Mon – Fri: 6am – 5pm
Sat – Sun 7am – 5pm
Coffee: Merlo Coffee
“It’s bigger on the inside!” [Exclaimed from multiple characters from Doctor Who, describing the magical blue box called the Tardis]
“Garage Espresso operates in what once was an old mechanics workshop and while not being the Tardis, don’t be fool by its deceptively small exterior. Since its inception in December 2012, I have always taken a liking to its street-facing facade; the outside benches allows for a quick coffee and the industrial floor to ceiling windows fills the interior with natural lighting. The ideal location for a relaxing Sunday Spring brunch.
The exposed red brick facade of Garage Espresso is undeniably beautiful and is emphasised with subtle cues of being a brunch destination. Entering up the stairs and settling into a window booth, it becomes immediately noticeable that the interior blossoms with natural sunlight. Modern touches of crisp white walls, polished concrete floors, wooden lattice roof beams and hanging indoor plants make up the interior features. A very calm and inviting environment with good acoustics ensures you don’t have to yell over the top of others.
Coffee is provided by Merlo Coffee which had soft flavour notes throughout the body of the coffee and a slight bitter after taste. It wasn’t bold enough to give a strong caffeinated hit, but the subtle soft flavours was enjoyable to accompany my Dukkah toast with cherry truss tomatoes, avocado, Danish feta & snow pea tendrils [$18.50].
The dish was plated nicely as it seamlessly incorporated all elements and was delicious. The cherry truss tomatoes was exceptionally fresh and burst with flavour. Complemented with the smash avocado and super creamy Danish feta allowed for a refreshing and clean taste. The snow pea tendrils were a nice addition, however I felt they were a little generous when compared with the other elements. Whilst being a healthy and flavorsome brunch dish, it didn’t excite nor satisfy my hunger.
JoJo decided to take the healthier option, Stonefruit salad with fresh berries, lavender yoghurt & fresh mint [$12.50]. While she had enjoyed the fresh flavours there wasn’t a wow factor for the price point.
Accompanying her fruit salad was an Apple pressed juice [$6.90] that was freshly pressed inhouse. After a little complication with the press machine, her Apple pressed juice arrived and was very refreshing for the spring weather.
Garage Espresso has nailed some elements (such as its decor and ambiance) but perhaps needs some improvement with other aspects. While not being in my view as a ‘must go’ brunch venue, it does allow itself to be a solid brunch location for a relaxed and no fuss experience. If you are fed up with queuing for brunch or the loud buzz of a larger cafe, Garage Espresso is a strong alternative.
“Travel. It’s a vicious bug. Once you get bitten, you’ll have the fever and you’ll have it bad. The fever will demand you travel near and far – local day trips to long haul adventures. I have been bitten by the bug and 2014 was all about my second Euro Trip. One thing that always concerns me when I travel is getting a Melbourne quality brunch and coffee. It was the weekend before my travels and Mr LB, JoJo and I decided on brunch at Gas Espresso in St Kilda in an effort to satisfy my appetite before my trip.
Finding a park looked like it could be a real mission in the lower end of Chapel St, but just my luck, I found a spot basically in front of the venue. The interior was casual with understated furnishings matched by lightly coloured wood. The staff were relaxed, offering us a menu and a drink. I immediately spotted the Liver detox – Beetroot, celery, apple, carrot, ginger & lemon [$7.90]. I was sold as it was a warm day outside and cold press juices are a bit of a thing for me right now. Pondering the menu, nothing really caught my eye except for the Sweet corn fritters with avocado mousse, feta, chicory salad & lemon vinaigrette [$18.50] add grilled chorizo [$5.50], which I subsequently ordered.
I knew that cold pressers were notoriously slow but as Mr LBs coffee came and went; it wasn’t until halfway through our meals that mine and JoJo’s juices came out! The cafe wasn’t particularly busy so I can only assume that my drink order was forgotten until a later point in time.
My corn fritters were unusual compared to anything I’d before; a normal fritter batch would use eggs, flour and maybe corn flour that is combined; however this dish used mostly eggs, resulting in an almost omelette-like fritter. The corn was lovely and juicy and was a natural pairing to the fritter. The chicory salad was an interesting addition that made the fritters a bit more Spring-like. It was basically like a coleslaw salad in texture and added a nice crunchy element to the dish. The chorizo was a delicious add-on with hints of spiciness and heat.
On my way out I got a Chocolate peanut cup [~$4] and it was delicious! It was actually filled with caramel and had a peanut butter and chocolate crumble base which was delicious. The perfect way to end the meal.
Overall Gas Espresso is a nice place to stop by for a coffee, a sweet treat and a chat with mates. There’s no wait, the food is nice and there’s no rush from the staff to vacate your seat. While it perhaps didn’t fully get my tastebuds revved up for my travels ahead, it was a calm and relaxed way to enter into the holiday mindset.”
Final thought: “Good for a lazy Sunday coffee”