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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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