A Cubicle Vampire’s Guide to Melbourne’s Cafe Scene
BOOM BOOM BOOM! Do you hear that? BOOM BOOM BOOM! Oh, that’s just the sound of my heartbeat from the amount of caffeine I had put my body through the other week. Oh how I love my coffee. Surprisingly though, I very rarely drink coffee during the working week to avoid an inevitable addiction. Some may say I’m a social drinker. I’ll accept that label as I do have the same philosophy about alcohol.
Incidentally, a few of the cafes featured in this post have one thing in common – they pay homage to their previous premises from a Coin Laundry to a Milk Bar. I was blessed with some time off work, which meant..wait for it…wait for it…Breakfast Indigestion time!
Now that it’s winter, I’ve come to the realisation that we’re very much like Vampires. We come to work in the dark and we leave in the dark plus many of us don’t leave our desks during lunchtime for the fear of frostbite! We’re like Cubicle Vampires – those who wander the streets looking for blood breakfast to cure their rat race burn out. Do ya feel me? Hang on, I think that would actually make a good movie or even a television series. What do you think? I’ve never thought of myself being a script writer but I’d better get this idea to Stephanie Meyer of Twilight on the pronto! *screams like a girl*
Gimme gimme, gimme…Coffee at Pint of Milk
So this post is dedicated to all my fellow Cubicle Vampires in hope that you will find your solace in breakfast…
Pint of Milk
Zee Details: 19 North Rd, Newport 3015 Phone: 9391 6641 Map
Over the last few months, we’ve been stalking scoping out the previous site of Newport’s Milk Bar. We had suspicions that it would transform into what looked to be a cafe. The refurbishment had the trimmings of either a vintage type crafts store similar to those found in the nearby Yarraville or potentially, an uber cool corner cafe for us locals. I loved watching the developments take place like I was some sort of cafe-razzi. The pale green tiling on the exterior walls along with the bike racks were a big giveaway though.
To our relief, our premonitions turned into reality when the brother and sister team Amin and Yvonne Elmenawi of the nearby Pickle Barrell Deli, officially launched the aptly named, Pint of Milk.
For you avid cyclists, Pint of Milk is surrounded by fertile parklands and bicycle tracks that connect to the CBD by ferry just before Williamstown Pier. Handily, they also have wall mounted bike racks to secure your ride. The best thing about this place however, is apart from serving up one of my favourite blends- Five Senses coffee – is the warm feel of the space. I love walking in here after shaking the raindrops from the umbrella during a winter’s day. What better way to kick the winter blues to the curb than to hunker down on a hefty breakfast?
In terms of the fit out, there are the usual Melbourne-esque type items that add to the overall character like the exposed milk crates that have been converted into a light feature, the distressed timber panels that front the counter and the central point of the room being a large communal table where we were seated.
I can’t explain what my fixation is with smashed avocado on toast or poached eggs with a side of smoked salmon but I seem to be ordering these items out of habit when dining out at a new beanery. This time though I added a minor twist – Chef Mark Wallen dished out a dosage of poached eggs on sourdough with a side of smoked salmon of course and a potato croquette to boot.
Seeing potato croquette on a breakfast menu just sent me all atwitter: meaning I’m pissing my pants in excitement, so gimme, gimme that now!
The eggs were slightly over easy. I don’t know how you like your poached eggs, but when I prick the center, I actually anticipate seeing the precious yolk ooze out. Although, if you do happen to like yours gooey with a pasty like texture, then ‘come on down!’
No doubt that the highlight of the dish was the potato croquette. I must say, the golden crumbed outer layer was fried to perfection and aided in my quest to mop up the remaining egg yolk.
Next up came a blinged up bagel. So intricately put together and well presented. In terms of trimmings, the bacon was not shy of its fat and cooked to the right crispiness, the forest green spinach was fresh and patted down quite nicely and helped to offset the overall density of the bagel and layers of generous bacon. The B & B’s! On the side was a small bowl of buttery and wonderfully zesty hollandaise.
As I pointed out earlier, Pint of Milk use the Five Senses blend as seen in a few other cafes around Melbourne like at Miss Marmalade which I was happy about. Apart from the milk being a tad bit too hot in the latte (a latte should never be too hot to handle) the cappuccino was superb and the subtle hints of citrus with that irresistible toffee/caramel like aftertaste will keep me coming back for more.
Little details like providing spreadable butter at room temperature, a bottle of water without having to ask for it, prompt and attentive service from the friendly front of house made my unbelievably weary Saturday morning that much better. Despite only being open for a few weeks, already there seems to be a buzz in the neighborhood surrounding Pint of Milk. I’m certainly happy too see a fantastic addition to the Westside – breathing some life into our caffeine free zones.
Zee Details: 61 Armadale Street, Armadale VIC 3143 Phone: 9500 1888 ? Map
Gone are the laundry machines with owners Matt Vero and Steve Rowley replacing it with coffee making machines of steel – Hattori Hanzo Steel. Kidding. Seriously though, the coffee served here is superb and had me begging for seconds. Blend: Allpress. I had the Supremo- a sexy combo of Colombian, Guatemalan and Papua New Guinea beans. Thankfully, the weather that fateful Saturday was sunny-licious as was the food.
Located in amongst a densely populated residential zone across the back entrance from Armadale station, Coin Laundry pops out like a mirage. There were two prominent groups taking up the majority of space: the Gen Y’s living in the multitude of apartment blocks on this side of the train tracks were thirsty for a hangover cure after weeknight binges and the stay at home mum cliques – from what I witnessed- have found a new place to congregate during the weekdays.
An abundance of light fills the room courtesy of the floor to ceiling windows catching a glimpse of the morning sun. On the wall, there are quaint jars hooked up by various ornaments, birdcage encased lighting and keeping in line with the laundry theme, there are wooden pegs of course.
What I most appreciated from Coin Laundry was the personable, on point and efficient service. You won’t find yourself in an irritable state of mind trying to wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care to catch the front of house’ attention. Despite their incredible success in such a short period of time and are no longer the new kid on the block, they haven’t stooped down to the levels of being too complacent with their attitude towards their patrons unlike a few other places that have suffered that fate. Keep it up guys!
All their produce are locally sourced and is made evident in the first plate to arrive at the table. Picture this: a free range poached egg sitting atop glimmering layers of orange tinged cured trout flesh that is almost succulent and wilted baby spinach on a sturdy base of crisp golden encrusted potato rosti.
Visually, I think that the dish has the potential to migrate into an item usually reserved for a dinner menu and absolutely tasted as good as it looked. As the saying goes, you eat with your eyes. On the side were dollops of tangy beetroot relish that cranked up the excitement.
The savoury charms continued to roll on. Let me start with what I ordered on the side being their house sausage and an generous dosage of mushrooms which were nicely sauteed and buttered sitting pretty in a retro throwback bowl. The bruscetta, clad with a smooth ricotta spread, wedges of ripined tomatoes and folded slivers of cured ham that all sat comfortably being held together by the skewer housing the sausage. You could really taste the freshness and the quality of the produce.
The thick Noisette bread was pleasantly chewy in texture, not overly dense and moist. Don’t you love the aroma of fresh sourdough?!
Being that it was the first time I willingly expanded my love handles to the Coin laundry, I left with one regret- that I couldn’t fit more in. I’ll be back soon, perhaps by the time you fine folk will be reading this post.
Axil Coffee Roasters
Zee Details: 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Phone: 9819 0093 Map
Open for just over a month now, I work just down the road from Axil Coffee Roasters. Literally a 10 minute trek up Burwood Road, and I’m in single-origin coffee land. What was most shocking was that the place popped up out out of nowhere- the celebratory balloons are still on display. You’d think that working so close by, my colleagues and I would be able to at least suspect that a brand spanking new cafe was about to open. Nope. The premises was on full lockdown with the windows covered so we just assumed that the pub next door was planning an extension but thanks to Sarah’s post, it was all revealed.
The whole indoor outdoor theme was refreshing to see and is a much needed element considering there are only two main windows to shed any natural light. The open space is further complimented by the nature inspired centrepice being a wall of hanging plants that actually reminds of Greenhouse by Joost.
Owned and penned by Barista Champions Dave Makin and Zoe Delaney, the coffee just made me smile as I sat there in content knowing the fact that I now have a beanery nearby that serves up some on point coffee- no bubbly latte froths found here. This may be a stretch, but I may break my no coffee at work rule. *GASP* I’d describe their current seasonal blend as a cross between St Ali and Market Lane. St Ali for its lingering aftertaste on the palate, seriously bold notes and that addictive velvety output and Market Lane (San Fransisco being my numero uno) for keeping you on your toes with their continually changing seasonal blends.
Onto the menu items. I went out on a limb and ordered their Savoury French Toast. Why? Because I was intrigued by their take on a dish that is traditionally served sweet. Let be start by saying that the plethora of mushrooms were burst in your mouth juicy yet retained their firmness and the spinach added a welcomed freshness. Although, I would’ve preferred if it were placed in a bowl or on the side as it seem to soak the bread.
The Squid Salad fared much better heating up the taste buds from the chili and slices of chorizo plus a visit from North Africa with the addition of harissa. The spiciness wasn’t over the top but relatively mild enough for most people’s palates. The garden peas that dressed the plate like shiny pearls tasted fresh and the squid – buoyant and not too chewy. Don’t you just dig the look of this dish? Everyone say “ah huh!” and snap your finger. In the air. And wave them around like you just…you get the point.
Axil Coffee – a big welcome to the neighbourhood my new found friend.
Best Coffee? Axil Coffee Roasters
I would come back for the… potato croquette at Pint of Milk
You gotta try… The house cured trout and beetroot relish at Coin Laundry
Best Poached egg? Coin Laundry
If you’re after a hefty breakfast, head to… Coin Laundry
A café where you can hangout for hours? Pint of MIlk
Pint of Milk: 19 North Rd, Newport 3015 Phone: 9391 6641 Map
Coin Laundry: 61 Armadale Street, Armadale VIC 3143 Phone: 9500 1888 ? Map
Axil Coffee Roasters: 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Phone: 9819 0093 Map
I’ll make it easy for you, just click on the “Happy Toastie” below and you’ll be taken to all my breakfast adventures. BOOM!
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