Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Corner Shop

9 Ballarat St
Yarraville VIC 3013
(03) 9689 0052

It is soooo busy,but not just busy, viby, if that makes sense. For good reasons this is where Yarravillians like to hang out. If it is not for the serious business person on the way to work, it is for the harassed mother with children hanging off her, if it is not for the mums after school drop off coffee, then it for the groovy young hip person’s chai latte. This café has an energy that represents Yarraville and all the different types of people who live here. It is perhaps the Heart of Yarraville. I take my hat off to the owners Ian and Claire who seem to have hit the nail on the head with this one.

This morning I had the ricotta hotcakes with Poached fruit(I think I am going through a ricotta phase). They were delicious, but and this is a big but there was the most measly bit of poached pear and rhubarb on the side. I could have had 3 times the amount of fruit with the 3 medium size hot cakes.

I also thought I would try out the chai tea. Chai has been fast becoming my choice of hot drink in a café, but like with my standard tea and as you would find as coffee drinkers the variations are endless. In the corner shop I really think that the barista is key to whether to order a hot drink or not. This is certainly the case with chai. I have noticed if it is not Ian that makes the Chai then usually the mix is not right. At the Corner shop they serve it not as a latte but in a lovely tea pot, with a ceramic mug(no handles, which I love because you can wrap your hands around the mug on a cold day) and a spindle with honey. For those of you not in the know, Chai Tea is generally strongly brewed milky tea with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and ginger. Ian makes a lovely brew. Other brews or lattes I have had can taste like warmed milk with cinnamon so it is important to get those spices in there and brewing.

Overall still one of my fav places to hang out for brekkie. Actually I like to hang out there at any time of the day. For lunch I recommend you try the lebanese Shanklish(a hard Lebanese cheese) salad, so yummy and so good for you. The salad mainly comprises of cos lettuce, crispy pitta, the shanklish, radish and onion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Gravy Train

83 Gamon St Yarraville VIC 3013
(03) 9687 9866

AHA! It was just an undercoat! The Gravy Train has been painted. Good for them, it took them a while but they finally got there in the end.
Six months down the track and the Gravy Train certainly looks better, but has it improved inside. The Breakfast dish I had today was excellent. A Ricotta Pancake with fried eggs, bacon and spicy tomato relish. The pancake was light and fluffy, the eggs cooked to perfection with a runny yoke and the bacon was the best I’ve had in a long time, crispy but not too hard to eat or cut in to. At $14.50 I think this is really good value as it fills you up for most of the day. Unfortunately the Porridge I had a couple of weeks ago was not A grade. The pear looked like it was from a tin(sacrilege) and there was no honey or milk on the side. In fact it was quite bland. I like my porridge with poached fruit, lashings of honey and maple syrup(yep both) and warm milk on the side, as we know that porridge can stiffen up a bit. Some people like it with butter and brown sugar, I’d be quite willing to give that a go. The menu has slightly changed since the last time I was in and it is still a good menu with all the usual suspects, eggs done any which way with all the sides, eggs Florentine, eggs Benedict and plenty of sweet options for customers like Rach who love Pancakes and French Toast.

The tea I had today(T2) came in a dreadful cafeteria pot and was sooooo strong I think it was filled with tablespoons of leaf tea rather than one – two teaspoons. This should not happen in an established café like the Gravy Train. If you can’t get a decent cup of tea in a café then what is the point of visiting. I might as well stay at home.

As soon as we entered our drinks order was taken but after that it took a while for it to come out. There was a big group out the back(The Gravy Train holds a lot of corporate meetings) and it seemed that that was all the staff could cope with.
I think the Gravy Train is hit and miss, so when you go you have to take your chances. Why would you want to do that when you can go somewhere else where every part of the breakfast experience is near perfect .

Lift your game guys!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Social Roasting Company

Social roasting company

307 Racecourse Rd
Melbourne VIC 3031
(03) 9372 3288

Doesn’t sound like a café, does it? But it is! And a good one at that! I think the name can provoke a lot of thoughts about what it is or what it isn’t. When I visited their webpage at http://www.socialroasting.com.au/ I discovered it is a café with a conscious and a very exciting social concept.

First of all the coffee! Now you know we don’t do coffee, but hey we know the importance of it for those of you who do. The Social Roasting Company uses fair trade coffee that is ground freshly for every cup. In this process they are involved in every step of the way of getting it to you, from sourcing in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Columbia and Ethiopia, in grading and roasting it. They advertise that is 100% ethically sourced. This is an exciting development in the coffee world because if there were more cafes using fair-trade coffee there would be less opportunities to exploit the workers on coffee plantations (some of who are children). Another unique concept that is in play is the delivery of their coffee by a man called Josh on a bicycle. He delivers to cafes all over Melbourne. How fantastic!
I would really love to hear from any readers if they have had a coffee at the Social Roasting Company and what their experience was. Is it good coffee?

Secondly the tea! Well not in our books but obviously at the Social Roasting Company. MMmmm. The cafeteria pots showing up again and at such a groovy café. Couldn’t work out the brand of the tea as it was not displayed, but my English Breakfast was leaf, but I noticed Rach’s herbal tea was a bag. Nothing special but then again this café is all about the coffee and everything else is secondary.

Thirdly but I guess most important for me is the food. Can’t miss the menu, it’s on a blackboard on the wall, it’s huge. I think it’s a great idea, as it must save them a fortune in not having to print menus. I really liked the menu; there was definitely more than 3 items I could have tried. Porridge with rosewater and rhubarb, granola, dukkah poached eggs. I had the baked eggs with hash browns, olives, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and pide. $15. It was a little dry but quite delicious. Rach had scrambled eggs with bacon. On the blackboard it did say scrambled eggs with chilli and fetta, however Rach’s were missing these key ingredients. She also thought it was missing salt and pepper and just a little on the bland side. Disappointing! But what was more disappointing for Rach was that there were no pancakes on the menu. She does love her pancakes! There were a few sweet treats on offer but we both showed restraint, unusual for us( we won’t tell them about the lollies and chocolate we bought at the foodworks afterwards).
I liked the space we were sitting in. The procession of different types of groovy people from the Bulldogs Player to the boys in suits made for interesting people watching. I really liked the communal table and chairs and as is quite common practice these days there was some art on the wall for sale. The coffee roasting machine is a great centre piece in the café and it emphasises the importance of the coffee.
Another point of interest is the fair business side of it. Employing those who for whatever reason have found it difficult to get employment. These guys are covering a lot of social ethics in their business and I really hope it works.

On paying it was disappointing that there was no credit card facilities however given the nature of the business it is understandable, it just means we have to be more organised next time we visit.
And yes there will be a next time because I really liked the whole concept and experience, everyone should support businesses like these.