37 Ariki St, Grey Lynn
We spent: $25.50 for two
Melbourne. We are now in Melbourne. North Carlton, Fitzroy, perhaps, where just after 11am impossibly beautiful locals are hovering, holding pottery keep cups and peering over high-end-but-not-mainstream-but-possibly-vintage Ray-Ban sunglasses at their iPhone screens, waiting to order their macadamia flat whites. Crumb is indeed a cornerstone of cool. Bean bags outside, sunrays beam in as if the universe itself is trying to say "endorsement", nicely casual wooden furniture. We sit inside, because I'm not sure how I'll manage multiple elements like coffee, water and a plate of food on a bean bag. We grab a menu and we decide.
The Toona Melt (ft. the real deal, not canned), is The One for me ($15) Though I do waver at the sight of The Old Mate (ft. mince, eggs and parmesan on a white tin loaf).
Suzie gets the Bruskie, a generous pile of tomatoes, red onion and basil on sourdough ($10.50). I have not eaten all morning and I devour my toastie, which is nicely rich, capery. It's a decent portion, too. Suzie declares the Bruskie a little too bready. Now that may sound strange, but it *is* a monster couple of slabs of sourdough and the flavours, she says, aren't leaping out to grab her. She has a few nibbles and orders her second coffee - this time a triple shot.
Unless you are a total demon, it's rare to need more than a double shot. A double shot in a decently made coffee should do it. While I love absolutely everything about this place, including the simple menu that does what it says, the coffee is a washout. So after the double shot, Suzie needed more. Mine was bland. We needed more oomph. The loyal followers clearly disagree. So where does the balance of power sit between the bean and barista? It's a marriage of equals - brilliance in both are needed. Flight coffee here comes with alternative milk options to cow including soy, almond, coconut and macadamia – and costs an extra $1.
The people here are friendly. It's gorgeous, sweet and unpretentious and the food offering is solid. The cabinet food - a selection of Tart's vegan treats including savoury scrolls and various doughnuts and croissants - apparently sells out fast. The pottery plates and cups are lovely. And there's even a menu for your pooch, which is a pretty adorable touch. A Pupsicle with a Pupperccino, for Princess? They say they fought Starbucks for the trademark, for the "ccino". Who knows, but it's a damn good menu note.