Axil Coffee Roasters is a brilliant cafe and could very well be one of the best in Melbourne. Need I say more? Probably not. Will I waffle on for a bit and talk about my experience? Yes. If your goal for logging on to this post was to decide whether or not to try the lovely Axil, I would say, yes, go! If you keep reading, I have warned you that I like to have a good waffle. Mmmmm waffles.
A grand looking entrance that fronts onto to Burwood Road and is situated a few metres away from the corner of Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn. The only outside seating can be seen in the above photo. Personally, I think you will have a much more enjoyable Axil experience sitting within the beast.
A bright open dining area that makes use of the signature Melbourne exposed ventilation and hanging lights among other pleasant features. You may notice the great hanging pot plant display that divides the space between the eating-in customers and the abundance of staff working their butts off behind a long work bench on the right hand side.
The soy latte was creamy, bubble free and smooth($4.00). I wouldn’t expect anything else from a cafe that not only has their own Axil coffee products station, but also a full roasting factory at the rear of the premises. You can tell that the crew behind this joint are most definitely into coffee, as well as coffee related paraphernalia.
How can anyone go past a steak sandwich ($17.00)? But really, a classic Aussie favourite that dates back to when Captain Cook first discovered Australia. Served in toasted turkish bread with rocket salad and other nice insides, not to mention a decent quality fillet. The side potato salad with mayo and red onion was a nice companion. If the other sangas are also getting served in halves, could be an option to split with a friend to sample a second.
You may have heard of the BigMac index, more recently the iPod index. The latest one of all, taking Melbourne by storm is the smashed avocado and fetta index. Now that this breakfast dish has become a staple addition to pretty much every cafe in Melbourne, we can make our own measures and conclusions of each one. Lo and behold, the smashed avocado ($14.50) at Axil was pretty damn good. This was the consensus of the group and not just the humble opinion of The Chommery. Points were awarded for the second piece of sourdough, the overly generous serving of mash and the complementary lemon.
Doesn’t the combination of greens, white, red, yellow and a few more shades of green just look magnificent. Even if this dish tasted like crap – which it certainly did not, I would have to give votes just for the amazing use of colour. These were the fritters ($17.00). A careful incision was made by no one else but a budding surgeon on this poached egg. He deemed it to be impeccably cooked.
A pasta/gnocchi dish is a very upmarket (dinner-esque) offering for a cafe – I wanted one of my fellow chommers to order it so we could see how Axil’s fared. We ordered the veal ragu with gnocchi (yes – I know that is penne ($21.00). The penne was a late substitution and we were all a little worried when we were informed of this by our bubbly waitress. The pasta was cooked exactly to our liking, al dente, and none of that watery soggy stuff either. The small cubes of veal were almost falling apart off the fork as you took each mouthful. What a great variation to standard cafe fare – a beautiful dish.
The food just kept getting better and better. The lamb wrap ($17.00) was really sensational. The lamb had been prepared in a similar fashion to the veal, in that it was as soft as cake – too good. An amazing (possibly home-made) tomato salsa and humus dressing formed a bed for the tabouleh to rest on top. My only criticism is that after I had been peer pressured to fold up the wrap and start eating it like a man, the package became much smaller. This in turn, meant my eating experience was much quicker.
I took the time to find the real definition of the word axil. Until earlier I thought it had something to do with bikes and levers. Dictionary.com defines it as ‘the upper surface of a branch or leafstalk and the stem from which it grows’ (WTF is correct). I tried several times to combine this with a witty ending note for my post using the name in some sort of pun. The result was negative. I will leave you on this note.
No more waffling, time to get serious. Axil Coffee Roasters is the bomb. Go and enjoy a beautiful breakfast or lunch.
The Important Details…
Noise: Not quiet
Suitable for: All
Dress: As you like
Price: $15 – $25 a head
My View: One of Melbourne’s best Cafe – well in my top 10
Address: 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
Phone: (03) 9819 0091
Attempting to source a cafe in Melbourne with a difference can prove to be a challenging task for any foodie. Again and again you dine in very similar environments, sipping similar blends and finding almost identical items on the menu. Truthfully, the winning formula works, and it hasn’t been a problem thus far. However, Demitri’s Feast is a top discovery if you are looking for an edge, a bit of zing or something that provides a different take on the standard brekky or lunch.
Positioned on Swan Street, very close to the intersection of Church Street, makes for an extremely busy location. Queues, up the wazzoo can be expected for Monday to Friday lunch times. I visited Saturday afternoon and managed to get a table reasonably easily. In width, this place is very small comprising a very tightly packed front room with a long work bench, which flows through to a humble and intimate courtyard.
The converted Greek oil container stools are very funky. The display case beautifully displays the assortment of take-away options to support the hustle of the residential and business types that come here to feast on the run. Assortment of toasted pita bread wraps, salads and smaller Greek delights can all be packaged up to chom while your on your merry way.
Mezedes plate of selected small tasty treats ($18.00) includes chorizo sausages slices, dolmades, spicy roasted capsicum and green beans (maybe chillis – they were extremely hot!), sauteed mushrooms, olives, quiche and a trio of dips. This is a fantastic sharing plate for approximately 3 people (a larger plate is offered at $29.00). A perfect appetizer !
Fluffy, soft, lightly toasted pita bread which comes with the plate of goodies – worth the carbs!
The free range egg, bacon and ouzo aioli pita bread sandwich ($9.50). This dish was consumed at 2:30 in the afternoon after it was most likely prepared closer to the 9am mark. Considering this, I probably should have chosen something freshly made as there was a slight dryness. Suggestion: order this one closer to the morning rather than the arvo.
Demitri offers breakfast served till 3pm each day (Tues-Sun), which is just super, but at the same time makes deciding what to have a tougher choice. Above is The Gigantes, which consists of baked beans, a free range egg, lokaniko sausage and feta ($15.90). The toast is sourced from St Kilda’s baking experts, Baker D. Chirico.
Another delight from the breakfast menu is the Rizogalo ($9.80) – an excellent choice. This is a warmed Greek rice pudding topped with poached fruit compote. I like to think of this as an excellent replacement for the standard porridge. In some form this has been sweetened, but not too much. Just enough to tickle the taste buds’ fantasy. It may be described as a creamy, vanilla-y bowl of heart-warming goodness.
Spanakopita, whitebait, calamari, semolina pancakes and baklava french toast are just some of the mediterranean inspired courses that feature on the menu (some of these I have tried and will be back for in the future). Demitri’s Feast should definitely be high on your ‘to try’ list, especially if you’re keen for an alternative to the typical Melbourne cafe fare.
We certainly feasted at this lunch destination. Demitri would be proud.
The Important Details…
Cuisine: Greek cafe
Bookings: Unfortunately no
Suitable For: Young and old
Price: $15 – $20 per head
My View: A top cafe with a difference
Address: 141 Swan Street, Richmond
Phone: (03) 9428 8659
Every part of Melbourne calls for excellent cafes. Suburbs that have not yet been endowed with numerous options to dine at are well behind the eight ball. Not only is it an asset for locals to have their regular spots for a hit of caffeine and brekky, but the business owners can rest easy as they will be very popular if they follow the correct formula. With little to no legitimate competition close by, Ora Cafe has honed in on it’s isolation and made a big impact for a small place in Kew.
Quaint Packington Street was a very quiet street during the drive down, until you notice in the distance the cluster of people spilling out of a small doorway. As you get close you notice many friendly faces sitting and chatting on the long communal table outside Ora’s window, as well as a line out of the door for take away cafe au lait and the like. For all the queue haters out there, the professional staff move quickly and know how to handle a crowd efficiently and promptly. So Chill.
Above is an example of one of the coffees that the Kew-ers line up for (skinny flat white – $3.50). Coffees are slammed out predominantly by the shiny La Marzocco machine, alternatively siphon and pour-over options are available. I’m also happy to let you know, Proud Mary coffee roasters in Collingwood supply the beans to these coffee gurus.
The Bircher muesli with peaches and cinnamon yoghurt ($11.00). All the best cafes know that you must provide a muesli/oats option for the more health conscious customers, which entices the big-time chommers and the small-time peckers through the door. This was a pleasant choice and did the trick for a light brunch.
What a feeling to enjoy a dish that is even slightly different to the ‘Avo-Fetta Mash’ that has taken Melbourne by storm. I was pleasantly surprised with Ora’s smashed broad beans with fresh ricotta, soft boiled egg and basil ($16.00). Did I say avo or broad beans? This was a great replacement from the norm. The broad beans were served whole and shmooshed. The chopped basil leaves provide this breakfast option with a cool sharp taste that lingers in your mouth even after finishing. Lastly, the firmness of the hard boiled egg makes for a cleaner eating session than the standard Melbo-poached.
It appears that many of the locals have solidly followed Ora since it opened up in 2010. On a Sunday morning this place was crowded before, during and after we finished eating. With such hot spots as Ora and St Katherine’s, Kew is well on the path to becoming a more prominent cafe/restaurant destination in Melbourne. The crew at Ora can take comfort in knowing they were pioneers in truly developing this suburb and providing a great service to the people.
Great Job – Chommery Approved. Ora is hot to trot.
The Important Details…
Noise: Medium to loud
Suitable for: All
Dress: As relaxed as you like
Price: $15 – $20 per person
My View: Great food and coffee in a pleasant environment
Address: 156 Pakington Street, Kew
Phone: (03) 9855 2002