Soul Fuel Cafe

 

The preview information on SoulFuel Cafe’s Google listing says “The best coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and wood-fired pizzas in Torquay”. I’m sorry to say that, based on my visit today, their coffee sits well behind my previous two coffee reviews in Torquay.

I know that the coffee was made by a barista because I could hear the machine behind me but seriously, if someone had brought the coffee to me and told me that it was Caterer’s Blend instant coffee, I would not have been surprised. The coffee was grainy and had that bitter taste that I associate with the cheapest of instant coffee – the stuff the make you drink at training courses and parent-teacher nights.

The coffee was served in the wrong cup and the crema was virtually non-existent. The favour was bad and, to top it off, the time I had to wait to (a) place my order and (b) to receive my coffee was unacceptable, given that the cafe was only about one third full.

With the bold claim that it is the best coffee in Torquay, it sounds like I should give them the benefit of the doubt and do a revisit at some stage in the future.

Sorry, Torquay – your average rating has just fallen from 4.5 stars to 3.33 stars, just like that.

 

Address: 57 Surf Coast Highway
Suburb: Torquay 3228
Web Site: www.soulfueltorquay.com.au
Telephone: 03 5261 4999
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Bertoncello
Headline: The first time that I can remember tasting real coffee that actually tasted like instant coffee. Served in the incorrect cup and virtually no crema.
Coffee Rating: lessthanthree

Sticks and Stones Cafe

 

When arranging to meet someone for coffee this morning, she said “Sticks and Stones – it’s at the Surf Coast Plaza complex”. I’m glad she said gave me both pieces of information because driving along the Surf Coast Highway, gateway to the Great Ocean Road and a whole stack of great beaches, you don’t have a lot of time to cruse along looking for a cafe that could best be described as difficult to see from the road. The complex exists to show case all of the major surf brands and is supported by a well-known fast-food chain and several smaller cafes. Sticks and Stones is arguably the hardest to see from the road so I would suggest that you look for the RipCurl and Billabong shops and park near them. Once you are off the road, you’ll find Sticks and Stones Cafe next to the Oakley shop.

So, once you find the cafe, the first thing you notice as you enter is collection of stickers on the door. But not just any stickers – these are acknowledgement of their nominations and successes in Regional Victoria’s Golden Plate Awards. Once you get inside, the decor is pretty unique – a kind of juxtaposition of some beach, some kitsch, some homely – it is really difficult to describe.

I decided on some breakfast as well as my coffee and was pleased to see my coffee arriving before my poached eggs – for some reason, some cafes choose to bring them out at the same time. This gave me the chance to taste the coffee before eating anything and I have to say I was mightily impressed. Firstly, you’ll be surprised to know, the cup was a tulip (good start), the crema was intact (very good) and the temperature was spot-on (bingo). The taste was strong without being overwhelming and all in all, it was a very enjoyable cup of coffee.

I found out after chatting to my breakfast buddy that Sticks and Stones runs Coffee Appreciation Events on a reasonably regular basis. It is my experience that places that run these sorts events have more often than not served disappointing coffee in their cafe, so I’ve never bothered in the past. In this case, Sticks and Stones Cafe’s product suggested that know a thing or two about coffee, so I might just get along to one

That’s two from two in Torquay – one on the beach and one of the highway. Not sure whether I should go back and find number three or stop while I’m ahead. Until I decide, keep this one to yourself – we don’t want everyone to know.

 

Address: Shop 20, 61 Surf Coast Highway
Suburb: Torquay 3228
Web Site: www.sticksandstonescafe.com.au
Telephone: 5264 7722
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Hidden away from the main road. Plenty of awards – good sign! One to keep to yourself – we don’t want everyone knowing.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars

Whytes On The Esplanade

 

Whyte’s On The Esplanade is located directly across the road from the beach in Torquay and just around from the main shopping centre. Make no mistake, this is not your average coffee shop – it is a fully-fledged restaurant and wine bar, that just happens to also serve very good coffee. It seems to be very new – I certainly haven’t seen it on previous visits to Torquay.

It has something of a colonial feel to it with white wicker chairs and cushioned benches with all other furniture and fittings being white as well. It’s the sort of place that one could imagine folk in pith helmets drinking gin and tonics on a warm afternoon. In total, it can probably seat around 60 patrons inside with a further 20 or so outside.

Despite the temptation of their big breakfast, I resisted and ordered my standard long black coffee. For those of you who have already read my previous few posts, I am a stickler for coffee being served in an appropriate sized cup and I am happy to report that Whyte’s On The Esplanade have been listening! The coffee had a great crema and was just at the right temperature. And the taste was pretty impressive as well!

At this stage, I think I am calling the Whyte’s On The Esplanade coffee the best I’ve found so far. Great coffee, beautiful views, clean, fresh environment.

Just one thing, though – given the low temperatures outside, there was probably no need to have the Singapore-style fans moving the air around quite as vigorously as they were. I was up for a second coffee but was finding the environment to be too cold. It might be a really good feature at the height of summer but 18 days out from winter – probably not a great idea

 

Address: 40 The Esplanade
Suburb: Torquay 3228
Web Site: www.whytesontheesplanade.com.au
Telephone: 03 5261 5060
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Kazbah Coffee Roasters
Headline: Cool (very cool today). Colonial. Classy. Looks like a great place to drink wine on a warm evening, too.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars