As I embark on writing on the cafes and eateries in Melbourne during my spare time in my coffee bar, I would like to highlight that I am gonna write literally all the outlets I have visited in accordance to the days that I was there. Hence there will be some good and some bad. But it is all to my taste buds which differs from person to person. And due to my time constraint, I will be summarizing every outlet to just Experience, Rating and Location. I’ve skipped Price because most of the places, the prices are almost similar and you basically have to spend like AUD$20 to get something decent for a meal. So cut to the chase, let me begin in chronological order of my days over there.
Villa & Hut Kafe
Experience: Typical counters like the big chains, Villa & Hut Kafe is the first coffee joint you see when you get out of the customs of the International Airport. And looking at the queue and corporate identity, I thought it must be pretty good. Queued up like the rest and got a sandwich as well as I was famished. Seats were like wooden stools and there were many tourists with trolleys and luggages all over the place. I think you can imagine. I found a seat on a long bench with no tables at a corner and sat down to have my sandwich and café latte. Saw the way the baristas prepared the coffees, I sort of knew my coffee would not be good. True enough, the milk was over steamed, coffee was bland, almost wanted to go back to the counter and ask for a refund but didn’t ‘cos I’m such a nice guy right? ;P The sandwich was also very hot, the crust of the ciabatta was hard, I believe it wasn’t that fresh that’s why they heated up a little longer to make it ‘crunchy’ on the crust. Service was alright but I reckon they were busy.
Location: International Melbourne Airport Terminal 2 Arrivals
Writers Block Cafe
Experience: Alright this place is a little unknown to many peeps but I tried their ‘Magic’ back in 2010 and it was very good then. This time round, I drove all the way from the airport to this place just to have lunch with a friend nearby but having a damn lousy cuppa at the previous location, I need another fix. The café is still at the corner of the library but the swanky Synesso espresso machine is obviously a big upgrade. Ordered a takeaway ‘Magic’ and was quite disappointed as the dosage wasn’t that powerful anymore and that the coffee lacks body. Beans from Five Senses shouldn’t be that bad… Could be due to various reasons, so I will not speculate further. Service however is still very good, as they know most of the peeps in the uni!
Location: La Trobe University, Bundoora.
Jade Kingdom Chinese & Malaysian Restaurant
Experience: Another place that not known to many but to the locals mainly. Definitely underrated ‘cos I was told by some friends they are not that good. Opened by a native Malaysian lady from Kuala Lumpur, Jade Kingdom has been here for decades and has been whipping out awesome Malaysian dishes which us Singaporeans are also very familiar with. Ordered a Fish Head Beehoon as the lady boss told me that’s their specialty amongst others. So I ordered while my friends ordered Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice). Except for the Nasi Lemak, the portions for our orders were huge! So big that I couldn’t finish! But seriously, the broth was very well done and just loved the authentic taste. Very yummy! Service is pretty good too!
Location: 233 Waiora Road, Heidelberg Heights, VIC 3081
Miss Marie Café
Experience: Yet another place unknown to many even to locals! Cos this place is usually serving the neighborhood of Rosanna, not that it’s the only café but this place serves pretty good brunches and mains as well. However that said, I didn’t have the chance of having my meals there… only had a couple of lattes and a carrot cake. The carrot cake is OMG… Damn good, love it. Will try to replicate it here in Singapore and sell in my coffee bar ok? ;P Again Synesso machine and they have 2 blends of which one of them is Dark Horse by Five Senses. The coffee quality again varies between baristas. If the male owner makes them, they are just awesome. Anyone else may not extract the shot the way it should be. Anyhow, service is awesome, they know most of their regulars including my buddies.
Location: 45 Beetham Parade, Rosanna VIC 3084. 0730-1600hrs.
Sip & Chat Vietnamese Noodles & Caféing rolls
Experience: Another neighbourhood eatery that is known to the peeps living in Balwyn area only. Frequented by my buddy and family that’s why I know this place. So I had my dinner here with my god daughter and sister here as they love the fried spring rolls pretty much. The place is managed by Asians who spoke Cantonese so could be from Malaysia, Hong Kong or even Guangdong, China. Ordered the dried pho with pork chops and it came with loads of vegetables! Love it! The sauce could be a little more though. The Vietnamese coffee was a little not fresh and I doubt I will drink anything similar to those I had in Ho Chih Min City. Anyways the food here is comforting, nothing to wow about but just comforting.
Location: 226 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, VIC 3103
That’s all for Day 1. Stay tune for Day 2 soon! Nite y’all!