Coffee: Dead Man Espresso House Blend (Seven Seeds Roasted), Various Market Lane Coffee blends
“The Wild West, an American description of their vacant and deserted western region which was populated predominately with “outlaws” whose hobbies included opportunistic robbing, drinking some sort of alcohol and have shoot-offs on the main street. Who in their right mind would have a shoot-off in the street? Maybe Hollywood is playing tricks on me. Anyways, Dead Man Espresso has definitely taken inspiration from the Wild West with its impressive decor and layout, but the only shots brunch goers are going to be receiving is of the coffee kind.
Located in the underrated but emerging foodie suburb of South Melbourne and coincidentally close to St Ali, Dead Man Espresso certainly establishes a high bench mark for which it doesn’t get enough recognition. From the outside it doesn’t look like the typical cafe. There is this match stick themed wall that looks like a yuppie apartment. Inside you are greeted with a calm environment, various sitting arrangements, an active and attractive barista station and my personal favourite – an open kitchen tucked to the side.
The most striking element which Dead Man Espresso offers is a relaxing ambiance. There is no real rush to be seated quickly. Rather, you can have a sneaky chat with the waiter and discuss the menu options and determine what is what. It was a Saturday brunch where you actually forget the time and just enjoy the surroundings and the people you are with.
Dead Man Espresso offers various coffee types and methods to ensure all coffee goers’ interests are met. The house blend is the very popular and specially roasted Seven Seeds. If you are looking for something exotic then there are various blends sourced from the highly sought and one of our favourites – Market Lane Coffee. The Seven Seeds selection was elected and arrived in a clean white cup with a gorgeous dark black coffee head. I found the aromas of this blend to be subtle, however the taste of the long black was another story with a clear, fruity and chocolate body which was pleasantly smooth. The coffee was an outstanding performer, which it is well-known around the traps.
You don’t just go to Dead Man Espresso for its great coffee, as their menu is equally impressive. The meals options are inspiring and innovative. They include a range of ingredients and develop something visually appealing, taking the standard brunch menu and injecting excitement.
The Omelette with vintage pork sausage + mixed herbs [$16] had caught my attention and curiosity made me wonder what ‘vintage pork sausages’ tasted like. The omelette arrived with sourdough with a spread of melted butter. As soon as I cut into the omelette, it oozed out with eggs, which I quickly mopped up with my sourdough. It had tasted divine with the mixed herbs. The pork sausages were a great addition and naturally complemented the meal. The sausages had a prominent smoky taste which I guess is the rationale in labeling it ‘vintage’. The omelette by definition is a simple dish and doesn’t have the creative scope, unlike Miss SLs dish. She was lucky enough to taste fruit cut up in small portions and prepared to taste like lollies. However, it was a great omelette because it was purposely left a little runny to appreciate and highlight the other flavours. It was an omelette that I’ll remember and for a brunch goer to try.
Elly, our friend who we were catching up with that day, had Avocado on toast – avocado & fetta on char grilled toast & green tomato relish [$13.5] with extra bacon [$17]. I have to be honest - I was extremely jealous with her selection. It was plated up with superb detail and still managed to retain the casual dining experience.
Dead Man Espresso is a cafe to look out for and should be taken seriously. While the owners may have been from the great St Ali, it sure is a great contender. Great coffee and great food in my opinion makes or breaks a cafe in Melbourne. There are exceptions to the rule, but I believe Dead Man Espresso‘s vision is clearly on this path. If you happen to find yourself in the not-so-quiet suburb of South Melbourne or you are putting your name down for a table at one of the cafe greats in Melbourne, make it Dead Man Espresso. Happy brunching!”
“It was a beautiful Saturday morning and Mr LB and I thought we would pick up the weeks groceries at the South Melbourne Markets before we popped into Dead Man Espresso to catch up with my friend Elly. After picking up the groceries, we headed down to Market street to find a rather large cafe neatly tucked away from the unsuspecting eye.
As we stepped up the stairs and into the venue, a beautiful, wooden interior was exposed to us. There was no pretentious vibe here – only casual locals and coffee lovers who have traveled the distanced, lazing about and reading the paper. We were seated immediately upon entering – to our luck, directly across from the open kitchen. I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal, so I opted for the Crepes – orange crepes w/ seasonal fresh fruit salsa & mascarpone [$14] and a soy latte for my caffeine fix. Our coffees were efficiently served within minutes of our order, and it proved to be beautiful and smooth. When my meal was served I was immediately impressed with the colour that was splashed across my plate. Something inside me said that despite the size, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
I cut into the crepes and the marscapone oozed out of the warm, orange-infused crepe. The fruit was cut into small squares – the cantaloupe adding natural sugar to the dish. The Tasmanian berries were an interesting inclusion, sweet and full of flavour. Watercress topped the crepe, making this dish look like a work of art. When I finished, I was surprisingly satisfied. I was greedy for a brunch dessert despite my full belly and so we ordered a Rougalash [$5] – something which I first discovered about a year ago at Auction Rooms. Unlike the Auction Rooms’ version, there was no sultanas in this creation. Made of a beautiful sweet shortbread crust pastry, stuffed with caramalised nuts and topped with icing sugar, the rougalash here was dense and definitely a no-nonsense dessert.
Dead Man Espresso provided a surprisingly excellent experience – while I knew it would be good, I honestly believe there hasn’t been enough blogs and newspaper reviews touting its excellence. The dishes here were challenging without pushing the boundaries in a way that made people uncomfortable about what they ordered. Definitely somewhere worth visiting on a lazy Saturday morning.”
Final thought: “Summer Crepes with a fruity punch”