Mon-Sun: 7am – 4pm
Coffee: Axil house blend, single origin, filter coffee, affogato, other specialty coffee techniques changed daily
“I am the greatest” said the great man, Muhammad Ali in his public poem that was humorous and confident that he would be world champ. It’s the determination and self believe that strikes at our hearts. To publicly come out and face your top competition head on is gutsy no matter the context. To determine which is the best cafe in Melbourne, it isn’t about the punches they throw but the consistent delivery of mind-blowing coffee and mouth-watering dishes. When a three-time coffee champion and third placing barista (entering the World Barista Coffee Championship) decides to open a new cafe venture called Axil Coffee Roasters, you know there is something magical.
We had walked into the coffee arena on a Sunday afternoon to find an impressive cafe space. There is seating outside but its inside where it all happens. The floor space is long and is emphasised with its tall roof. Along the middle is a divider of metal grates with cute hanging pot plants. In the right corner is the barista station pumping out coffee with its two shiny machines, with their coffee trophies gleaming behind them. In the left corner is the seating area with dark chairs and light wooden tables with intimate drop lights adding an industrial touch. All the right combination for a cafe contender.
It was time to dance like a butterfly and taste the sensational coffee of the Axil Coffee Roasters house blend. I would typically start with a traditional long black [$3.50], however, Miss SL had inquired what an Affogato [$5] (a shot of coffee and a dob of ice cream) was and I couldn’t resist. The initial taste provided a strong coffee shot, however it had become smoother with the ice cream. It was a fusion of a strong, crisp coffee with a sweet aftertaste. Put simply, I was blown away. I did also opted for a short black [$3.50] as a closure to our meal. It had a fine crisp taste with a slightly bitter flavour . Whether it’s the traditional blend or going for something new, Axil Coffee Roasters can cater to your coffee needs.
Hit by coffee greatness, it was time to break my fast. The brunch and lunch menu at Axil Coffee Roasters is limiting, but you can’t judge your opponent by its looks. Brunch was on my mind and I took a jab at the Savoury French toast w/ spinach, sautéed wild mushrooms and truffled pecorino cheese [$16]. I was expecting a small-portioned plate with an odd taste. My expectation was certainly countered with a big right hook as my two pieces of bread were soaked in a delectable creamy egg mixture and topped with a generous amount of mushrooms. The sautéed wild mushroom perfectly suited the dish as they didn’t overpower the other flavours. They were soft with a hint of balsamic vinegar and was well complemented with strong-aged cheese. It was refreshing, filling and yet innovative when compared to the typical French toast.
Axil Coffee Roasters has made a big impact in positioning itself in the Melbourne cafe scene. I wouldn’t just come here for coffee but also the food. I must confess that upon writing this review we had already been to Axil Coffee Roasters three times in the past two months. This is saying something for a duo that doesn’t live that close to this coffee-house.”
“An old work mate of mine lived around the corner of a rather new (and by new I mean less than one year old) cafe that had made its name around the blogging circuits – Axil Coffee Roasters. Known for serving an excellent brew, we’d decided that it was about time that we checked it out for ourselves.
David Makin and partner in crime Zoe Delany are two barista’s with a coffee passion and their history certainly reveals this fact. They’d entered a number of competitions (including the World Barista Coffee Championships) and even won a few. Makin has been 5 years running AASCA (AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association) barista champion, most recently taking out the title in 2011. Delany has not been far behind, coming runner-up in last years competition. So what would a cafe look like, designed by StStyle and run by two of the best competing baristas around? Quirky, yet classy.
As we walked into Axil Coffee Roasters, the length of the room was almost forgettable as the wire fencing decked with pot plants created focus on the split of the room. The raised section was perched against black walls with a giant bowling-alley-turned-table hiding modestly in the back of the cafe. The lower section is made for couples or singles only, with bench space cleverly used to maximise seating opportunities.
Running into some friends as we entered, we decided to group-dine and all made our orders quite quickly. Picking out the House smoked trout and scrambled egg wrap w/avocado salsa and snow pea tendrils [$18], my eyes were drawn to something on the coffee end of the menu – an Affogato [$5]. What was that?
“A shot of Espresso with vanilla ice cream,” explained the waitress. I was sold. It was exactly the kind of beverage I was after – laced with strong coffee but contained a certain level of creaminess and coolness to detract from the hot day. It came out and I was excited – the colour was luscious and thick, the aroma magnificent and the ice-cream delectable. This was going to be an experience.
The coffee was sweet and powerful – the flavour of nectar mixed with the ice cream was like an explosion in my mouth. It was too sweet for me to drink it all in one shot – there was definitely some savoring of the flavours involved.
Our meals had arrived and they were well plated. My fluffy scrambled eggs were hidden underneath the wrap and salad, so I did what any self-righteous bruncher would do and – with a squeeze of lemon – commenced my tasting. The avocado was really fresh and lifted by the zesty lemon, a guaranteed winning combination in my books. The tomatoes were delicious and burst with flavour.
Cutting into the wrap revealed fluffy, perfectly made scrambled eggs. The trout seemed to get lost amongst the various elements of the dish, but overall was delicious.
Our friends had ordered the Spicy baked eggs w/ goats cheese feta, dukkah, and pepperonata sauce with a side of toast [$16.50], which they insisted was the most delicious vegetarian item on the menu.
I was perfectly satisfied with the volume of food consumed, but greed had gotten the better of me as I twisted Mr LBs arm to indulge in a Strawberry + Pistachio Tart [$5]. It was magnificent in every way possible. The short crust was savory and crisp without being burnt. The custard filling was refrigerator-cold and the strawberries were glossy and just as juicy as they looked. The pistachios were an amazing combination, crumbled on top to create a unique edge to this dessert.
Axil Coffee Roasters are absolutely worth the hype. The food could perhaps be pushed to the next level, but they’re already there with their coffee. Perhaps it was just because I’d tried the Affogato instead of my usual order, but it was definitely the highlight of my meal.”
Final thought: “Amazing affogato – creamy , strong and smooth with ice cream”