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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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UR Caffe’ – North Adelaide, SA

119 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

UR Caffe’ is not just another ‘brick in the wall’ of the burgeoning speciality coffee strip that is Melbourne Street.  Bobby over at Adelaide Coffee said that the barista in residence here knew their place “and that’s behind a coffee machine” – which is high praise.  Located just two doors down from First Pour, and next door to 9Bar – this UR Caffe’ is a must stop on any coffee crawl.

Sporting a very funky, unique – yet comfortable interior – including some nice abstract art on the exposed brick walls – Ur Caffe’ is a nice place, on a nice street to stop and watch the world go by.

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First Pour – North Adelaide, SA

111 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

This is another one of those reviews that comes at the end of a long period of anticipation.  Having been a subscriber to BeanScene Magazine for a while now, I read with interest the development and opening of First Pour in Melbourne and then Brisbane – and hoped upon hoped – that one would come to Adelaide.  Low and behold, the announcement was made – a location was sought – and an opening date semi announced of the first week in November.  Then it was December – and then because of those damnable ‘unforeseen  circumstances’ that always crop up when developing an older building it opened to raucous acclaim in the third week of March, adding another feather into the coffee cap(ucino) of  North Adelaide’s burgeoning speciality coffee scene.

The redevelopment of their building has been done well – with a clean, crisp interior that incorporates a subtle nod to the building’s past.  A central island, featuring all the coffee wizardry is the store focal point and beneath our feet (or bottoms if you found a seat), is a subterranean cupping room – or so the legend goes.  Greeted upon arrival by polite, friendly staff – the various blends and processes were explained – then you can select, purchase and enjoy.

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Taylor blend – Stoneyfell, SA

1/34 Hallett Road, Stoneyfell, SA, 5066

Taylor Blend was one of the very first speciality coffee places recommended to me to review when I started this blog – and after nearly three years and 99 other coffee reviews, I finally made it.  Yes – for those who are good at maths, this is my 100th coffee review – congratulations to me, and congratulations to Taylor Blend for making the 100th review such a [spoiler alert] positive experience.  Nestled in the leafy green, well to do suburb of Stonyfell, Taylor blend is exactly what you’d want and expect from a speciality coffee place.  It is inviting, comfortable, spacious – has a great outlook, friendly staff, skilled staff, coffee conscious staff – and other than it being out of the way – it is up there with my other favourite locations.

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Çikolatte – North Adelaide, SA

133 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

Finding Çikolatte was a total fluke.  I went looking for two other coffee hotspots on Melbourne street – neither of which I could find even after two slow drives down its length – although I did managed to located UR Cafe after a long walk – however it was closed on the public holiday – but not Çikolatte. Located not that far from the now derelict ‘Loose Goose’ – Adelaide winner of My Restaurant Rules (remember that blast from the past?) – heading east towards the hills – Çikolatte – according to its bollards and signage, was just the place I was looking for.  For lunch time on a public holiday it was about half full – offering your typical range of lunch time fare (wraps, focacias, etc.) to go with their hot & cold speciality drinks – the atmosphere was nice, the decor comfortable.  There were three tables outside under the verandah – but, due to my English complexion, I stuck with my table by the window (and as it turned out – I think also by the toilet door….).

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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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