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Espresso Royale – Magill, SA

357 Magill Road, St Morris, ‎ SA,  5068

I have been wanting to visit Espresso Royale (don’t you just love the way they spell Espresso…??) since my very first ristretto at The Pantry – I know! – Not what you thought I’d write – but [wait for it] Espresso Royale is the home of speciality coffee roaster Trevor De Groot – whose company, along with Bernadette Stack, supplies the beans to The Pantry on Egmont – hence the connection.  On Tuesday, with my hospital visit over and my horrible experience of another coffee still littering my pallette – I thought “before my wife calls to come collect her – I’ll just duck out to St Morris for a quality coffee” 10 mins later – I was kind of there.

The first problem I had was finding the place – as there is literally nothing from the road that says “Espresso Royale” – there is the greenish blue a-frame sign which you see in the picture, but it gives little away.  The second problem which I had to solve before the first was parking our ‘recently returned from the crash repairers’ car – NEVER LEAVE YOUR CAR ON MAGILL ROAD – unless you are pro amateur car remodelling at 50km/hr. Car parked in a side street, and using my iPhone’s GPS – I eventually discovered that the place with the red verandah and greenish-blue sign was in fact the legendary place itself.

The inside is tiny, yet comfortable – succeeding to be funky and eclectic, yet still 1960s kitchenish (I wonder how many words I have invented in the life of this blog?) – in a way that the original Bar 9 completely missed.  You can purchase recently roasted De Groot coffee on the shelf – if you like what you tasted – and have brought cash – no plastic here my friend – except for the table tops – see below!

Now to the coffee itself….

Read the rest of this entry

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Agatha’s Food Store – Port Noarlunga, SA

1 Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga, SA, 5167

Located in the ever improving Port Noarlunga precinct, this groovy eatery is a busy place – I managed to secure the last table – the only one minus an umbrella mind you, so I am now sporting the first pink glow of the season – on a fairly unremarkable Friday afternoon.  As the name would suggest, their main thing is food – and their menu of the ‘usual suspect’ café food backs up this claim – but with the coffee styled convas bollarding around the place, I wondered whether they were also quite interested in their coffee.  I would suggest – not that much.  While it was by no means the worst coffee I had on that day (Gloria Jeans takes that honour – I know, I know – I hang my head in shame – but it was free!), had it been a more audacious cup, this review would have been vastly different.  Luckily the company saved the experience for me!! Read the rest of this entry

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

Tango Turtle Retro Art Café – Willunga, SA

30 High Street, Willunga, SA, 5172

Willunga is quickly becoming the place to go for a ‘café crawl’ – with the Tango Turtle joining the ranks of my reviewed cafés in Willunga, with still as least three more to go.  Situated in a reborn Petrol Station, the Tango Turtle is decked out to reflect the third and fourth words in its over long full name, replete with an eclectic assortment of linoleum topped kitchen tables and chairs from the 50s, 60s and 70s of last century.  The walls of the Turtle are used to display the works of local artists, while the former drive through area features plenty of outdoor seating and umbrellas.

I ventured in mid-morning on a Willunga Farmer’s Market Saturday – when the town of Willunga is full to bursting with people – to find that other than a full table outside, and a woman sitting guard at the door – I was the only person in the place – and still, most of the waiting staff were too busy to offer me service – leaving it to the barista to eventually take my order.  Then while I was waiting (not really any space in which to do so) I was asked to move so that an old lounge chair could be moved back into a 45 degree angle relevant to the table by a staff member who appeared out of nowhere – this despite the blackboard at street level saying ‘great coffee and great service’ – this is actually my third time here (first intentional review) and this was my best customer service experience – but to the coffee review. Read the rest of this entry

Corso Café – Mount Barker, SA

46 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

If you have managed to survive taking your own life into your hands by either walking down, or carefully negotiating the congested traffic of the one-way Main Street of Mount Barker – otherwise known as Gawler street – and having bypassed Millies, Ground for Coffee, Sazo’n Espresso, Our Little Café, then the last chance you have for a coffee before you hit the organic cafés, the shopping centre cafés and the Home decorator centre coffee shop is The Corso Café – on the right hand side, just before the bank (Which Bank? – I hear you ask….not that one).

The first thing you notice about the Corso Café, is that it is orange – not sure what this implies – but the huge sign out the front is orange, and so are their business cards.  Beyond making coffee – which they do – hence the review – according to the business card, they are also into ‘Fine food – Wood oven – Catering’ – which is all very nice.  However, based on my brief – one off experience I wouldn’t be exploring the extent of their fine food (they have menus on the wall above the kitchen – but even with my glasses on I was unable to read them – and they had a selection of sweets and savories on display, which I assume you were allow to negotiate the purchase and consumption thereof) – as my presence was treated as an imposition.  Is customer service too much to ask for?  Do cafés want return patrons?  Anyway, before I get back onto my soapbox, here is the review:

Latte Quality – Excellent – a touch hot – I do not understand how this happens, as most baristas I see have the thermometer in the jug – yet it comes well above the ideal drinking temperature.

Cost – $3.80 – which is above the average price – but ok for a take-away – $3.00 for a regular if you drink in.

Coffee Supplier – La Crema – but I had to ask as there was no promotional material to indicate – however, this question seemed to be another imposition. La Crema coffee is also served across the road at Our Little Café – so this gives you the chance to see how a different barista can change the flavour of the coffee, and how customer service can influence your coffee experience.

Fair Trade – Big Fairtrade Logo up on the side of the fridge – but no information to say what it meant, or what how it related to the coffee – but La Crema do an award winning Fairtrade Blend so we assume this is what I consumed.

Customer Service –   – acknowledged my presence and value as a carbon based entity – but not much more.

Special Notes – Plenty of seating indoors, and a couple of tables on the footpath.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Not a problem for any of these activities – I was in at lunch time, and it was comfortably full – but not packed.

The Loca·vore – Stirling, SA

49 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, SA, 5152

Not sure how long this place has been trading for, but to me it seems very much a Stirling kind of place (for those who live in Melbourne – think Olinda, or Sassafras – for those from Hobart, think Sandy Bay…).  In fact, when I ventured in at lunch time last week I was not even sure if I was allowed to be there – the door was wide open, the lights were on – but there didn’t seem to be anybody home – and then, wearing my jeans and a t-shirt, when I ordered just a latte…well I guess the best you can say, is that my patronage was tolerated.

The Loca·vore looks very trendy – and from a design perspective (a throw back to my life before ministry and coffee), I loved it – the blend of the bricks and timber and glass – it felt great.  There is plenty of comfortable looking seating inside, and a smattering of tables on the footpath (from where I took the above photo).  It was great place to sit and watch all the expensive cars go by.

One thing I like, and must give them credit for is their ethos – from their website:

Locavore (local-eater) lives by the principles of the 100-mile diet. That is wherever possible, all produce is sourced from within a 160 km radius. When in doubt we follow these principles:  If not local, family farmed; if not family farmed, organic; if not organic then fair-trade. A recent Choice Magazine survey found that the average basket of food in Australia has travelled 72 000 km. So we estimate we have saved 300 000 000 food kilometres, since we opened in October 2007.

Latte Quality – Good – there was an excess of foam on the glass (see picture) – but that just insulated a strong, deep and rich flavoured coffee with hints of caramel…

Cost – $3.80 – which is higher than average – but probably about right for Stirling.  In its defence, the glass was bigger than the previous latte in Stirling.

Coffee Supplier – Brasilia Coffee

Fair Trade – Again, Yes and No.  Their menu board said that all their coffee and tea was Fairtrade – but the Fairtrade logo was no where to be seen, and to the best of my knowledge (happy to be set straight) Brasilia don’t do a Fairtrade blend.

Special Notes – When not just serving coffee, The Loca·vore is a wine bar, a tappas bar and a live music friendly venue.  They also have  a website, which is just to be finished – just like the Brasilia Coffee one….

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – I would say yes – it was quiet enough for sure – but make sure you dress appropriately and perhaps order more than just a coffee.

The Essence – Stirling, SA

Shop 7, 49 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, SA, 5152

Unless you are a regular or occasional parker of cars in the carpark behind the Stirling shops, then the chances are you have never seen The Essence.  Nestled quietly behind a dry cleaners, with unrivalled views of the car park, The Essence is a café and gourmet deli, all in one.

Nicely decorated, with plenty of inside seating – The Essence also has a series of tables that line a fairly narrow verandah on two sides, and a few tables under a glory vine lined pergola – which would be very nice in the warmer months.  However, be warned  – if you sit on the verandah – be prepared to have to constantly move your legs so as not to trip up the general public, and possibly be accosted by the carbon monoxide of delivery vehicles.

According to the ‘Yourrestaurant Guide’ – Hidden in the main shopping centre is a deli and a cafe in one, so you can buy a tasty lunch and special ingredients for dinner at the same time. While the deli favours Italian food, there are also some Asian items that any home gourmand cannot do without.  

Latte Quality – Good – a touch hot as my tongue still attests – but generally ok.

Cost – $3.50 – which is the average price, but the glass was on the small side of things.

Coffee Supplier – Griffiths Coffee

Fair Trade – Yes and No.  Their information board indicated that they served ‘Fairtrade Organic Coffee’ – but upon investigation via the Griffiths Coffee website, it appears as though Griffiths do not do a Fair Trade or an Organic Blend – they do however have a Rainforest Alliance from Panama. So….

Special Notes – Kid friendly venue – as long as you stay inside – where they provide story books and crayons.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Absolutely – as long as you take into consideration the thing I said about the legs and the CO above – or you could go inside…..
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