Monday, August 18, 2014

Wild Timor Coffee

Wild Timor Coffee is very near the Post Office Hotel on Sydney Road and is a welcome addition to the area, judging by how busy it was on a cold Monday morning. It was established by four ex-soldiers who, while participating in a peace-keeping mission in East Timor, discovered that the coffee grown by the locals was being traded unfairly by middlemen who were taking a huge cut of the profits. Without having any cafe or coffee experience at all, they set up Wild Timor Coffee Co. to bring the coffee to Australia and ensure the farmers received a fair and equitable price for their product. The small-ish interior is nicely decorated with stripped-back brick and wooden shelves, giving it a cozy and welcoming feel, and staff are friendly. The coffee was excellent. I had muesli, which came in a jar with flavoursome thinly sliced strawberries, yogurt and an interestingly textured mix of seeds and grains drizzled with honey. D had the halloumi burger which packed a spicy punch and thankfully was not served in the ubiquitous soggy brioche roll; and our smallest diner had a tasty-looking cheese, ham and tomato toastie which he comprehensively deconstructed to extract the melted cheese and ham. To finish up, we eschewed the collection of excellent looking cakes for a delicious Portuguese egg tart each, which sadly did not last long enough at our table to be photographed, and came away with a bag of Wild Timor coffee beans to try at home. It's a delight to have cafes like this within walking distance and we will definitely be returning.

Wild Timor Coffee on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 19, 2014

John Gorilla

John Gorilla is in Pearson Street, West Brunswick. It's a real head-turner as you go past because there are some interesting pieces of street furniture (like the sunshine yellow chairs below) and there always seem to be squads of cool-looking people hanging around. This was our second visit and both times we've really enjoyed it. On a changeable Monday morning, it was quiet enough for us to get a seat almost straight away, after passing perilously close to a fabulous-looking overstuffed carrot cake and some beautiful little sweet creations such as individual lemon polenta cakes. The rooms are light and airy and filled with what seems like a highly personal selection of quirky items: the "Tasmania" trays holding the salt and pepper, the family portraits, the Charles and Di wedding memorabilia. The room out the back, where we sat last time, has now been covered over and garnished with bright paper lampshades and plant pots, and diners share one very long table. We sat at a comfortable banquette with an entire table to ourselves - perfect for keeping little ones in check. Staff were friendly and efficient: our orders arrived lickety-split (albeit one was wrong). I ordered the leg ham and gouda toasted sandwich with onion jam, which was delightful, although the liberally-applied English mustard was a little overpowering for my taste. D had the eight hour brisket which was warm, flaky, sweet and tasty and served in a generous quantity in a soft white roll. The smallest member of our party wolfed down his babycino but had to wait for his French toast as the waitress brought the wrong thing out (though that looked pretty good too). The French toast looked and tasted divine: a thick slice of brioche lightly fried and served with maple syrup. My latte was just right: a rich flavour, with no bitterness. A very pleasant experience: if it's not too busy, we'll be back to try the cakes.

John Gorilla on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lolo & Wren

Lolo & Wren is situated in an unprepossessing block in Albion Street, on the west side of Melville Road. The cafe has an attractive interior with a mix of pretty and industrial. On a wet Sunday just past the lunch rush it was so packed we had to sit outside. We quickly forgot the cold when lunch arrived: my pulled pork roll ("drunken swine pork") was soft, packed with delicately flavoured and melt-in-the mouth pork, and slathered with gutsy, perfectly spiced chutney; the accompanying salad was a delight, with julienned apple, roasted almonds, cheese and finely sliced radish served in the shell of a red cabbage leaf. D's chicken and chorizo roll ("chicken chori-pan") was "incredible" and accompanied by excellent patatas bravas. The food is hands-on, dig in, forget your manners delicious. We were served quickly by helpful staff and all in all it was an excellent experience. There's a selection of attractive cakes and we came away with a delicious-looking salted caramel tart. Lolo & Wren is a little gem and we'll be back.

Patatas bravas

Chicken chori-pan
Drunken swine pork

Salted caramel tarts

Lolo and Wren on Urbanspoon