Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hidden Secrets Cafe Culture Walk, Melbourne

Manchester Press Cafe,
Given that 10 or more coffees would have had me bouncing off the walls for days, the Hidden Secrets Cafe Culture Walk wasn't really about coffee for me at all, it was about being shown Melbourne's wonderful laneways and appreciating the individual styles of the cafes and shops, each with its own point of difference.

Clothes, jewellery, books, music, coffee - Melbourne does it in style and now many cafes combine different elements and themes. We start our wanderings near Spring Street and have the first coffee at Cafe Liason in Monaco House, Ridgeway Place. We pass Self Preservation which blends a jewellery store with a cafe and Pelligrini's Espresso Bar in Bourke Street, a Melbourne institution.

Some cafes are in old buildings some new, some in corporate buildings, all themed to attract attention, linked by a creative thread inspired by individuals.

Manchester Press in Rankin Street (off Little Bourke Street), is one of Melbourne's newest cafes in an old printing press building and serving open bagels, simple but effective and drawing the lunch-time crowds.

Melbourne's corporate buildings manage to create little cafe corners with character - the Tuck Shop in The NAB Building at 500 Bourke Street which includes a rainwater tank for fresh drinking water and, below, The Truffula Seed bar with its distinctive frontage in Shell House, 
1 Spring Street. 

Truffula Seed sustainable espresso bar, Shell House. Photo:AP

The name Truffula Seed is inspired by 'The Lorax' by Dr Seuss about industry and the environment, and the cafe is a sustainable espresso bar using ethically sourced beans from the Social Roasting Company, who deliver the beans on a green bicycle. Truffula Seed's Truffula Blend is available for sale here.
La Bel Miette, 30 Hardware Lane. Photo: AP

Next stop La Belle Miette with delightful macarons beautifully presented in little boxes designed by Melbourne graphic artist Kano Hollamby. The little French patisserie at 30 Hardware Lane, specialises in macarons and the most difficult part is the decision with regard to colour/flavour. 
My eyes told me I had to have the Pink Grapefruit (top right) but my senses said Violet  & Blueberry so I followed the gut feeling and the taste sensation was amazing - violet and blueberry it was indeed. 
The skilful blends are due to the fact that La Belle Miette's Maylynn is the daughter of a natural perfumer. Flavours include Lemon (bottom left), Raspberry Ganache (top left), Rose, Cherry Blossom & Sake and Caramel a la Fleur de Sel.

Still on the French theme, Cafe Vue at 430 Little Collins is part of Chef Shannon Bennett's empire now including the signature Vue de Monde Restaurant,Bistro Vue and Cafe Vue as well as private dining and a shop. On the subject of famous chefs, Fifteen Restaurant re-opened without the Jamie Oliver connection as the The Kitchen Cat, next to Hermes,at 115 -117 Collins Street with Chef Toby Puttock in charge.
Back to cafes and last stop, Captains of Industry, 20 Somerset Place, open for breakfast, lunch, snacks and events, a 'gentlemen's haven' with traditional haircuts, bespoke footwear, mens grooming and made to measure. menswear. It's full of young creatives of both genders, who love its quirky ambience, all part of the trend to value-add emotion when it comes to shopping and even drinking coffee.
And Melbourne's doing it, big-time.
©Alison Plummer

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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