Bustling, relaxed and confident is Sensory Lab, and why not? It's a solid reliable product in a beautiful space.
I love the sage walls, grey and white tiles, industrial light fittings and marble table tops. I enjoy the high tables and community table seating options, as well as the reading material scattered around for those who'd like to catch up on the outside world. I'm too busy paying full attention to my cake to think about reading…well that's when I'm not with my fabulous friends. Bec when I'm there with you, you are all that matters (but hey isn't that cake YUM!).
For all of you that are seriously into your coffee, you'll be very happy at Sensory Lab and for those of us that don't drink dairy but are sick of soy, almond milk is an option, a very exciting option. They do a great chai latte with almond milk. Delicious.
SENSORY LAB / 297 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000 / 9645 0065 / www.sensorylab.com.au
Images: ℅ Google Images (Bean hunter, My travel diaries, Sprudge, The coffee guy, Venue)
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Everything about Dukes makes me want to smile - actually everything about Dukes does make me smile…classic period building, decorative metal signage, green frontage, incredible fit out, menu board, and as for those decorative floor tiles. Oh and did I mention the coffee? In a city that prides itself on good coffee, it's at the top of its game, with early morning punters prepared to queue down the street for a possible 15 minutes just to get their hands on some.
As if a gorgeous space made from reclaimed timber and recycled tiles, and fabulous coffee isn't enough, At Duke's the coffee is organic where possible, ethically traded and sourced, and traceable down to farm level. They participate in the 1% For The Planet, whereby they pledge 1% of annual sales to the preservation of our natural environment. And they are committed to minimising waste, using a commercial food dehydrator to turn leftover food waste and coffee grounds into soil.
Dukes. The complete package. Ahhhhh yes Dukes brings joy.
DUKES (@ ROSS HOUSE) / 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000 / www.dukescoffee.com.au
Images: ℅ Dukes website, Google images (The thousands, Twicsy)
"A shebeen (Irish: síbín) was originally an illicit bar or club where excisable alcoholic beverages were sold without a licence. The term has spread far from its origins in Ireland, to Scotland, Canada, the United States, England, Zimbabwe, English-speaking Caribbean, Namibia, and South Africa"…and now Australia. Our Shebeen was created by "Uni mates" Simon Griffiths and Zanna McComish after spending time volunteering in Africa and falling in love with the street bars, and has one major and important difference. The difference - it donates all it's profit to charity.
How does it work? Well basically you choose where it goes through your choice of beverage. Every beer, wine, cider and margarita sale funds back to the drink's country of origin. "We've made sure your money ends up in the right pockets by scouring the globe to find some of the smartest organisations tackling poverty in the developing world."
And as for the food, it's deliciously simple. Choose from bar snacks (crunchy corn, wasabi broad beans and tamari almonds), sliders (Mexican pulled pork, pork belly, BBQ beef with kim chi, smoked tofu), superfood salads (Mexican quinoa, organic black bean noodle) , chicken mole, bahn mi, cheese platters, ice-cream and chocolate. An unusual mix? Yes but just perfect for this place which redefines the meaning of community.
The fun doesn't stop there. Shebeen is also a venue for live music. Head into the back rooms to add another layer of satisfaction to your already unfitting experience.
SHEBEEN / 36 Manchester Lane, Melbourne / +61 3 9650 6931 / www.shebeen.com.au
Images: ℅ google images (Trend hunter, Travel super life, Foolscap studio)
Ahhhh The Journal. For all you Melbournites like me, you probably know and love this place very well. Like me you probably have a few favourites on the menu that you go back to have time and time again. That's part of the beauty of The Journal, it's a reliable old friend, you know exactly what you'll get. Even more exciting at the moment is that it just happens to be located at the end of the laneway I'm staying in, well I'm not staying in the laneway but you know what I mean ;). Once in a while this non wheat eating individual is so greatly tempted that she can't help herself but indulge, and this is what happens at The Journal. It's a very simple yet perfect bruschetta that does it to me every time. They have tomato & basil, avocado & lemon, pear & ricotta, pumpkin & feta, proscuitto & ricotta and smoked salmon & soft bold egg. All equally delicious. I don't know what it is exactly that makes them so delicious but top quality ingredients and sensational olive oil probably have a lot to do with it. Simply perfect.
And as for the interior…warm and comfortable. It's retro yet classically old school. There are so many little pockets to relax in, whether you choose the shared tables or cosy corners you'll just ease into the place and stay on much longer than you intended. I love the library like book shelves above the tables and 70's crazed tile counter and back wall best of all.
Oh yes you really must visit The Journal cafe.
THE JOURNAL / 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne / +61 (03) 9650 4399 / www.journalcafe.com.au
Images: ℅ google images (visit victoria, herald sun, breakfast out)
Thinking about all I've written and said about Jayne Reid.