Square and Compass brought specialty coffee to East Melbourne 18 months ago, and the area been better for it. Kael Sahely, Matt Stribley and Jeremy Fraser are known around Melbourne for their Midas touch in the café scene; think Mammoth of Malvern, BAWA of Hawthorn, Richmond’s Pillar of Salt & Touchwood, and Northcote’s Barry. So there’s no surprise they are the brains behind Square and Compass. Being located so close to the Freemason hospital, the lads named this red brick Victorian terrace house after the symbol of Freemasonry. The Compass represent wisdom of conduct, and the strength to keep within due boundaries, while the square is a symbol of morality.
There’s a wonderful contrast between the historical structure and style of the venue, and the minimalist fit out inside. The space is orderly, with terrazzo flooring, pale timber furnishings, and an open kitchen. Mirrors on the wall opposite the kitchen make the café look roomy, and outside you’ll find a heated courtyard with ample greenery.
Coffee is roasted for the café, and espresso is made using a blend of Ethiopian and El Salvadorian beans. I had a cold brew made from Promised Land Coffee and their single origin of the day was a fully washed Tanzanian from the Mwika region. It had a light body, with prune like flavours.
The all-day menu features Ricotta & cacao hotcakes with whipped cream and sour cherry; the health conscious Californian superfood salad; Fish taco; Herb & Parmesan chicken Schnitzel; and the rather interesting Crunchy peanut butter on toast with heirloom tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Square & Compass
222 Clarendon Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002