Some of you may, or may not know, the unswerving reputation Melbourne has acquired for going the extra mile when it comes to a cup of coffee. Filtering the bean, and likewise, presenting it as a hot cup of heaven has become an experience, rather than simply a morning pick me up.
While the city of Melbourne has its award winners, like the Grub Food Van, where everything from the scraps to the furniture is recyclable, there are pockets on the city’s outskirts, that present themselves as a wonderland for caffeine lovers.
Only 6 km away from the CBD, over the Westgate Bridge, lies the village of Yarraville. Once a multicultural and blue-collar suburb, it now sports a metropolitan facelift. Dubbed part of the New West, Yarraville has become a plethora of eclectic locals, adventurous retail, and super-cool cafes. It even boasts its own summer festival nowadays, with indie bands playing all day long, original market wares selling everything from chilli-lime jam, uber crocheted halter tops, and a sensation of exotic culinary treats.
On any given day, while the city is still wearing pyjamas, the cafe scene here thrives. The Alfa Bakehouse in Anderson Street began as a humble bakery, but with its extensive menu, and extended renovations, it has expanded into an institution in the small groovy suburb. With a courtyard streamlined against the Melbourne to Williamstown Metro line, coffee enthusiasts can linger in the shade of leafy Melbourne foliage, enjoying a decadent mocha-latté, with an old-fashioned chocolate crackle for breakfast.
The quaint Yarraville village is also host to Coffee Edge, at No. 1 Anderson St. Tucked away in a cul-de-sac, this tiny treasure is home to such treats as the chocolate-pear muffin, and haloumi breakfast stack. And while the food is wondrous, the coffee is an absolute revelation. The finest beans are ground in the shop, and filtered through a 24 second drip process. They dont turn their back on the pour. This produces the perfect coffee flavour. Any longer or shorter, and it doesn’t agree with the perfection of Coffee Edges standards.
Yarravilles gem that is the Corner Shop (9 Ballarat St), have discovered that salt is chocolate’s best friend. Their caramel and cocoa salted fudge will seriously take you to another dimension. So will the hummus infused with pomegranate. Seriously. Open day and night, the corner store are artisans in food, coffee and service.
The Wee Genie, 50 Anderson St, Yarraville, has a sleek, white, warehouse feel. The managers have innovatively combined quaint teashop, fused with cutting edge Metro. Both breakfast and brunch are served, with dishes like chorizo, fetta and tomato kusundi. These rarities go perfectly with specialized brews, such as the Honduras Cesar Fernandez – a sumptuous blend of current, chocolate and plump stone fruit flavours. Ill take a third cup, thanks.
Situated under the iconic, art deco roof of the legendary Sun Theatre, Java was one of the first cafes to call Yarraville home. It’s outstanding coffee (especially those morphed with Irish cream flavour, or the home-made chai blend), can be slipped in a choice of retro style booths inside, or smack-bang in the middle of the street hub, for moments of introspective and people-watching. It’s dog friendly too.
Upon entering the Feedback Cafe, you could be mistaken for thinking youve stumbled upon a Greenwich Village art student hangout. The retro wooden tables and chairs are again centred in the busy suburban street, and the inside decor is a fascinating, eccentric mix of old postcards, movie posters, and rare album covers. It holds the legend of ‘damn fine coffee and food for the soul’.
Yarraville village has a signature of originality, and its heartbeat is community. The people of the suburbs are characters, but so too is the coffee, the adventurous menu’s, and even the furniture. Relaxhouse in Melbourne (234 Centre Dandenong Rd), have been furnishing establishments like these for many years, and have an insight into the coffee culture. Furniture should be a comfort facet, but it should also take on a form of self-expression. The chairs in a cafe should be welcoming as a friend, the tables sturdy as you want your day to be. And the decor should have the significance to inspire, to soothe, to reflect on the promise of the week ahead.