Armadale’s hippest brunch spot, The Coin Laundry produces homely fare with plenty of attitude and style. The secret is out, packed full of Melbourne hipsters the queue around the corner of the building is proof that this place is doing something right. While it may seem pretentious amongst the leafy suburbs in Armadale, this old coin laundry manages to attract a range of customers, other than the usual “mothers with pram posse” that lurk around this area. If unlucky the wait to score a table can be long, take a wonder next door to new artisan food store The Little Grocer which carries a small yet tight range of speciality food products, their bread is from Vue de Monde and is incredible.
Owned by Matt Vero and Steve Rowley, from Window Espresso in St Kilda, the duo have maintained the old signage and holstered tea-towels to the ceiling in homage if times past. The vibe inside is loud and bustling, open windows and traditional greek colours of white and blue liven up this large space. The rough wooden tables and colours remind me of a seaside fish and chippery. The man behind the mask is Eddie Atkins of St Kilda’s Il Fornaio and Ramsey’s by Gordon Ramsey in London. After a twenty-minute wait, we pull up a chair at a large bench table. The cafe serves an all day breakfast and lunch daily. The menu is modern and uncomplicated with middle Eastern, Moroccan and Asian influences. Think burgers, sweet corn fritters, baked eggs, gourmet sandwiches, fancy salads and Moroccan chicken. Coffee is from Allpress. My usual eating partner and I order a Vietnamese iced coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, a warm Thai beef salad and a Wagyu burger with chunky chips.
After a short wait we receive our juice and coffee. Vietnamese iced coffee seems to be on trend in Melbourne and can be ordered from most cafes. I loved the appearance and taste of my coffee, however their wasn’t enough condensed milk in the coffee to make it truly authentic. In Vietnam you will be hard pressed to find a coffee which isn’t made with condensed milk, besides Starbucks. Naturally, you become used to it and crave not only the coffee but the heavy sugar hit. I may be bias as I have become used to Boundary Espresso’s version, which definitely packs a sugar hit.
The Wagyu beef burger arrives on a wooden chopping board with fresh tomato relish and chunky chips with herbed spice. The chips are roughly cut with the skins left on, they are salty but tasty none the less. The relish is nicely spiced without being sickly sweet like many commercial relish’s. I love the aesthetics of serving homely food on wood, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Now to the burger, a medium pattie is wedged between two soft rolls, topped with beetroot relish, aioli, tomato, lettuce and cheddar cheese. Slightly undercooked the way I prefer, the meat is moist and it’s juice softens the burger roll. The toppings are simplistic and allow the meat to shine. definitely a new contender in my personal top 5 burger list.
My salad is on the specials board, so it may not make it to the fixed menu, but be sure to ask. I loved my first few bites of this salad but found that I became bored half way through. Is that possible? Asian herbs, thin beef slices and fresh salad leaves are topped with chopped peanuts and a sweet Thai sauce. I would have preferred the meat to be chargrilled, as it tasted somewhat soggy, even though it was incredibly tender. The main issue was with the sauce, personally I thought there was too much and it was too sweet. Whilst as a side the salad may suffix, after a few mouthfuls I grew tired of the sweetness. However, it is a fresh and tasty salad much better than most and I polished it off completely. Serving sizes are generous and can be shared between two.
As a whole this cafe has every chance of success, great food and produce, speedy and friendly staff and a beautiful decor. Their hidden location in suburban Melbourne plays to their success, busy without being exhausted. Take a venture to the “posh” side of Melbourne for a great feed….