Category Archives: Café

Two Brothers – Mitcham, VIC

558 Mitcham Road, Mitcham, VIC, 3132

It has certainly been a long, long, long x 10time since my  last review – and basically, I have no other excuse other than to say that life has been busy. Life is busier in Melbourne, than it ever was in “heaps good SA.” But putting that aside, I had a day off, some reading to do and so I went in search of a good coffee.

As I have lamented to friends around the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I have been missing Adelaide coffee – having been unable to find a good consistent coffee since crossing the border – at least in my neck of the woods.  So when the caffination urge hit me (not to mention the quantity of Masters reading I had to do) – I had to search for a coffee in my area (within 5kms) that came recommended.  I searched Facebook and Beanhunter and came up with the Two Brothers in Mitcham.

Only opening in July this year, the Two Brothers would fit very nicely into the excellent coffee culture of the Adelaide Eastern Suburbs – perhaps even in its South Australian suburban namesake. Decked out in traditional café garb (read: polished concrete floors – polished timber fittings and fixtures – exposed brickwork – a bright expresso machine – in this case a gorgeous blue WEGA – and an opening front window) the Two Brothers also comes equipped with a rear courtyard, a family friendly attitude and a substantial breakfast/lunch menu.  It may also be a mecca for the local Christian community – as the people two tables down from me were having a very vocal evangelical conversation. and were known by one of the two brothers behind the machine.   Read the rest of this entry

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Urban Social Cafe – North Balwyn, VIC

6/321 Balwyn Road, North Balwyn, VIC, 3104

John “Hannibal” Smith was noted as often saying in the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together,” however it is often just as good when the plan goes totally and utterly pear shaped!” as I discovered in relation to Urban Social.  I had attended the Manningham Prayer Breakfast at the Manningham Club in Bulleen and being a complete nube when it comes to Melbourne – when leaving I did the Adelaidean thing and avoided the line up of traffic, that was obviously not going where I wanted to go and went around them, only to discover that they were lining up to get on the Eastern Freeway, which is where I needed to be.  Next thing I knew I was over the Eastern and into a leaving green hilly suburb that was completely unfamiliar. So I turned down the nearest street, grabbed my phone to find my bearings.  Once satisfied that I hadn’t fallen through the looking glass and could quite easily make it back to the office by another route, I grabbed Beanhunter to find the best coffee along my way – and that is how I found Urban Social in the back streets of leafy North Balwyn, but 10 minutes from my desk.

This is a very trendy place to hang out – perhaps skewed toward the upwardly mobile soccer Mums – with good parking and plenty of space between tables for pushers – its comfortable, clean, stylish – and I am sure, a mecca for the two wheeled lycra set on the weekends.  I liked this place!

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Coffee Hit – Doncaster, VIC

G217, Westfield Doncaster, 619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster 3108

As my first review in my new home town, I thought it best to start close to my new ‘patch’ and work outwards as time and opportunity allow. So that then raised the question about where do I go first?  So I did what any reasonable coffee snob would do and consulted the oracle that is “The Beanhunter” and searched for coffee near Doncaster.  After crunching the numbers, twiddling the dials and channelling the algorithms, it told me that Coffee Hit was the best place nearest me (location and highest average score of 7.4 in the area). So, on my first day on-site (two days before I actually started) I arrived an hour early and wandered down (about 2 minutes walk) to Shopping Town to secure a coffee hit.

Coffee Hit is located on the ground floor of the Westfield in a Kiosk type arrangement in the centre of a produce themed area (Fruit, Vegetables, Butcher, Fish Monger etc). When I arrived the place was comfortably busy for early on a Monday morning – with a few ‘coffee’ meetings taking place in the vicinity.  Coffee Hit also roast their own beans, having a ‘little red’ roaster (see left – the red thing) on hand, and sell beans to the public (and online).

So to the all important first coffee review in Melbourne….

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Caffeteca Espresso and Panini Bar – North Adelaide, SA

53 Tynte Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

I am not sure how happy I am with this place.  It has nothing to do with the coffee – which is great (see below) – it has more to do with their timing.  For four years, I worked in an office literally across the street from them – and back then, Caffetecca was a continental deli – if it has been this great little cafe back then – perhaps my coffee addiction would have started years earlier. Situated on the corner of Margaret Street – about half way down Tynte towards the hills – Caffetecca – is quickly building a good reputation for quality coffee and great panini – although I have only had the coffee.  Perched on a high stool, in the window seat I was able to enjoy my latte and ristretto while taking in views of my old red bricked office – and the people who were out and about enjoying the Adelaide Cup day sunshine. Read the rest of this entry

a mother’s milk – Unley, SA

105 Unley Road, Unley, SA, 5061

I have waited so long for this place to open – I even made an aborted attempt a few weeks back only to discover I had chosen the only day in seven that they are closed (Tuesday) – and today, with my friend and colleague David in tow – the threshold of a mother’s milk was crossed.  Now remembering that this place has only been opened now for about a month….The first thing you notice about this most recent addition to the Adelaide speciality coffee scene, is that it is warm and inviting – and that is not just a comment on how it appeared during the cold, wet and wintery final day of summer on which I first entered – because the aesthetic is trendy, yet comfortable – and then there is the customer service. We were greeted like long lost brothers – “Glad you could make it” was the greeting.  Now, while I have met the owner (Stef) on two occasions at his previous place of employ – the chances are that he wouldn’t know me if he tripped over me – but with such a simple, yet sincere greeting (rather than a person behind the counter looking up from their facebooking, inwardly groaning and then plastering on a fake smile) Dave and I were able to relax, shrug of the stresses of the morning and peruse the substantial menu before deciding just on some coffees (assuming that six constitutes ‘some’).  Like all the speciality coffee places across Adelaide, a mother’s milk had a number of coffee types on offer – and this was the first time – ever – I was asked which bean I’d like to try – and you’ll find out which if you read on.  Read the rest of this entry

Blefari Caffe & Cucina – Adelaide, SA

182 Victoria Square, Adelaide CBD, SA 5000

As I walked around the Adelaide CBD last week, it seriously blew me away hour many cafés and speciality coffee places are around the place. If you decided to work your way through the city, starting at one end of North Terrace and systematically working your way down and up every street, and lane – it would seriously take you a year (especially if you wanted to sleep at some stage….perhaps an idea for a future blog??).  I had heard of Blefari, only because I have been hounding the guys at Veneziano about when the ‘First Pour Adelaide’ will be opening on Melbourne Street – and they told me, in the mean time, to check out this place.

Located on the ground floor of the ‘Flinders University’ building – or at least that is what the sign on the roof says; I thought it was one of the Premier’s Department buildings – Bleflari looks like your typical ground floor of an office building café come cafeteria – and I guess, I considering that is what they are – then they hit the mark.  If you can get a table outside, either looking across the road at Pilgrim Uniting, or at the grassy knoll on Victoria Square – then the quality of the ambience increases ten fold.

I ventured in around 1:30pm and the place was busy – all tables but one inside were full – but service was quick and efficient – and I was soon at my outside table, book in hand enjoying the sunshine. The coffees arrived in around 3 minutes – which is super fast, and the guy who delivered them was able to fill me in, in what I was about to drink.

Just in case you were wondering what a ‘Cucina’ is – well according to an Italian to English Translator it is a “noun –  kitchen; cooker, stove; cookery, cuisine” – hopefully that helps.

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Blu C Cafe – Christies Beach, SA

1/13 Beach Road, Christies Beach, SA, 5165

Location, location, location – potential, potential, potenial – I mean check out the view from the café – uninterrupted ocean views of Spencer Gulf, a beautiful park with playground – the inside of the Blu C Cafe was nice – but that is about all the good things I can say.  And I don’t like to be negative – do a search on ‘Bad’ from the TAGS – and see what I mean.

Latte Quality – Bad – it was just…bad. My wife made me throw it away because of how much I complained about it.  For starters – the milk was already in the jug from who knows how long ago – being that I waited f0r 10 minutes and the customers already served had cool drinks…then the frothing wand on the machine was dirty – covered in dry milk from previous use – the milk was frothed then sat aside while the shot was poured – again, coffee was already ground in the hopper.  Check out the bubbles on the latte – photo before first sip.

Cost – $4.00 for regular

Coffee Supplier – Monjava Coffee

Fairtrade – No indication

Customer Service –    – acknowledged my presence and value as a carbon based entity – but not much more;  there was an employee at the counter when I walk in – she looked at me coming and left to go on a break – she came back twice to see if I was still waiting and then returned to her break. The other employee who also saw me enter, but went out the back on the other side of the shop, only came back in after I had rang the bell on the counter, twice.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – As I said – the location and the potential of this place is just awesome – but bring your own coffee – or (dare I say it) go to Jamaica Blue or Gloria Jeans at Colonnades first.
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