Secret Society

 

Secret Society has only been open a few days and, I must report, the teething problems were pretty evident when I visited earlier today. Formerly operating further up Pakington Street as Fabretto Brothers, the major difference between the two stores is the inclusion of a kitchen. The seating capacity has also been increased – probably doubled in size.

I wouldn’t have laid the store out like they have – the counter is on the right as you walk in the door (that’s OK) but then there is the kitchen and servers along the side wall, taking about maybe 40% of the shop’s width. That means that it’s pretty cramped at the front of the store and then a big open area at the back with only two tables in it – one communal and one more intimate.

The cafe was pretty full and so I had to sit directly opposite the servers which meant that every time the chef plated a breakfast, he would ring a bell that could have been heard in Grovedale. I’m not sure why the bell was necessary – it was really obvious when there was food ready to be distributed.

The young lady who served me took far too long – in the end, one of her colleagues standing nearby apologised twice that I was being ignored (why couldn’t she take the order – I’ll give the benefit of the doubt, given that everything is new. Maybe she hadn’t been trained). When my order was taken, I gave a $5 note for my $4 coffee and stood and waited and waited while she went off and instructed someone else on some task or another. From making it to the counter until I received my change would have been a good five minutes. Not good enough.

Having waited about ten minutes for my coffee (which seemed to translate to about fifteen rings of that bell), it arrived with a big black coffee drip down the side of the cup.

The coffee was satisfactory rather than great. There are probably ten or fifteen other cafes within 50 metres of Secret Society and therefore, their coffee and customer service are going to have to improve if they are going to make a go of their new location.

 

Address: 194 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.facebook.com/fabrettobrothersspecialtycoffeeroasters
Telephone: 0417 355 110
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Fabretto Brothers
Headline: Disappointing customer service. Unusual shop layout. Very loud bell. Satisfactory coffee. Not enough to have me rushing back.
Coffee Rating: Three stars

Cafe Bocca

 

Cafe Bocca is one of those cafes that’s really hard to explain. It certainly wouldn’t market itself as a sophisticated coffee experience. It would never call itself “a little piece of Melbourne here in Geelong” (and that’s a very good thing). Even the food offerings are less than what you would describe as gourmet … BUT, Cafe Bocca is a really nice place to go for coffee.

In a previous life, I spent a lot of time travelling around regional Australia and every town and city has at least one Cafe Bocca – a place where you can get a nice sandwich and cake, with a nice cup of tea of coffee for a reasonable price. Located over the road from the hospital, I suspect that many outpatients and hospital visitors prefer this place to other locations around it’s immediate vicinity.

To be honest, the coffee was satisfactory more than anything else – wrong cup size, virtually no crema but tasted OK, notwithstanding. That said, I’d certainly head back to Cafe Bocca for other aspects of the experience.

 

Address: 281 Ryrie Street Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.facebook.com/Café-Bocca-228065730629103/
Telephone: 03 5222 4930
Open: Five days per week – closed weekends
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Santa Rosa
Headline: Not the best coffee I’ve tasted but just a really comfortable place for lunch. Ideal spot for a bite to eat if you are visiting someone at the hospital.
Coffee Rating: Three stars

Telegraph Hotel

 

If you want to buy a book, don’t visit a butcher’s shop. If you want to buy a roast chicken, don’t visit a shoe shop. And so it goes … if you want to buy a great coffee, don’t visit a pub!

I was fortunate enough to eat a meal at Geelong West’s Telegraph Hotel yesterday and after polishing off an excellent main course, decided to finish with a long black coffee. I’m sure that the management won’t be too disappointed to hear that I have only given their coffee a three star rating.

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who has specifically visited a pub for their coffee and so it is at the Tele. Certainly acceptable as the final act in an otherwise excellent meal in great surroundings – just don’t expect the coffee to be the signature item on the menu!

 

Address: 2 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.thetelegraphhotel.com.au
Telephone: 5222 2471
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: It’s a pub not a coffee shop. The crisp ale that was consumed before the meal seems to be speciality of the house more so than their coffee!
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

The Groove Train – Geelong

 

The Groove Train is a franchised family restaurant chain with over 20 outlets along the eastern seaboard of Australia. As is often the case with establishments like this, the decor is not terribly intimate and, in the case of The Groove Train, dominated by the colour orange.

The food menu covers a range of options, including pizza, pasta, woks, curries, steak and the like. As is typical with restaurants, particularly those working to a franchise model, the coffee is something of an after-thought, which was evident in this case, too.

The coffee was served in a cappuccino cup – and only after being asked whether I wanted my long black in a “normal” cup or a mug. The crema didn’t cover the top (see Instagram photo) and the flavour was … well … average.

I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised given the mix of cup, crema, franchise, etc – but it doesn’t stop me feeling a little disappointed, especially at $4.00 per cup.

 

Address: Shop MM1, Yarra Street Entrance
Westfield
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.groovetrain.com.au
Telephone: 03 5229 0229
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Beware the franchise restaurant coffee, particularly when you are asked whether you want the long black in a mug. Average flavour – OK with a family meal, I guess.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Courthouse Cafe

 

The Courthouse Cafe, as the name suggests is located in the old court house building in Gheringhap Street, in the civic and cultural precinct. The interior of the cafe has been renovated to provide a reasonably contemporary feel with seating for around 40 to 50 people, with additional seating on the terrace outside.

As you will see by checking out today’s photo on our Instagram page, the cup, whilst not being a proper tulip cup, certainly met the dimensions better than the cappuccino cup that so many cafes provide in the area. The other thing that you’ll notice is the obvious dribble down the side of the cup, which in fairness has to cost the Courthouse Cafe half a star.

The coffee itself displayed a reasonable crema and I would describe the flavour as being good without being outstanding. It’s the kind of place where you could have a business meeting (as long as you are sitting some distance from what I would suggest is one the noisiest coffee grinders I have ever heard), and the coffee would be fine. It’s not the place I would recommend for a great coffee experience.

 

Address: Cnr Little Malop & Gheringhap Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.courthousecafe.com.au
Telephone: 03 5224 1588
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Byron Bay Coffee Company
Headline: Coffee good without being outstanding. Attention to detail could have earned an additional half a star.
Coffee Rating: Three stars