Category Archives: Organic

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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the pantry on egmont – Hawthorn, SA

2 Egmont Terrace, Hawthorn, SA, 5062

The Pantry On Egmont confirms what many of us coffee addicts have long suspected – that Adelaide has finally arrived on not just the national, but on the international coffee stage – because there are Baristas out there who are not just interested in their or their employers bottom line – but are passionate about the coffee they make, and want – above all else – for the coffee to be a joyful experience for the consumer – and Stef – from the Pantry is one of those guys!  (see also Daniel at Coffee By The Beans, The Coffee Barun and so I am lead to believe but have not yet tried – Espresso Royale @ Magill, and Taylor’s Blend @ Stonyfell)

Nestled comfortably between upper class old suburbia and the Belair railway line in the ever so leafy and green Hawthorn – the Pantry On Egmont – is a place that in truth, I really do not want to  review  – because it may mean that the secret becomes too common knowledge and it ruins my future experiences.  I just loved the place!  Comfortable – like sitting in your Nanna’s kitchen – complete with the old school kitchen tables and mis-matched chairs – The Pantry pulls off, what the Tango Turtle over reaches – trendy – arty – yet comfortable, welcoming and with top notch customer service.  Their food is also excellent – during my brief stay, I enjoyed (on the house) a biscuit made by the mother of one of the owners, the just prepared filling of the Rabbit Pot Pie which was the Chef’s special for Lunch with some hot turkish bread – which was do delicious, that I couldn’t help having the actual pie for Lunch (which I paid for – along with my three lattes and a ristretto) – ahh the joys of Ministry, peer to peer mentoring and student preacher mentoring at BCSA!!  Now to the review:

Latte Quality – Lattastic!! – I know I said I would never make this declaration without a few visits – but just as I mentioned in my review of Coffee By The Beans [click above] and in fairness to me (a) this is my blog, so it is my opinion we are going with; (b) I live in Goolwa, they are in Hawthorn – how often am I going to get the chance; (c) I did have a Ristretto and three lattes and (d) again, this is my blog.  Today we were drinking a Single Origin Honduras – which as a ristretto was super sweet with hints of melon and cinnamon, and as a latte was just gorgeous!! Read the rest of this entry

Appleseed Café – Strathalbyn, SA

30 High Street, Strathalbyn, SA, 5255

Strathalbyn is one of those idyllic little Adelaide Hills/Fleurieu Peninsula towns that residents of the flats (aka Adelaide) flock to on weekends, and eastern state tourists come to visit to see what air looks like when it does not contain so much smog.  Or at least, they come to the High Street of Strathalbyn, because that is where the antique shops and the quaint cafés are located – you head too far east and you get to the zinc mine.

Located on the Adelaide side of the High Street is the Appleseed Café – which I discovered was even there, after my first subscription edition of Beanhunter magazine arrived yesterday and it said this place was a place who stocked the magazine (after five newsagents looking at me dumbfounded when I asked about it – “what scene Magazine?”) – looks more like it should be in Hyde Park or North Adelaide then in Strath.  Looking classy, yet comfortable both inside and out, the Appleseed Café is known locally for its concern for those who have food issues – allergies, intolerances and other conditions which are more frequent that other cafes realise – and so has a dedicated and supportive clientele, as indicated on their facebook page.

Latte Quality – Good – as with many take away coffees the barista over compensated with the temperature, which (a) made the cup difficult to hold in one hand, with my toddler holding my other hand, and (b) even after allowing driving time to the playground, it still burnt my tongue. And I ordered a large, but rather than keeping pour to milk ratio equal, this was just a very milky latte.

Cost – $5.20 for a large take away which is expensive.

Coffee SupplierVeneziano Caffe

Fair Trade – Probably not – at least there was no mention in store, but Veneziano do do a “Pure™ ‘Fairtrade Organic”

Customer Service –  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;

Special Notes – Plenty of food options for those needing gluten free, vegan, organic etc.  Kid friendly with a children’s menu.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – Absolutely – I was there at around 1pm and while there were customers in the various rooms, it was by no means packed. There was also some outside seating available.  There is also a beautiful Uniting Church only a short stroll away should you need some spiritual guidance.

the green room on high street – Willunga, SA

2 High Street, Willunga, SA, 5172

In my part of the world, Willunga is the place to go for good quality locally produced organic food, live music and quality coffee – so it should not come as a surprise to anyone to find such a positive review for another of Willunga’s top notch cafés. ‘the green room on high street [lower case by their design] eco-emporium & tea-fé’ is, as you would expect situated near the start of High Street, Willunga – or from my end “at the bottom of the hill.” It seems, from the outside, to be an eclectic mix of  café come studio come haberdashery come interesting nic-nac come alternative hang out come, come, come….it is hard to put in one box.  We ventured in after another successful outing to the Willunga Farmer’s Market and based on coffee alone – it was well worth the effort.  You can also get light lunches, snacks, sweets and all sorts – and on another visit, I will take one for the team and sample their food – but now to the all important coffee and locale review….

Latte Quality – Excellent – aroma, flavour, colour – brilliant!  It would have gone in straight as a ‘Lattastic’ but with my change in policy, it will need a follow-up to confirm such a high rating.

Cost – $3.50 – for a cup which is around the mark.

Coffee SupplierThe Coffee Works – Black Mountain

Fair Trade –  The store itself is very Pro-Fairtrade, however the coffee itself – being organic Australian grown and roasted is not Fairtrade (it does not need to be)

Venue Suitable for:

  • Meeting – Quiet Chat – Study and Reflection – As I ventured in on a Farmer’s Market day – you could barely move, let alone think and reflect – however there are plenty of tables both inside and out and I am sure it would be a great place for such pastoral activities during the week.  I hope to return there in the near future.

Lars – Hyde Park, SA **Update**

116a King William Road, Hyde Park SA 5061

This was one of the very first reviews I conducted way back in May 2009, and after making a return visit this morning, I decided that it needed an update – because things have changed. The food (breakfast – as this is all I have tried there), coffee and service are all still excellent – but the thing I noticed before I had even walking inside was that this little logo was plastered all over the place. You see, four months ago Lars went Fairtrade – and not just providing a Fairtrade option, but serving nothing but Fairtrade Organic Coffee – and proudly displaying the logo and pretty much ever flat coffee related surface.

Latte Quality – Excellent – after yesterday, this coffee was a Godsend.

Cost – $3 for a regular sized coffee

Coffee Supplier – Diamond Coffee

Fair Trade – Yes, and proud of it!

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – Yes – the tables are small, and there is enough ambient noise to allow for privacy.
  • Deep and Meaningful – A possibility – depends on your ability to maintain attention and focus.  There are flat screen TVs inside, music in the background and the traffic of King William Road can all be distracting.  A great place for a breakfast meeting with colleagues.
  • Study and Reflection – Not really that sort of venue.  Is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but not really the place to spread out your books, laptop and do some serious study.

The Organic Market and Café – Stirling, SA

5 Druids Avenue, Stirling, SA, 5251

A very comfortable, very trendy little Cafe – attached to an Organic Market (hence the name) nestled in a side street, off the main tree lined street of the picturesque Stirling.  Parking is a problem, but that is typical of Stirling at all times of the year. A good thing to do is park up near the steam engine playground, and enjoy the short walk to the Café.

Latte Quality – Excellent – only a thin foam but with a 25 second descent rate. Really nice flavour.

Cost – High – at least to begin with – $4.00 – but when the cup (read – bucket) comes to your table, the four bucks seems to be a bargain.

Coffee Supplier – According to the small label on the Coffee machine, the beans used were Vittoria.

Fair Trade – No – however, RIO Fair Trade Beans (and other brands of Fair Trade Tea and Coffee) can be purchased in the Market area.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – No – a very busy place, with people coming and going regularly.
  • Deep and Meaningful – probably a good place for it – enough background noise to allow for safety in conversation topic, but quiet enough so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself.
  • Study and Reflection – being a really busy place, and with there sometimes being a wait on tables – it is probably not the best place for that.
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