Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Published March 17th 2010
Café culture, while pumping north of the Yarra particularly in Gertrude Street and Fitzroy Street, is hotting up in Bayside, especially after a few new arrivals. Those lucky enough to live near Port Phillip Bay can now have their cake (and coffee), and eat it too.
Popular stalwarts include Nineteen Squares, a tiny (19 square metres), bohemian hot spot with chairs, tables and the odd milk crate or ten sprawled out on the footpath at 31 Blessington Street, St Kilda. Its ethical Fair Trade Organic coffee is the bomb, and its 'World Famous Chicken Sanga' worthy of the name. It's a few hundred metres from the beach.
Those who prefer their coffee right on the edge of the sparkling blue sea should head to the Middle Brighton Baths Café. You can while away many hours here without realising that the gentle lap of the sea has you lulled into a pleasant oblivion.
An exciting newcomer to Bayside's café scene is Elsternwick's Artful Dodger, named after the cunning character of the same name in Oliver Twist. It's opposite the Classic Cinema on the corner of Gordon Street and Glenhuntly Road. Here you can choose from four expertly-executed blends and listen to passionate baristas debate the various merits of each. They're serious about their coffee and, given Melbourne is reputed as having the best coffee culture in Australia, are definitely one to look out for.
If you'd like to catch a bit of coffee-roasting and grinding action, head to Peaberry's at 269 Charman Road in Cheltenham. See it, smell it, hear it, then, of course, buy some and savour it. The Gigante coffee is 'gigante' in flavour and body.
Further down in Mordialloc, Main Street, a great new café/restaurant/bar right near the train station in the heart of town has got all the locals saying, 'It's about time.' The coffee's very good, the casual, friendly, rustic atmosphere inviting, and the food very, very good in a part of town that really needed a new meeting place with food that exceeds expectations.
In case you hadn't noticed, coffee passion is indeed growing. The art of coffee cupping is becoming a growing phenomenon, baristas are achieving world-wide acclaim at designated competitions, latte or coffee art is almost expected at any reputable coffee joint, and we seem to be drinking more of the glorious stuff than ever before.
Maybe it's time to break away from your favourite old coffee haunts and investigate a few new, not only for different coffee experiences, but maybe also to check out different areas and their unique little surprises.