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John Gorilla Cafe

Home > Melbourne > Breakfast | Brunch | Cafes
by Kes (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer living in Melbourne.
Published October 5th 2012
Interesting name

Interesting name for a cafe and I wish I could tell you how it came about, but I can't.

[ADVERT]What I can say though is that on Pearson Street, towards Brunswick West, sits a cafe that pretty much owns the street. For miles on end, unless you are heading toward Sydney Road or Melville Road, it is pretty difficult for the residents of Brunswick West to waltz lazily on a Sunday morning to find a cafe for brunch without doing a semi marathon. John Gorrilla recently opened about two months ago and after giving it some time, I decided to wander down and try the place for myself.

The crowd was a little crazy to start of with and I don't know whether it was due to the food and coffee being good, or the excitement of having a trendy cafe in the vicinity. Either way, I had some time on my hands and had been meaning to try it out. So on a particular weekday morning, I deliberately skipped the morning rush and found myself at the long wooden communal table at 10:30. Facing the long corridor that led toward the kitchen, with my back exposed to the large open windows, seemed a good call as I quietly enjoyed the warm breeze massage my shoulders.

Liked the flowers

The menu looked exotic with the likes of dukka and herbs as part of an order of eggs and soldiers. The bread was a crusty sourdough, softened with splashes of butter. I know this because I ordered it, along with a soy cappuccino. The first coffee was good; I was thirsty so drank it quickly and was tempted with another, but held myself back. It would be interesting to get a feel for the combination of dukka and eggs, and whether another coffee afterward would go down well.

Dukka and herb with eggs and soldiers

The good thing about this dish was that the dukka and herbs were on the side. However, being an adventurous eater, I found the nutty flavour of the dukka complimenting the eggs. The eggs were softly boiled, with the shell remaining on. If one is a slow eater, it means that you could take as long as you want to devour your first egg, whilst the other still remained quite warm in its shell. Call me pedantic but it's the little things that count, and in this case, it worked for me.

It helped that it was down time at the cafe, so the service was good without being overbearing. If you like your space, and generally I do, you could find yourself being lost in that space for a while. I grabbed one of the magazine's from the rack and enjoyed a second cappuccino whilst pouring through Kate Middleton's wardrobe.

My second soy cap

Sitting at John Gorilla's communal table offers a feeling of being at Nan's kitchen. There were more tables out the back and on the sidewalk at the front of the cafe, but I liked the big one in the middle.

The menu offers an array of open sandwiches, breakfast and snacks, and staff are pretty friendly. The cafe is open between 7:30am - 4:00pm each day and I would aim for a time when it is at its calmest to obtain best value.
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Why? Lazy Sunday coffee and eggs
When: 7:30am - 4:30pm everyday
Phone: 03 9005 8680
Where: 49 Pearson Street, Brunswick West
Cost: $4.00 for a coffee, with meals averaging $15.00
Your Comment
Very nice review! I sure do wish I lived closer so I could experience it myself- but alas! I'm in Washington State (I attended Washington State University with JoAnna from JG) :) I'm sure if you asked any of the staff, they could have told you how John Gorilla got its name. Here you go (got this off JG's facebook page!/pages/John-Gorilla/272199609460393 ) :) :

Major Penny purchased "John Gorilla" from a London department store and took it to live in his comfortable apartments. "My ambition was to teach him to be strictly clean in his habits and to have him upstairs in our house as an ordinary member of the household. At first I could not make him understand what we expected of him. He would roll on the floor and shriek. Eventually he understood and bega...n to behave excellently. After about six weeks we took him from his cage and allowed him the freedom of the house...
FOOD: John was extremely found of fresh lemon jelly. He loved roses to eat more than anything. The more beautiful they were the more he liked them, but he never would eat faded roses.
TOOLS: He knew what hammers and chisels were for, but we never encouraged him in anything to do with carpentry.
CAUTION: He was very cautious and would never run into a dark room without first turning on the light.
TABLE MANNERS: He always sat at the table and whenever a meal was ready would pull his own chair to his place. He drank a lot of water which he would alway get for himself whenever he wanted by turning on the tap and filling a tumbler. He always turned off the water when he finished drinking.
AFFECTION: He was especially found of my little niece, 3 years old. John and she used to play together for hours and if she cried John would give her mother a smack with the full weight of his hand, evidently thinking that she was the cause of the child's tears.
Peter the Chimpanzee would strike a match and light a cigarette. In perfect man-fashion he took the cigarette between his fingers, gave his keeper a light, smoked again, and blew puffs of smoke from one corner of his mouth and then the other. Then he elaborately spat into the cuspidor. Next he went to the bureau and cleaned his teeth with a toothbrush, brushed his hair on both sides, looked into the mirror and powdered his face. Finally he bit a coin and put it on the keeper's plate as a tip. He pulled off his coat, took off his cuffs and vest, removed his shirt, trousers, shoes, garters, and socks. Lighting a candle he walked to his bed, blew out the candle and went to bed. Very soon he rose, put on his trousers and a pair of roller skates and playfully pursued a young woman who ran before him. His use of roller skates was excellent.

Stories of John Gorilla and Peter Chimp are from "The Minds and Manners of Wild Animals"
by William T. Hornaday, published in 1922
by fruit (score: 0|2) 2599 days ago
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