Wharf Shed Cafe

 

If you ask many long-term residents of Geelong about the best restaurant in town, they’ll point you to Le Parisien on the western end of Eastern Beach. The Wharf Shed Cafe is the informal version of the same business, located downstairs, directly below the main restaurant. I had always wondered how the formality of Le Parisien would translate into the informal setting of The Wharf Shed Cafe and so today, I ventured in to find out.

I have to say that I was disappointed. The venue is in a great location but as I have found with other waterfront venues, the coffee served just doesn’t match the quality of the surroundings. Rather than there being too much wrong with the actual flavour of the coffee, this disappointment stems from the way that the coffee was presented. For starters, it was presented in a cappuccino cup (like about 50% of long blacks served to me over the journey) but as the cup came into view, I saw that some spillage had already occurred and, to top it off, more spillage happened as the cup was “placed” on my table. As a result, my cup was sitting in close to a teaspoonful of coffee, the sugar sachet was affected (not an issue for me as I don’t take sugar in my coffee – and anyway, who serves sugar in a sachet in a cafe?) and the spoon had coffee on it too. Of course, that meant that I had to be careful not to drip coffee down the front of my shirt when I took the first couple of mouthfuls.

Surely, the wait staff must have noticed that there had been spillage and therefore, should have made sure to clean up the cup and saucer while apologising. No mention of it – at all. For that, the cafe receives a one-star penalty on their rating.

The coffee had a poor crema but, after all of that, a reasonable flavour. Under other circumstances, it would have received a three and a half star rating. With the spill and ensuing lack of attention and apology, that brings it back to two and a half.

 

Address: 15 Eastern Beach Road
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.leparisien.com.au/wharfshed/index.html
Telephone: 03 5221 6645
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Coffex
Headline: Doesn’t presentation make a difference? In reality, the coffee wasn’t too bad but the presentation can only be described as clumsy, costing one star. At least a teaspoonful of coffee spilled in the saucer with no apology or offer to wipe up spill. Good location.
Coffee Rating: lessthanthree

George’s Fish & Chips

 

One of the great mysteries for me as a relatively new arrival in Geelong is why we have one the most beautiful waterfronts in Australia and yet, broadly speaking, the coffee that is on offer is, at best, satisfactory (with apologies to Sailors Rest which is better than satisfactory).

Today, I visited George’s Fish and Chips which is another cafe / eatery down on the waterfront – this time on the water side of the Esplanade / Eastern Beach Road. Located at the northern extreme of Yarra Street, this location provides a great view and with the large windows open, a lovely breeze off the bay.

I must say that I have had some difficulty writing the next bit – if something is outstanding, it’s easy to write. If something is really bad, that’s pretty easy write too. It’s when it is the coffee equivalent to beige that it becomes really hard. The coffee was served in the traditional cappuccino cup (negative) with a good crema (positive). Unfortunately, the flavour was really only slightly better than satisfactory and so, it seemed that a three and a half star rating was the most appropriate option.

And that’s pretty much all I can say about coffee at George’s. Certainly OK if you happened to be passing through and wanted somewhere nice to stop for a coffee. I’d be disappointed if a tourist saw what is a lovely venue and thought that all our coffee was like that.

 

Address: 1a Yarra Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.fishermenspier.com.au/?page_id=139
Telephone: 03 5222 4100
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Di Bella
Headline: Part of the adjacent Fishermen’s Pier business and formerly known as Sole Cafe, this semi-outdoor cafe is a great location but doesn’t really deliver in the coffee stakes. That said, it is significantly better than other coffee options along the waterfront.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

The Beach House at Eastern Beach

 

So, here we are – Victoria’s first (and hopefully, last) Grand Final Eve public holiday and the weather has turned on a beauty. Expected top temperature in Geelong is 27 degrees and even as I write this, there are literally hundreds of people in having their first swim of the season at Eastern Beach.

Given that some of you will be heading down here throughout the summer, I felt it was my duty to lead the charge and test out the coffee at The Beach House – a traditional “inside / outside” beach kiosk. Immediately adjacent to the children’s swimming pool and behind that the enclosed sea pool, it is, to coin a cliche, “picture postcard perfect”. You couldn’t help but enjoy your coffee down here on a day like today.

easternbeach

But the burning question – is the coffee up to my expected standards?

The good news is that, whilst not the very best coffee I have tasted during the now 70-cafe journey, it is more than satisfactory. In fact, it is really is good.

The obvious issue here is that when the weather is hot enough to head for the beach, coffee is often the last thing on your mind. My recommendation, then, is to get down here while the weather is “springtime beautiful” and enjoy a long black, whilst sitting out the front of this classic kiosk building.

You might even catch me here!

 

Address: Eastern Beach Reserve
Suburb: Eastern Beach 3220
Web Site: www.easternbeachhouse.com.au
Telephone: 5221 8332
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.90
Coffee Suppliers: Giancarlo
Headline: Heritage building reminds me of childhood days at the beach. Beautiful day to sit out the front and enjoy a really good cup of coffee!
Coffee Rating: Four stars