The Backyard

 

The Backyard is a relatively new cafe in the heart of the Geelong CBD – it appears to have only been there for a couple of months. The cafe has a very clean, very new feel to it – in some places, that sort of decor could be a bit “soulless” but from what I saw during my visit, that doesn’t seem to be an issue for The Backyard Cafe.

One puzzling thing I do need to address is the name of the cafe – I’m not sure why it is called The Backyard when there doesn’t appear to be a back yard. Maybe there is but if so, it wasn’t immediately obvious to me.

The coffee order was taken and delivered in quick time, which is always a bonus – there is nothing worse than placing a coffee order and then sitting and waiting for 20 minutes for it to arrive. The coffee was presented in the wrong cup – a cappuccino cup – which brought with an expectation that the coffee would be less than outstanding.

As it happens, the coffee tasted really good. Yes, there was too much of it (as occurs when a cappuccino cup is used for a long black) and it did get cool a little quicker than I would have liked but it tasted really good. In fact, I suspect that with the right cup, we might have another 4.5 stars on our hands.

If anyone goes into The Backyard and sees that they have tulip cups, please let me know via the Contact page. I’d be keen to discover how their coffee would taste in the correct cup.

 

Address: 188 Ryrie Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.thebackyardcafe.com.au
Telephone: 0406 697 407
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Code Black
Headline: A relatively new cafe right in the heart of Geelong’s CBD that ticks a lot of the boxes..
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Wintergarden Cafe

 

Wintergarden Cafe is located in a building rich with history on McKillop Street, on the south end of the CBD area. The building was built in the early 1850’s as a Congregational Church before the Victoria Government bought it to use as a drill hall for what was then known as the the Geelong Corps of The Royal Victorian Volunteer Artillery Regiment. Since then it has been a brewery, a soft drink factory, a vinegar factory, a dry cleaning business and since the renovation in the late 1980’s, the Geelong Wintergarden. The main area of the building houses the Wintergarden Cafe with a number of small retail outlets around the building.

We made the mistake of arriving for coffee about five minutes after about twenty senior cyclists – unlike my last encounter with cyclists en masse (ironically at Winters cafe – must be something to do with winter!), they were at least well-behaved and unobtrusive. This meant that our coffee order was always going to take a while to arrive. Fair play, though, there was an apology offered for something that they had no control over.

Wintergarden Cafe uses the Julius Meinl brand which is distinctive on two counts – firstly, the unusually shaped cups that they provide to their cafes and secondly, the very dark, intense coffee that seems to be made from their blend. Whilst I am very relaxed about an intense coffee flavour, I can understand why others would be less enthusiastic.

The unusual cup that I spoke of is “kind of” tulip shaped but quite a bit larger, with a broad opening at the top. This does impact on the crema and the speed at which the temperature of the coffee drops. That said, the crema on this coffee was complete, albeit thinner than I would say it should be in the correct cup.

All in all, I’d say that Wintergarden Cafe is certainly somewhere for you to visit – it is a building rich in Geelong’s history and a coffee that is at least better than average.

 

Address: 51 McKillop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.wintergardencafe.com.au
Telephone: 03 5221 3744
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.70
Coffee Suppliers: Julius Meinl
Headline: A building rich in history and a coffee rich in flavour. Well worth a visit on both counts.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Eddy and Wills – Revisit

 

When I visited Eddy and Wills last time, I reported that the coffee and the venue were really good. I also told you about two things that had cost the cafe half a star – firstly, the apparent insistence that if you order a long black coffee, you must also receive a jug of milk on the side and secondly, and more seriously, the cup was not totally clean. The coffee stains on the cup were well away from where I was going to place my mouth but it just left me a little concerned about the “care factor”.

Fast forward to a recent email from the proprietor who thanked me for me review (a pleasure, Matt!) and for pointing out a couple of issues that disappointed him.

In the case of the milk, they had adjusted their point of sale system to default to adding milk to a long black order and may not have trained the staff properly to adjust that accordingly. In the case of the dirty cup, he was horrified, given that they “pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our shop, cups, kitchen, toilets (everything else) so this is really disappointing to us.”

To his credit, Matt and his partner have held a staff meeting and training sessions in response to my concerns and have brought both issues to the attention of their team. It’s great to know that rather than get defensive when criticism is provided in a forum like this, that they read, take action and respond.

I am happy to report that a shiny clean cup was brought to my table without a side order of milk. The coffee tasted as good as last time so I have no hesitation in granting Matt and the team a four and a half star!

 

Link to previous review: Eddy and Wills – November 2015
Address: 130 Church Street
Suburb: Hamlyn Heights 3215
Web Site: www.eddyandwills.com.au
Telephone: 03 5298 2353
Open: Six days per week (closed Monday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Code Black
Headline: Last time, I thought that the coffee was very, very good and the only reason that I didn’t grant the coveted four and a half stars was a dirty cup. This time, the coffee was equally good AND everything was just right.
Original Coffee Rating: Four stars
Revisit Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars