Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 1st 2011
A tiny place on 13 Stawell Street, West Melbourne, Roller Door Cafe is hardly classy. It’s close to North Melbourne train station and, ah, a massage parlour, and the entrance is quite literally a warehouse-style roller door that the staff close at the end of the day. Still, it sort of works. Roller Door Cafe is a very well-hidden gem – a breed that’s dying out with the advent of social media (and articles like this).
The entrance is surrounded by coffee-themed graffiti and outdoor seating that fits about six people. It’s all milk crates and plain tables, playing on the inner-city hipster vibe. There’s even less seating inside (plus a small courtyard in the back), but Roller Door’s hidden location means it’s rarely full. Even if it is, takeaway coffee and food is available and very quick. Next time you’re at North Melbourne train station and miss a train, don’t hang around for thirty minutes reading and killing time – head over to Roller Door Cafe and grab a coffee.
The coffee’s worth talking about, too. It’s not as amazing as some places in Melbourne, but compared to the alleyway hole-in-the-wall places nearby it’s fantastic. Latte drinkers will have nothing to complain about: while the coffee at Roller Door Cafe isn’t going to blow your mind, there’s no shame in being perfectly serviceable. What is unusual, though, is that most coffees come with a delicious bite-sized lemon tart – top that, Degraves Espresso.
Try a takeaway sandwich at seven dollars each: egg and bacon, ham, cheese and tomato, or a toasted veggie roll. If you’ve got time, though, it’s better to sit down and enjoy something more substantial – like the ‘a bit spanish’, a poached eggs, potato and chorizo number. It’ll set you back fifteen dollars, but it’s well worth it. Roller Door Cafe’s bacon and chorizo are crispy, and go very well with the tomato chutney. Everything’s organic, of course.
If you live nearby, Roller Door Cafe offers a unique service: ‘food boxes’ for nearby households, containing organic and biodynamic fruit and vegetables, a loaf of bread and milk. A food box costs fifty dollars, so you’d probably get it cheaper from the supermarket, but if you can afford it it’s worth paying extra to make sure your food’s fresh and organic. The staff are working their way towards creating an “organic 7-11”, they say – an admirable goal, surely.
The atmosphere at Roller Door Cafe is relaxed and friendly – as the website says, they’ll “exchange most things in shed for cash”. Don’t try buying the coffee machine though; even if they sell it to you, you’ll get mobbed by the outraged patrons. They’ll cater your event, if you like, providing sandwich and cake platters, macarons and fresh fruit (in whole pieces, of course, to avoid oxidization).
Roller Door Cafe isn’t open for dinner, but is open for breakfast and lunch all week. It offers gluten-free and vegan options and is kid-friendly (although its neighbours definitely aren’t.) Some minor caveats: like a lot of modern trendy cafes, they only accept cash, and unless you live nearby Roller Door Cafe can be difficult to find. It’s certainly worth a visit, though, for this reason if no other: no matter how cafe-smart your friends are, unless they live in the area it’s almost guaranteed that they won’t have heard of this place.
Wow, looks like a really interesting cafe, great that the coffee is good too! This isn't always the case when it comes to interesting places.
I had a look through their website and everything on offer looks amazing, very tasty, and nice and fresh. I also love that they sell Macarons by Josaphine. Always love a place that sells some tasty macarons.
Looks like a fun and relaxed place to grab a cup of coffee and a tasty meal. I'll definitely be trying to check it out next time I'm in Melbourne, I just wish that it was sooner rather than later. For now I'll just have to hang around their website staring at those pictures.