Wednesday 3 February 2010

Single origin coffee and tasty toasties in Cremorne

Espresso 3121
Rear 96 Balmain St, Richmond (map)
(aka just down the lane from cnr Balmain St & Walnut St, Cremorne)
9025 7620
Open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm
Closed weekends :(

Espresso 3121

I've whinged about it before, but one of the few downsides of living in Cremorne is that many of the great little cafes dotting the light industrial suburb are only open from Monday to Friday, which means that Monday to Friday city workers like me never get to visit them.

I wrote about one such cafe, Volley, about 18 months ago (back in those dark days when my beloved local, the nearby Cherry Tree, was closed on Sundays and didn't stock Coldstream Cider). At the time I thought Volley was nice but not particularly memorable. One name change, menu revamp and substantial renovation later, this cafe is looking a whole lot more interesting.

Espresso 3121Espresso 3121

Volley is now called Espresso 3121 (a name my housemate dislikes but I like). I love the redesign of the counter and seating area, with the front section raised a few steps to make the most of the east facing window and the morning sun. The venue can also be hired for private functions.

Espresso 3121

The shiny concrete floors, hanging lights, exposed brickwork and mounted bike racks reminded me a bit of Seven Seeds, but Espresso 3121 is decidedly more gritty and rough around the edges, less polished and SWPL.

Espresso 3121

The coffee machine is a La Marzocco and the beans are Veneziano, with a changing single origin on offer (when I went, it was from El Salvador). As well as selling beans, Espresso 3121 also offers a barista training and consultation service. I liked the lengthy coffee menu on the blackboard below.

Espresso 3121 coffees

There is a simple lunch menu (which sadly I may never have the opportunity to sample). Breakfast-wise, there is bircher muesli, Dench croissants and a variety of Dench organic breads for toast (jams, avocado and Vegemite, Nutella etc) and open grilled toasties.

Espresso 3121 toasted sandwich

The morning I visited en route to work, I ordered the grilled toastie with Otway leg ham, seeded mustard, tomato, tasty cheese, sea salt and cracked pepper ($7) and was most impressed. Quality ingredients.

Espresso 3121 toasted sandwich

C'mon, Espresso 3121, please open for breakfasts on Saturdays! Pretty pretty please?

Espresso 3121


Anonymous said...

My partner and I go to this place as a ritual for any weekdays we have off. Love it.

Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) said...

Oooh looks awesome. Love the dangling lights! Next time I'm in the area I will definitely check it out.

Jetsetting Joyce

Anonymous said...

I drop in for coffee here at least once a week - some of the best coffee I've ever had, and consistently good!

Anonymous said...

Just found they have a facebook fan page - tells you what single origin and food specials they're serving that week - nice.

Sarah said...

Ooh, think I've just found a new place for weekday lunches! Thanks for posting. :D

xox Sarah

Disingenuous Mountebank said...

Dude, doesn't the fact that it's a bit less SWPL actually make it *more* so?

Anonymous said...

No, DM, it does not.

Consistently excellent coffee, my favourite daily caffeine hangout.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh thanks I'll have to check it out, I'm in the habit of going to Demitris Feast on Swan St, great coffee and the semolina pancakes for brekkie are fantasic.. They are open weekends but closed on Mondays...I guess everyone needs a break someone... but it shouldn't be allowed when I need coffee :)

Coffee Machine said...

Sounds fantastic! I'll have to remember to give it a shot.

Jess said...

I've been going here daily since the start of the year since our office relocated literally about 10 steps away. I was gobsmacked by the design. So frickin' edgy! My colleague had to drag me away from the entrance when I first spotted it.

However. As time has gone on, we now head over to Amsterdam St as a rule. I am a skinny latte drinker, my colleague is a latte drinker, and the 'milkiness' of the coffee at Espresso 3121 is far too overpowering. At risk of sounding tight, I also think that you should still be able to demand good coffee for $3 in this town. They charge $3.50. I was also originally impressed by the effort dedicated to making each individual coffee. They appeared to really pour the love in. Now, I just find the wait annoying because the outcome isn't that amazing.

All of this said, I still probably grab a few coffees a week from there because it's easy, but we are discerning, fussy coffee drinkers and the industrial feel of this place can't sustain us long term when the coffee just isn't delivering.

Anonymous said...

This place is awesome !!! The staff is great and the d├ęcor is just what you need to get to when u step out from in front of your desk…
I would give it top marks for the food and coffee!! Being barista myself (aka a very fussy coffee drinker) I can safely say they are one of the best in Melbourne…