1269.jpg IMG_1270.jpg IMG_1271.jpg IMG_1272.jpg IMG_1273.jpg IMG_1274.jpg IMG_1275.jpg IMG_1277.jpg IMG_1278.jpg IMG_1280.jpg IMG_1283.jpg IMG_1286.jpg IMG_1287.jpg IMG_1290.jpg IMG_1292.jpg IMG_1293.jpg IMG_1294.jpg IMG_1295.jpg IMG_1297.jpg IMG_1298.jpg IMG_1303.jpg IMG_1304.jpg IMG_1305.jpg IMG_1306.jpg IMG_1307.jpg IMG_1308.jpg IMG_1309.jpg IMG_1312.jpg IMG_1313.jpg IMG_1315.jpg IMG_1316.jpg IMG_1317.jpg IMG_1318.jpg IMG_1320.jpg IMG_1321.jpg IMG_1322.jpg IMG_1324.jpg IMG_1326.jpg IMG_1329.jpg IMG_1331.jpg IMG_1333.jpg

Salford Lad’s Club, Port Melbourne

Salford Lad's ClubFor 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.

Salford Lads Club Sign Salford Lads Club Salford Lads Club The Coffee Machine @ Salford LAds Club IMG_1356.jpg Register and Dummy @ Salford Lads Club IMG_1354.jpg Art @ Salford Lads Club Lamb Tagine @ Salford Lads Club Lamb Tagine @ Salford Lads Club Braised Beef @ Salford Lads Club Through to the kitchen @ Salford Lads Club Through to the back room @ Salford LAds Club Back Room @ Salford Lads Club

Ceramics at Padre Coffee

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.Ceramic Coffee CupCeramic Coffee SaucerCeramic Coffee Mug