Coffee: Dukes house blend, Single Origin, Siphon Coffee
“There are cafes in Melbourne that try too hard to make themselves seem like they’re the best because of location or innovative decor, paying little attention to food and coffee. Such cafes deserve a big metaphorical food slap. Chapel Street is one location where such cafes exist. Enter Dukes Coffee Roasters. Whilst located on the Windsor side of Chapel Street, is very deserving of its location. As the name suggests, they roast their own beans which are complemented with an impressive brunch menu.
From the outside it doesn’t seem to be much, with subtle signage and black exterior which could be easily mistaken for ‘just another cafe’. Inside, the decor and architecture is impressive and uses the minimal natural light to its advantage. The tables are cleverly allocated to ensure brunch goers have enough light to see what they are eating, with an overall impression of an inviting, cosy cafe.
It was coffee time, and I had ordered a long black with the Dukes Espresso Blend. When the coffee arrived I was quite impressed. It had a light tan colour with swirls, which is visually striking. The coffee had a distinctively sweet taste which was initially prominent and pleasantly faded on the palate. There was a nectar aftertaste which was addictive to drink.
I always like to start the working week with a good breakfast and with this in mind I selected the Zucchini and feta baked omelette, chorizitos, tomato and fresh herb salad [$18]. The plating of the dish was inspiring and unexpected. The omelette was cooked perfectly round and layered atop a piece of circular-cut sourdough. The chorizitos were stacked on top, with a herb salad making this dish look like a mountain. Olive oil with dots of balsamic vinegar circled the plate, adding an impressive finishing touch. The egg had been infused with the feta – which, by itself gives a dry taste. The herb salad married perfectly with the feta, giving an explosion of freshness that counter balanced the dryness of the omelette. Surprisingly, the salad was made up of a large portion of dill, a personally new-found herb which I have definitely been adding to my own cooking. Dill works well with eggs in general, but having it with the feta-infused egg was mind-blowing.
Dukes Coffee Roasters also offer a number of biscuits which seemed appropriate for Miss SL & I to indulge in brunch-dessert. I had selected Garibaldi [$2.80], which is a rectangular biscuit with a fruity filling inside. Upon biting into this biscuit, the top was slightly hard with a soft taste. There was no overbearing sweetness or the feeling that it was too much. It was very fitting end to a superb meal.
Dukes Coffee Roasters is an innovative cafe and well deserving of its Chapel Street location. It provides a unique experience and their egg skills are second to none. It’s definatly worth visiting again and again and can be easily seen as a new regular favourite.”
“Every time Mr LB mentioned Dukes Coffee Roasters in Windsor, I kept thinking of that Melbourne based Berlin band ‘The Dukes of Windsor’ (understandably). While the boys may claim to be so, it’s rather hard for a cafe to claim that it’s of high nobility – taste speaks louder than words.
Albeit it was a Monday morning, but Mr LB and I arrived to a rather empty cafe with a few people scattered here and there having a coffee or a simple breakfast. I like to think that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I decided to eat for sustenance, ordering the Avocado hummus toast, poached eggs, honey candied bacon, dukkah [$18] and a house blend soy latte. When my latte arrived, it was clear that there was very little effort made on presentation. But really. Who cares on presentation when Dukes coffee blend was so damn good? The difference in taste to other blends was immediate. When combined with the milk, the flavour was magnificent, and nowhere near as sweet and overbearing as it was in long black form. There was no bitter aftertaste and the fruity hints of nectar were toned down, but not lost.
When my dish came out I was impressed. Maybe it was because it’d been a long time since I’d gone anywhere that provided weekend quality plating on a weekday, or maybe it was because when Mr LBs breakfast came out I wanted to swap immediately just from food envy – but regardless, it’s obvious that care was taken every day of the week to provide a great looking meal.
I started with nibbling the honeyed bacon on the side of my plate – chewy, soft and sweet. So lovely you’d forget what you’re eating. Next was the toast with hummus avocado. Bacon bits were spread in between, but I have to be honest; the hummus component of the dish didn’t do anything for me. It seemed to mute the flavours of the fresh avocado, which I think was a real pity. Next was the egg. I have to say that these eggs battle the best of them – Auction Rooms, Cumulus Inc, The European… these eggs were as good as any. Perfectly white, no hint of vinegar, trimmed and shaped to perfection, these little babies oozed out with yolk after careful perforation with my knife.
I had a taste of Mr LBs dish, and I have to say it was rather nice. The feta was a bit overpowering, and I’m a little unsure about how much dill was used in the omelette, but when combined with the other ingredients on the plate, it was tasty.
We decided on a to-go breakfast-dessert and I chose the Amaretti Espresso [$3.50], despite being intrigued by various other options such as the Pistachio and Cherry Amaretti and the Pomegranate Ameretti [all $3.50].
The first bite I took was a little dry, but as I continued my way through, the biscuit revealed the tasty chewiness which I love about Italian-style biscuits. Little bits of espresso beans, crushed, could be tasted within the biscuit making it textually interesting to eat.
Dukes Coffee Roasters cafe had a lovely vibe to it which could only be enhanced if enjoyed on the weekend. Food was great, service was lovely and the eggs were worth the trip.”
Final thought: “Egg craftmanship that rival the best”