03 Apr CoffeeHead (1961 Coffee), Camberwell
Right next to Camberwell station on Railway Parade, Coffeehead has been providing locals with a coffee-focused venue since 2011. Ash has over 30 years experience as a chef himself, training and working in London before coming to Australia and spending time under Gary Mehigan at Novotel on Collins. Through further work at Blue Train in Crown, he met Paul Mathis, eventually taking over Mathis’ CoffeeHead. When Ash Nathan became the owner, he decided to start roasting his own beans on-site with their Probat roaster and retail them, providing a steady supply of beans for customers even during holiday periods. In his other role as head chef, Ash designs the menu and also helps out in the kitchen.
Generosity comes through in the vibe of the place and in the food they serve. Customers who purchase their beans are given the opportunity to learn how to prepare the coffee, so that they can better appreciate the coffee.
The large interior is bright and spacious, full of retro furnishings and decorative pieces that creates a sense of family-friendly charm. Front of house manager Jaime Neves makes customers feel at ease with his affable nature and attention to detail. The café is popular, especially after the Camberwell Sunday Markets, when market-goers are looking for hot drinks and something more substantial to eat.
We have coffees made from their signature 1961 blend of beans from Columbia, Ethiopia and Indonesia, and the resulting coffee is rich and strong. The Prana Chai latte is also expertly handled.
Fluffy pita filled with lamb, green lentils, coriander, tomato salsa, mint and a cucumber yoghurt makes up the Lamb Souve. Though well cooked, the lamb could do with a touch more seasoning.
Quinoa-crumbed polenta is a rustic, almost ordinary-looking dish, but looks can be deceiving. Fingers of polenta are covered in a crispy quinoa crust and laid atop a colourful bed of tender slow-cooked chicken, fennel, tomato, salty olives, chilli jam, salty olives, and a gently flavoured goats’ cheese cream. It’s absolutely delicious when eaten all together, and even without the polenta the salad is a delight.
We then have one of the specials, and soon-to-be menu regular – mint and carrot hash browns, poached eggs, smoked salmon and spinach topped with a green hollandaise. The interesting green colour of the hollandaise came from the addition of spinach. The mint and carrot hash had a sweetness to it that made me do a double-take and check whether it was really sweet potato written on the board. Crispy fritters, perfectly poached eggs and a well-balanced hollandaise – who could ask for more? It was a hit.
Most sweets at the front counter are from Little Bertha, but some, such as the flourless orange cake and orange friend, are made in-house. We get a Passion Fruit & Poppy Seed Cake, and a rich Coffee & Hazelnut Honeycomb Torte with white chocolate cream cheese icing and honeycomb garnish, both of which are lovely and perfect with even more of CoffeeHead’s great coffee.
Ash’s vision for CoffeeHead is to first have welcoming, friendly staff to give customers a good experience, then provide good food and excellent coffee. CoffeeHead delivers on all fronts.
Disclaimer: I was invited to CoffeeHead as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way, and are based on my experience at the time.
8 Railway Parade
Camberwell, VIC, 3124
(03) 9882 6441