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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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Gingers Coffee Studio – Goodwood, SA

109a Goodwood Road, Goodwood, SA, 5034

Gingers Coffee Studio, will be for the inner Southern Suburbs set a welcome addition to the specialty coffee scene. When I heard about this place (which had only opening a week or so early), my brother from another mother and I set off – early on a Wednesday – for breakfast and coffee.  Both of us felt comfortable upon entering Gingers as it is a throw back to the 1970s – the era which birthed us both – but also, layered upon the comfort was the familiar, as the menu was also reminiscent of Ginger’s mother – The Pantry on Edgmont – a place which we have enjoyed through a number of staff changes.

A noticeable difference between The Pantry and Gingers is in their choice of coffee – with Gingers embracing The Coffee Barun, while (on my last visit at least) The Pantry used DeGroots. For me, however, Gingers lacked something – whereas The Pantry had – and to all reports still does –  a ‘wow’ factor – both of us left Gingers saying how nice it was – but not much more.  It is though, only very early days and with a linage of such quality, there is no way that Gingers will not be a success.

The questions that remains are – where will the  next incarnation of the Pantry be located, and will it be a tribute to 1980s glam rock?

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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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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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PURE Boutique Coffee-Bar – Glenelg, SA

Cnr Jetty Road & Durham Street, Glenelg, SA, 5045

This place has the potential to one day be printing money for its owner.  It is the ultimate expression of the burgeoning speciality coffee industry in South Australia, located in what is arguably the city’s premiere tourist strip, one street back from Moseley Square and the beach, in partnership with three of the best coffee roasters in the land – yet, on my first visit I was left with a nasty taste in my mouth (literally).

I ventured in on my wife’s birthday (with her blessing) and I said to her , “I would be – no longer than 30 minutes MAX” – and then would catch up with her.  I went in, and there was one couple ahead of me waiting for service.  We waited (there was four people behind the counter – one of whom was the barista – although it was not 100% clear who that was either) – and looked around at the dark decor, and read all the wonderful coffee ideals on the wall – and we waited – I checked in to Foursquare.  Eventually the couple in front of me were served – while a couple who were already seated approached the counter, and embarrassingly asked whether their order had been forgotten…I had a sinking feeling.  Finally it was my turn for service and I ordered my standard – a Latte and a Ristretto (always interesting to see what order they come in) – and waited to be asked what beans I would like (assuming that this would happen as they promote their various suppliers on their wall) – but nothing. Hmmmm.

Took a seat – and waited.  According to my check in, it was 20 mins until my Ristretto and Latte arrived – together.  I proceeded to ask what the beans were and where they from – and I was told they were 5 Senses from Perth.  I clarified my question, and was told that he thought they were from Costa Rica.  My sinking feeling continued…but now to the review.

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the green room on high street – Willunga, SA – UNM

2 High Street, Willunga, SA, 5172 – Under New Management

This is my second review of the green room on high street. I felt it needed another go, not because my previous experience was bad – quite the opposite – but it needed a second review because in the last few months it has under gone a change of management and a change in direction. Click HERE for original review and comparison.

So what, other then that aforementioned, has changed – it seems, quite a bit. Gone is the eclectic mix of  café come studio come haberdashery come interesting nic-nac come alternative hang out come, and in its place is a fairly typical looking open plan café.   Also gone is my favourite Black Mountain Coffee.  With plenty of tables and chairs, and now with the addition of a comfy looking couch, the green room looks less willunga and more Unley, O’Connell Street or Hawthorn.  Not sure if they have changed the food department – my previous experience wasn’t the best, but today it was just about the coffee.

Latte Quality – Good – It was a little on the weak side, but that could have been something to do with the size of the cup – HUGE – and it was a perfect temperature.

Cost – $3.50 – for a cup which is around the mark.  $5.50 for a large takeaway.

Coffee Supplier – Villeré Coffee from neighbouring McLaren Vale/Blewitt Springs.

Fair Trade –  No – no mention in store, nor any mention on the Villeré website.

Customer Service –  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;  When I was finally noticed by someone (about 3 mins) I had two people ask to serve me at the same time – however the barista who I stood all of two feet away from, was not feeling talkative – or would even look beyond what she was doing.

Special Notes: Similar to the Coffee Barun, their take away cups are the BioCup brand.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Meeting – Quiet Chat – Study and Reflection – As I ventured in on a Farmer’s Market day – the place was pretty quiet (in comparison to last time) and there are plenty of tables both inside and out , and a back garden area for the kids and I am sure it would be a great place for such pastoral activities during the week.

Boulevard Café on the Lake – Encounter Bay, SA

41 Bartel Boulevard, Victor Harbor, SA, 5211

The unfortunate event of my wife and boys having a car accident (they are all Ok – Thank God!) turned into the fortunate event of me being able to relax lakeside, sip a latte and read a book doing sermon preparation, while waiting for them to pick me up (the crash repair place is within easy walking distance – not sure if this is a positive or a negative aspect in relation to the café itself – or whether I should include this stat as part of all future reviews…?? Let me know).

I have known about this place for quite a while, having driven past it on the way to other coffee places, church camps or just going to sit by the beach at Encounter Bay – and I can not really offer an excuse as to why I had never stopped before.  Even at the most recent CoC State Camp held down the road, people were commenting on their nice coffee – and yet I still never went.  But I am glad to say that I have rectified the situation.

While the Café itself is hardly “on the Lake” I assume they chose that name because the “Boulevard Cafe from which you can see the lake through some trees beyond the lawned area” doesn’t have the same ambience {see picture below} – but what it lacks in proximity to the man made fresh water lake, it more than makes up for in style and customer service.  Offering a full service menu from Breakfast through Dinner, the food comes highly recommended – and there is plenty of seating both inside and out.  Off street parking is available – which is a plus – and with a southerly wind blowing you can sometimes catch a whiff of the ocean.

If you are attending the Salvation Army ‘Encounters Conference Centre‘ then this place is across the road and away from the beach a bit….so to the review.

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