SIP Cafe

 

SIP (Simple Innovative Personal) Cafe is located on a street corner, away from the hustle and bustle of High Street. Being directly over the road from Belmont Primary School might mean some difficulty parking at drop off time but otherwise it appears to be pretty accessible. There is a main shop with pretty much one communal table with an adjacent room containing smaller tables for smaller groups.

My coffee was presented in a branded cappuccino cup – yes, Genovese do make the tulip cups so I’m not sure why some of their cafes don’t buy a dozen of those as well – which usually means no crema and poor flavour. The thing that first struck me was the thickness of the crema on a cappuccino cup – no mean feat.

The flavour was really good as well, at least to start with. Towards the end of the cup – because of the additional volume and the fact that there is a larger surface exposed to both the cup and the air – the coffee was lukewarm at best. For the milk coffee drinkers out there, the insulating properties of the milk would keep the coffee hotter for longer so it shouldn’t be an issue for you.

I reckon that many people who think about coffee in Belmont would only think only of High Street. Of the five coffees that I have now had in Belmont, this would certainly be my favourite and is well worth finding.

 

Address: 56A Mt Pleasant Road
Suburb: Belmont 3216
Web Site: www.facebook.com/SIP-Cafe-407601885941857/
Telephone: 03 5245 8483
Open: Six days per week (closed Tuesday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Genovese
Headline: A really good suburban coffee shop. If they had served the coffee in the correct cup size, they might have even scored an additional half-star! The best I’ve found in Belmont.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Feed My Mojo

 

Feed My Mojo is located in the Belmont Village Shopping Centre at the bottom of the High Street hill. It is one of a couple of cafes in the complex.

The cafe seems to have a good range of food as well as coffee and tea. I ordered my long black as usual and was surprised that, given the number of people in the cafe was small, the coffee took as long as it did to arrive. But, arrive it did and, unfortunately, it was delivered in a cappuccino cup – the good news being that the only other sort of cup I saw on the counter was a mug … and you know how thrilled I would have been to see the coffee arrive in one of those. There was evidence of a cream but as has been described on several occasions before, when it is spread across a surface that is probably twice the area of a tulip cup, the crema is always going to be spread too thin.

The flavour wasn’t BAD but it certainly wasn’t one of my favourites. In fact, this is the fourth cafe I have visited in Belmont and before this the review scores have been 2.5, 3 and 3 and so, today is probably the best I’ve had in Belmont, despite only scoring a 3.5.

Feed My Mojo is probably going to be OK if you are looking for a snack and a coffee after navigating Kmart – I wouldn’t make a special trip to Belmont just for coffee.

 

Address: Shop 9, Belmont Shopping Village, High Street
Suburb: Belmont 3216
Web Site: www.facebook.com/feedmymojo1
Telephone: 5298 3148
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.90
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: OK, without being fantastic. Belmont letting the side down with 4 coffees tested and only averaging 3 stars. Time to lift the game, Belmont.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Zen Cafe Bakery

 

Zen Cafe Bakery is located right in the heart of the Belmont Shopping Centre and is obviously favourite spot for the locals to eat lunch and grab a coffee. The cafe specialises in pies, cakes and other baked goodies and so, it would appear, coffee comes a distant second behind the food.

Zen Cafe BakeryI know that it sounds a bit “coffee snobbish” to talk about the whole coffee experience (at least I don’t talk about the flavours of citrus fruit and jasmine!!) but I like my coffee experience to include a positive interaction with a least three of my senses, if not more – it needs to look good, smell great and taste magnificent to be a really positive experience for me. To me, the easiest to get right is the look of the coffee – the smell and taste of the coffee are the things that baristas constantly try to perfect. But have a look at the photo on the right – the crema is not the right colour (very light in colour and in parts almost transparent), the saucer is chipped and there is coffee spilt down the side of the cup. What is not obvious from the photo is that the spoon didn’t look all that clean either. As a “black coffee, no sugar” kind of person, I didn’t need to use the spoon – had I needed to, I would have asked for another.

So, with the whole law of “first impressions count” running through my head, I was already on the back foot before I checked out the aroma and taste of the coffee. Both were OK but nothing to get excited about, to be honest.

Without wanting to be drowned out by cries of “coffee snob” or worse, I suspect that if you are OK with an almost transparent crema, a chipped saucer, spills down the side of the cup and a dirty teaspoon, you’re probably going to be OK with the flavour of the coffee as well. Unfortunately for the good folks at Zen Cafe Bakery, I’m not that sort of person.

Our next review will be, believe it not, review number 50! As part of getting to that milestone, we are going to look at some key stats in a separate post. Make sure that you look out for that special report.

 

Address: 153 High Street
Suburb: Belmont 3216
Web Site: Not available
Telephone: 5244 1488
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $3.40
Coffee Suppliers: Gravity
Headline: Coffee OK but presentation disappointing. Plenty of nice things to eat though.
Coffee Rating: lessthanthree

The Coffee Kitchen

 

The Coffee Kitchen in Belmont is one of three cafes within about ten doors of each other, right in the heart of Belmont’s High Street. It is a small, comfortable environment and looks as though it could seat around 30 customers at a time. If anything, the ambient lighting in the cafe was a little low although, to be fair, it was pretty cold and grey outside, affecting the amount of light coming in through the front window.

First impressions of the coffee were really good, being served in a tulip cup (hooray – at last!!), with a crema that covered the entire surface of the coffee. Unfortunately, the coffee’s taste was not quite as good as it looked – a little over-brewed and bitter for my liking. I guess I would call it mid range and probably perfectly fine if you are a drinker of the various forms of milk coffee.

Just one last thing as a note to the proprietors – breakfast radio is very much a personal thing. For me, listening to loud, obnoxious radio announcers, reading out jokes that have been written for them by a sea of supposedly funny comedy writers, is not my thing at the best of times, but even less so first thing in the morning. I understand that your employees want some music going in the background to keep them entertained but force-feeding their choice of program – particularly one that is not supporting the local area – onto everyone in the cafe makes it unwelcoming. I found the entertainment unfunny and in a couple of instances, embarrassing and in poor taste.

The coffee was probably 3.5 stars and would have been 50/50 as to whether I had a second coffee. The choice of radio entertainment cost The Coffee Kitchen half a star, and by extension, the purchase of a second cup of coffee

 

Recommended by: Rachael
Address: 159B High Street
Suburb: Belmont 3216
Web Site: Unknown
Telephone: 5244 1166
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Piazza D’Oro
Headline: Small, comfortable cafe in the main street shops. Coffee good without being spectacular. Radio too loud.
Coffee Rating: Three stars

Lavish Specialty Coffee

 

Lavish Specialty Coffee is one of those places where I suspect it is really difficult to get a simple long black coffee. When I approached the counter (which doesn’t take long – it’s a very small retail space), I was greeted by a very energetic, very enthusiastic person, ready to take my order. I asked for my usual long black and was then asked whether I wanted single origin or house blend. When I paused to consider, I was then given a run down of the relative merits of each and the fact that one has a hint of this fruit and that flavour, etc, etc – as you know that I think that the whole “tastes like” stuff is bollocks. And included in that run down was the fact that both options make “bewdiful” coffee.

I selected the house blend and was then asked whether I wanted water or milk “on the side” – an Americanism that has crept into the Australian cafe and restaurant vocabulary in recent years. When I explained that I wanted neither – I just wanted a long black coffee – the stare of disbelief was noticeable. Almost as noticeable as my stare of disbelief when my coffee was served with water “on the side”.

So, the coffee arrived and it was fine – nothing out of the ordinary but certainly satisfactory. The coffee was served on a small timber board, with details of the coffee blend stuck to on a laminated card, attached by Velcro. In the end, I only had a single cup for two reasons – the coffee was nothing special and the music being played in the cafe was simply too loud for the space. On many occasions, people simply want to sit in a quiet location with a coffee and read the paper without this high energy waiting staff and loud music

In the end, I came to the conclusion – rightly or wrongly – that the staff were simply trying too hard. Not trying too hard to make me comfortable – more trying too hard to look funky, to look “coffee-sophisticated”, to look like they were having just too much of a good time with me. The result was that I felt like they were trying to prove something to me rather than trying to make me feel welcome.

And just as a footnote, I visited their Facebook page to check out some details for the table below and found a range of reviews from 1 star to 5 star. In amongst the reviews and responses that are listed, there is a request from the general manager that “if u (sic) would like to report further feed back no negatives on social media please”. The review writer had indicated their concern about the attitude of the staff and the way her coffee was presented – a fair review, if that was what the customer felt. I find it quite bizarre to request only positive feedback on the Facebook page – surely, people have the right to express their thoughts as long as it is not demeaning or rude?

I won’t be going back to Lavish Specialty Coffee in a hurry – I am looking for somewhere where their coffee and their atmosphere makes me feel welcome not like I should be amazed by some performance.

 

Address: 161A High Street
Suburb: Belmont 3216
Web Site: www.facebook.com/lavishcoffee
Telephone: 5241 3337
Open: Six days per week
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Axil Coffee Roasters
Headline: Small cafe with limited seating. Coffee good without being spectacular. Prefer they didn’t try so hard.
Coffee Rating: Three stars