Axil Coffee Roasters
322 Burwood Road
+61 3 9819 0091
Fakebooo and I have a routine. Every Tuesday, we have brunch, gossip in exaggerated Singlish (Singapore-English) and head off to Footscray for grocery and banh mi shopping. Ever since we stopped being colleagues, I looked forward to Tuesdays all the more. I’d missed his nonsensical fluttery whims, and he always made me exasperatedly chirpy, especially after his brain had been acutely slapped awake by a hit of caffeine.
We decided on Axil for one of our Tuesday brunch dates. Booo had already blogged about Axil so all he had to do was drink his coffee, wake up and enjoy the food, leaving the photo-snapping and writing to me.
I like the interior of Axil. It is extremely spacious and the clever wall of plants adds warmth to bright warehousey feel. The corner shelf is stacked with coffee equipment that might fulfill any coffee geek’s dreams.
Scrambled egg and chorizo breakfast wrap with rocket, avocado and tomato salsa $17
Our coffees were lovely. My single origin had notes of melon and citrus that eluded my amateur palette. My brunch wrap was filling and extremely tasty. Booo’s dish was served without the trout and when we enquired about it, the waitress hastily replaced it in a quick professional manner. I had portioned off a third of my wrap onto Booo’s plate but unfortunately that was before the dish was replaced, and as it had vanished when the replacement arrived, I assume it was disposed.
House smoked ocean trout with golden hash, asparagus, creamed beetroot and a poached egg $20
While waiting for the Angmoh to join us, Booo and I shared a dessert. I had spied the gingerbread French toast on EatPlayShop’s Instagram feed several days ago and knew I had to have it. After all, gingerbread is one of my weaknesses and this dish certainly didn’t disappoint. It was rich and spicy and the sweet ripe figs with mascarpone made it all the more decadent.
The Angmoh finally made his appearance and ordered the avocado with poached eggs. He has a penchant for avocado of the smashed variety, and the added julienned mint is to his liking. He enjoyed every bit of it and devoured it all.
Our experience at Axil was pleasant. While there were a few slip-ups, including our rickety table, service was friendly and professional and food was definitely of top-notch quality.
The Petty Officer
113 Victoria Avenue
+61 3 9686 3000
The Angmoh and I paid a visit to Axil’s sister branch one Saturday morning. The Petty Officer is located in Albert Park and is patronized by locals. It is extremely family-oriented and rather fun to watch the pram-pushing mothers socialize and dogs of all sizes sniffing each other out. We had been previously and I have to declare that the coffee at The Petty Officer tastes heaps better. The service, on the other hand, that morning was abysmal. We had been standing at the entrance for at least 10minutes without given any attention. When I tried to flag a waiter down, he abruptly replied with ‘I’m busy’ and scurried away into the kitchen. The Angmoh later approached another bloke to ask if we should seat ourselves, and we were then told that the café was extremely busy and that it would take approximately another 10-15 minutes to get a seat. We continued to wait at the entrance, but the staff didn’t even acknowledge us. I’ll admit that we rocked up at peak brunch hour, but I personally think that no matter how busy a café is, customers should never be ignored. We left that morning, but because I had enjoyed my previous dining experiences at The Petty Officer, and they really do serve up excellent coffees, I decided a second chance was warranted. One week later, we turned up on a not-too-busy Sunday morning and were given a table instantly.
Our morning started off with a round of house-blend coffees. They lived up to expectation: delicious, with light floral and fruity elements.
The Angmoh had heard about the baked eggs, and decided to try the dish. While I found the eggs slightly overcooked with a slightly strong touch of cumin, the Angmoh enjoyed it and had no complaints. I had the smashed avocado dish this time. I liked how the avocado had large chunks of the fruit, and was not ‘smashed’ into a spreadable paste. The bread is from Brasserie Bread and is of extremely high quality.
My single origin (Clovis – Brazil) piccolo latte had The Angmoh regretting his choice of second coffee. It reminded me of rum-and-raisin chocolate, with a hint of strawberry at the end. It was fabulous. We left much happier this time round.
Axil and The Petty Officer are excellent cafes. While occasional hit-and-misses occur, the quality of coffee and food remain consistent. Positioned where they are, they are competing in a very crowded market and to really differentiate themselves from the pack, they may want to iron out some of the kinks in their customer service.