Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published January 24th 2014
Charming, Ecclectic And Unassuming
Skilful coffee art
I should be forgiven for missing this brilliant little café called Piccolo Meccanico. When you drive down the main road on the cafe side of the street, it's tucked away in the corner of a little stretch of shops including the pet wash shop, Mr Chips, an interior design shop and the bank. It's right next door to the tattoo shop where you would not expect a funky little cafe to be.
When driving on the other side of the road it's hard to see because of the trees right next door that shade the outdoor dining area. If you haven't found it yet, it is certainly worth looking for.
It's coming to the end of January when many suppliers are still not open so the owner, Mark, has decided to just focus on coffee and cakes. He said that he is in the midst of renovating with new lighting, tables and chairs and sourcing new suppliers. He wants to lift the quality of the coffee with a new machine and great coffee. According to the regulars, the coffee is already fantastic.
I wonder how good it can get because this is what led me to Piccolo Meccanico. I have been told from the number of people that they make the best coffee and that the coffee art is amazing.
When we walked we were greeted with a wide genuine smile and 'Good morning'. There was a steady stream of customers who were mostly greeted by name and questions like 'The usual?' One customer later delivered our hot chocolate berry flour-less cake to our window seat.
I was surprised how quickly Mark (he was the only staff on duty) was able to serve the coffees while also attending to those dining in. I heard many customers complementing the coffee on their way out. I don't know how long it's been since I've heard those sort of thanks as people leave cafes. There was some discussion with a few tradies about texting the order. Mark said he would then have it ready for them to go. He admitted that he takes coffee very seriously.
A regular haunt for Tradies
No doubt Mark's attention to his customers and his genuine approach attract his clientele. When an elderly gentleman with a disability came in Mark said 'I was having an average day until you turned up'.
I had a chat with one of the customers who was tying up two dogs outside. She said she came about once a week and the thing she loves most is, you guessed it, the coffee. From $3.50 it is very reasonable. She also commended the friendliness of staff and said the food was pretty good.
My daughter had a vanilla milkshake that was big enough for about four people. It was very sweet and very ice creamy, just the way she likes it. I enjoyed sitting at the window bench watching passing cars and kids playing at the park across the road.
I now know why he is famous for his coffee art. Mark produced one of my daughters with her long-wavy hair and another offer panda which she said was 'sooooo adorable'. Call me a crazy, emotional mum but I felt tears welling up in my eyes when I saw that coffee picture. That is a skill that must have taken hundreds of hours to produce. We couldn't bear to spoil it by drinking it.
This made a little and big girl smile
As I have been living in the Diamond Creek area for almost 30 years I enjoyed looking at very old photos of when the Diamond Creek main road was dirt. Mark explained that they had been given to him by his Nanna who had been given them from her mother.
I was busy in the main street way back then
Mark is a prime example of the phrase 'down to earth characters'. He's one of those genuine blokes who you feel like you've known for years, would like to spend more time with and get to know better. Maybe that's why he has so many regulars. Of course, that's not meant to underestimate the incredible coffee on which he prides himself and takes very seriously.
As a testament to his (well loved) character and his trust in people, Mark often has people put their money on the bench and take their own change. He knows that some people take too much. He also has a prepaid system where you tick off your own coffees.
If you love coffee, or are looking for a homely, casual location with happy attentive staff, this must go on top of your to-visit list.