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
Sitting dark and handsomely on Malvern Road, Prahran, Hobba Coffee + Kitchen has made it’s mark in the neighborhood since they opened in mid 2011. The property in use is a converted garage that is strategically placed between Chapel Street and Williams Road, closer to Hawksburn Village. You wouldn’t label Hobba as being fashionably hard to find, at the same time it is not smack bang in the middle of a busy strip. The Chommery would direct one here by saying it’s almost adjacent to the Prahran Cop shop.
You can have cafe confidence when visiting Hobba, with the knowledge that the Hobba guys are the same people from Willim Esspresso in Malvern. I think Willim deserves a shout out and a big thanks for being the first (or maybe the only) cafe that provides good coffee to Glenferrie Road, Malvern. Hobba is definitely the big brother in this equation, with a far larger seating capacity and a full commercial kitchen offering a vast range of interesting dishes, some of which will be shown below. Above we have a snap of the front of the cafe, and these two very happy customers wanted to express their delight at their recent breakfast at Hobba.
An abundance of light and fresh air flows through the premises while there is technically no outdoor seating. All the front private and communal tables often creep a little over the boundary line to grab some sun when it is beaming. Take away coffee goers can sit up at the bar and watch the Hobba professionals behind the Synesso slam out kgs after kgs of caffeine. A range of different shared tables are placed closer to the streetside with a strip of wooden booths running down the center catering for tables of up to 4 people. There is a large communal table situated at the rear for casual dining.
These guys are serious about their coffee, offering their own ‘Maverick’ house blend, which is sourced from expert roasters, 5 Senses. Consistency is the key for Hobba’s coffee trade, always smooth and creamy and at the perfect temperature. Flat white ($3.80 – left) and Soy Late ($4.20 – right).
Chermoula braised charred omelette, kefalograveria, smoked tomato, dukkah and a slice of sourdough ($14.70). Although this sounds very fancy and technical, don’t be scared. This is a close relative of baked eggs, topped with herbs and an unbelievably good house-made sweet relish. I was offered a slice of toast on the side and accepted graciously.
The Smashed avocado, persian fetta, slow poached egg and grain sourdough ($11.80) is a great choice . Here lies a major talking point - Hobba’s poached eggs. They have implemented the ‘slow poaching’ of their eggs instead of the standard method. To my knowledge this is a technique that involves cooking the eggs in the the optimal egg boiling temperature of 62.5 Celsius and when they are ready you crack the egg shell open and ‘voila’. I have had these at Cumulus Inc before and seen the recipe in David Chang’s Momofuku cook book. Some people love them, others don’t, best is to come and try yourself. By the way, I love them.
62.5C slow poached egg, zucchini, poached salmon, goats curd, pickled celery and apple ($18.00). While this may seem an expensive choice for breakfast, it is fair to say that you need to pay a premium for a quality piece of salmon added to the plate. We found this to be a light option, which was suprisingly filling and we loved the addition of the apple and a whole square of salmon to the breakfast plate. Awesome to try something different.
The Hobba breakfast – tomato, bacon, mushroom, cumberland sausage, relish and grain sourdough ($16.50). Many cafes attempt to make a dish in their own name, it doesn’t work every time, but Hobba’s is excellent. I feel that the sausage isn’t around as much anymore unfortunately, but you just gotta love that fat succulent piece of meat with your breakfast. Additionally, not one but two of their signature eggs complement your meal – Magical.
I regularly head down here for lunches as well. They offer a great range of take-away sandwiches and an intense braised lamb shoulder salad with carrots – anyone that speaks about the chom with me knows I can’t stop raving about it. Rumor has it that the crew behind Hobba are currently applying for a liquor license and hoping to expand into dinners and some late night boozing. Great to have something more to look forward to from these guys in the not too distant future. For now, head down for a top breakfast and lunch or the ever longing coffee fix.
The Important Details…
Cuisine: Slightly fancy cafe fare
Noise: Not quiet
Suitable for: All people, kid friendly
Price: $15 – $20 per person
My View: A cafe that Malvern Road has been begging for, for years
Address: 428 Malvern Road, Prahran
Phone: (03) 9510 8336