Grounds of Society

 

Grounds of Society is located in the same shop space as the former Awkward cafe. Only open since 14 February, the cafe is owned and operated by the same couple of previously ran the Elk Horn Cafe in Wallington.

The decor reminds me of visiting my grandparents and being able to sit in the “good room”. The crockery is the traditional, old-fashioned blue and white pattern (is it willow-pattern or something similar) and the vibe is “Sunday afternoon comfy” (that said, you can’t actually visit on Sunday because Grounds only opens during the week).

In terms of the coffee, I was a little disappointed in the texture. It certainly looked good and tasted good – I just found it a bit “grainy”. Even in the first couple of sips, I found that there was a grainy component to the texture which I don’t really like to taste. In reality, that that was the difference between getting a three and a half and a four star rating.

All in all, Grounds of Society is a good place to go and have coffee if you find yourself nearby. I’ll be interested in visiting again at some stage to see whether the graininess was a one-off or not.

 

Address: 45 Malop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.facebook.com/groundsofsociety/
Telephone: 03 5222 8900
Open: Five days per week (closed weekends)
Price: $3.70
Coffee Suppliers: Allpress
Headline: Brand new cafe in the CBD but has a “lived in” kind of feel already. Crockery reminds me of visiting my grandparents – in a good way. Worth a visit if you work nearby.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

The Village Door

 

Although not evident during my visit to The Village Door (I found out later from their website), this cafe is trying to be different in arguably the most cafe-focused part of the region – Pakington Street, Geelong West. Opening in mid-December 2016, and located in the shop that used to be Warren and Hutch, they offer a different European theme on each week day they are open – Polish Tuesday, Hungarian Wednesday, German Thursday and Belgian Friday – with the menu reflecting that country on the particular day of the week.

The main part of the cafe is set up with some smaller tables and one community table (becoming quite the trendy thing to do, it seems) with an additional open room at the back containing couches and coffee tables. This back area seems an ideal location if you want to drink coffee in a quieter zone and read the paper or catch up on some work.

The coffee that I was given could best be described as “good”. Nothing outstanding, nothing amazing. Just good coffee. The staff were friendly enough and brought my coffee within a reasonable amount of time.

As I have said elsewhere, in such a competitive environment, you have to either be really good or offer something different. The European themed days provide that point of difference and I hope it works for them.

 

Address: 156 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.thevillagedoor.com.au
Telephone: 03 5221 1571
Open: Five days per week (closed Sunday and Monday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: The Village Door is to be congratulated on trying to bring a new style of cafe to Pako Geelong West. Maybe one to try in a week or two when they have settled into their work a little better.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars
Stick-Around Factor: Four stars

For an explanation of “Stick-Around Factor”, click here or on the heading.

7 Seeds Cafe

 

This new cafe, self-described on their Facebook page as “new trendy cafe on pako geelong west, great atmosphere, gourmet breakfast and lunch with great coffee & we’re fully licensed too”, the cafe only started trading during the week before Christmas. I went to the cafe on two occasions, once just before Christmas by myself and then again more recently with a friend.

The first thing that concerned me on my first visit was, when my order was being placed, I was asked what size I wanted my coffee – I think I could have chosen from regular, large and jumbo (maybe not the correct names but certainly three options were provided). As I have said on SEVERAL occasions, you can probably get away with offering different sizes for milk-based coffees but, in my opinion, not for a long black. When I reiterated my order – a long black to have in the cafe, I had to point to the tulip cup to ensure that I received the correct size.

The first cup that came out was well-made and well-presented – good crema, good temperature and better than average flavour. The second cup that came out was a complete contrast – no crema, warm at best and tasted quite bitter. I understand that people were new and maybe mine had sat around for a while, maybe someone else had made the coffee. I found myself think a rating of four for the first and probably a two for the second cup.

On my second visit, my friend ordered a skinny piccolo. The coffee that was brought out was pretty much a milky latte – one that we suspect may have been made with full cream milk. When we discussed it with the waiter, he basically told us that she was wrong and that he would bring what she had subsequently described. He then proceeded to bring her a short macchiato and told her once again that she was wrong. Now, I have had coffee with this friend at about twenty different places and everywhere we have been, her piccolo order has generally looked exactly the same, with varying levels of milkiness and therefore, various levels of enjoyment for her. What she does know is the difference between a piccolo latte and a short macchiato. Having been told that she is wrong, she has declared that she won’t be going there again.

My two coffees on the second visit were once again inconsistent – this three weeks after the cafe opened. I would like to think that those inconsistencies would be ironed out soon to provide a more predictable coffee experience.

The other thing I felt – rightly or wrongly – was that they were keen to keep people moving and not to stick around for long. Maybe we were there at a busy time but we were asked to move twice to enable different table configurations to be created.

All in all, a great location in the heart of Pakington Street, Geelong West but with at least five or six other options within very easy walking distance – the consistency of the coffee and the interaction with customers who actually know what they want needs attention to enable good competition with the other locations around them.

 

Address: 208 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.facebook.com/pg/7-seeds-cafe-581357208722053
Telephone: 03 5229 2725
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Veneziano Coffee Roasters
Headline: Not to be confused with Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters and their cafes in Melbourne, this one appears to be a completely different company. Maybe unfair, given their recent opening, but disappointing on a few fronts.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars
Stick-Around Factor: Three stars

For an explanation of “Stick-Around Factor”, click here or on the heading.

Denny’s Kitchen

 

I had previously visited Denny’s Kitchen as part of a charity event earlier this year but on that occasion it was all about wine and not coffee – so today was my chance to sample a long black.

On the previous visit, they were a significant number of people in attendance – this morning, there were only a few which, along withe low level of lighting, gave it less atmosphere and, as a result, slightly less welcoming.

The coffee was served in the right cup (hooray) and displayed a reasonable crema – always a good start. And the flavour, whilst not being a standout against other coffee I have tasted in Geelong, was certainly very acceptable. No table service was offered – order at the counter and take a table number – which also meant that you had to get your own water and glasses if you wanted it.

All in all, the coffee was very good but from a coffee experience, it might have just lacked the spark that would demand a return visit ahead of others.

 

Address: 66 Brougham Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.dennyskitchen.com.au
Telephone: 03 5223 2536
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Located in an iconic Geelong building – the Geelong Wool Museum – the coffee is very good but first thing in the morning, it lacked a little atmosphere. A bit too big for the number of customers which presumably is not the case at other times of the day.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

La Due Sorelle

 

A chance opportunity to visit Bannockburn on a Sunday morning gave a me an opportunity to try another of the village’s cafes. This one, Le Due Sorelle is located towards the south-western end of town (the other end of town to the railway crossing).

When I arrived, mid-morning, the cafe was close to full with plenty of “happy noises” coming from the gathered folk – individuals, couples, families. I ordered breakfast and a long black and was disappointed to be asked whether I wanted that in a mug. There still seems to be this thought that “more is good”, which doesn’t apply when talking about great coffee. If I want more coffee, I will finish my first cup and then order a second one … but I digress.

When the coffee arrived, the crema was acceptable without being brilliant and after a minute or two had disappeared completely. For a consumer of black coffee, the crema is one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the whole experience – cafes really should pay more attention to producing that thick and intense golden surface.

The taste was more than acceptable – it was pretty good, in fact. I ended up ordering a second cup – more to do with the fact that a friend arrived just as I was completing my first cup. If she hadn’t have arrived, I probably wouldn’t have had a another. I guess that translates to coffee that is good enough to order a second cup, without feeling that I was missing out if i didn’t.

 

Address: 2/38 High Street
Suburb: Bannockburn
Web Site: www.sorellecafe.com.au
Telephone: 03 5281 2023
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Espresso di Manfredi
Headline: A nice family environment where the coffee and food are both good. A great place for Bannockburnians to have a leisurely breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars