Dukes Coffee Roasters | Pardon Coffee
For the past month or so, I seem to be brunching at places that are less coffee-focussed. So it’s time to push out a post that’s more geared towards coffee!
Dukes Coffee Roasters
169 Chapel St
Windsor, VIC 3181
03 9521 4884
I’ll pull your attention away from that dude’s red boxers (sincere apologies to him!) and take you into the colourful suburb of Windsor.
It was about a fortnight ago… I had a few errands to run in and around Prahran on my off day, with enough time to squeeze in a solo lunch. Unfortunately, I learnt that Tsukiji on High St doesn’t serve cooked lunches on Wednesdays… damn! I also wasn’t in the mood for Hanoi Hannah’s MSG-free pho. But a quick glance on my brunch wishlist showed that Dukes Coffee Roasters was nearby.
Piccolo (Dukes espresso blend) / $3.8
It was very very busy at lunchtime. The cafe had a dark fitout, with an industrial theme involving steel and dark woods. Plastered against brick walls, you could see black-framed pictures depicting various coffee plantations. They are pretty serious about their coffees here.
It took quite a few minutes before one of the waitstaff had time to attend to me, I then chose a corner seat by the window at the front. Coffees came quickly… my piccolo was well made, with a rich mouthfeel and a slightly savoury finish. Not bad.
Haloumi panini, beetroot, chipotle mayo, tomato, spinach, olive tapenade / $14
I have a confession… these days I also seem to be leaning towards non-meat dishes. Quite a puzzling situation for me, since I’d normally automatically go for bacon or smoked salmon when brunching. But this lunch visit marked the start of my conversation with the occasional vegetarian dish…!
And behold! A vegetarian panini. I found the haloumi delightfully milky and ‘meaty’, and enjoyed the chipotle mayo’s spicy kick and the lashings of fresh beetroot in the sandwich. I also munched into the scatter of pickled green chillies happily. The only component I wasn’t as excited about were the olives… they made the sandwich a bit too tangy for my taste buds.
One of the rare instances where I’d blog about lunching solo at a venue. The coffee was decent but not enough dishes were sampled for me to make a call with regards to the food. But this place looked like a decent option for brunch fare if you’re in Windsor.
Incidentally, any explorations around this part of Melbourne usually also involves a visit to Market Lane Coffee. That afternoon, I got myself a bag of their seasonal espresso beans to make piccolos at home with. Market Lane remains my favourite coffee roaster to buy beans from, this bag made delicious coffees even when my grind size and extractions weren’t perfect. I love forgiving beans.
Shop 4, 155 Greville St
Prahran VIC 3181
(Shopfront on Izett St)
We’re still in the same region of Melbourne, but one week later now…
On this front, I have a blog announcement: my wonderful boss at work has changed my roster and I now have the same off day as Fakegf! This visit to Pardon Coffee marked our first Wednesday off as a reunited pair of food rascals! What’s cuter still, her partner – The Angmoh, is also very happy about this turn of events. He had been been quite concerned about Fakegf brunching bored-and-solo on her days off.
And just like old times, I no longer have to crack my befuddled brain over choosing a venue, since Fakegf normally decides for the two us! She suggested this spankingly new cafe because it’s opened by the people behind Cup of Truth, a well hidden but delicious brewbar under Flinders St station. Of course I said ‘yes!’.
Fitout was bright and minimalistic. There’s a confident focus on coffees here (see the Spirit Triplette coffee machine), with the added bonus that you can actually sit down and have sweets (by Matt Forbes) and sandwiches (by Alison’s Handmade Bread).
Piccolo 3.7 | Skinny Magic 3.7
Pistachio + Olive Oil Cake (GF) 4
We got our classic combination: a piccolo for me and a skinny magic for her, plus a sweet to share. Just like at Cup of Truth, they use beans by Axil, another favourite coffee roaster of mine. My piccolo came as a deep and fruity hit of perfection, I loved it. Fakegf, however, said that she’d prefer if her magic was stronger.
Another delightful place for coffees! Market Lane now has stiff competition within walking vicinity. The guys who were there that day were very cheerful with a sunny sense of humour too, it made for a very pleasant visit. My only suggestion would be that they have a little clipboard of sorts telling us what blends we’re getting for that day, its tasting notes, and if there are any single origins / filters on offer.
El Aguilar Piccolo 3.5 (Single origin at Market Lane Coffee)
Bring the predictable caffeine rascals that we were, Fakegf and I went to Market Lane Coffee right after Pardon, where I downed another piccolo (which tasted a bit too weak for me). I realise that I seem to like buying my beans at Market Lane more than having the actual coffees there. They roast spectacular blends and single origins, but their milk coffees tend to be quite mild.
The above photo also tells you why I’ve been going to Prahran for the past few weeks. I tested my eyes a week back and then collected my spectacles a week later. Yes… though its only been 3 years (and $3000) post Lasik, my eyes have already regressed and I need glasses again. I blame myself for playing too many video games and iPhone games this year. :(
We’ll end with a bit more cooking miscellany at home (I seem to do this at the tail end of every post now). The very day that I collected my spectacles, I cooked a vegetarian stew at home… using tofu and four types of Asian mushrooms (fresh shiitake, shimeji, king oyster & enoki) gently simmered in homemade secondary dashi stock. Talk about taking a turn towards healthy eating!