I’ve often thought the area between Highett and Frankston is unfertile grounds for specialty coffee cafes. Chelsea sits in the middle of these two suburbs, and 30kms away from Melbourne’s coffee saturated CBD. It’s best known for its beach with a scenic views of the Mornington peninsula, and becomes a popular spot over the summer months.
Chelsea’s main shopping strip on Nepean Highway received Two Feet First with open arms last month. Owners Huan & Aaron, who also have The Little Elephant Café in Highett, thought it was time someone filled the void. They’ve jumped in with both feet, and thankfully for local coffee enthusiasts, didn’t give it a second thought.
The boys designed the venue themselves, and had builders turn their vision into a reality. The café has a contemporary style, with timber floorboards, walls and the coffee counter made from striking stacked cladding panels, and warm lighting. The back function room has ample space, with a wine bar, mood lighting, and upholstered semicircular banquettes.
Coffee is taken seriously here, with a brand new La Marzocco Strada, EK43 grinder for single origin beans, and a Mahlkonig k30 Peak grinder for the house blend. I’ve often found beachside cafes to serve mediocre coffee at best; so I was utterly impressed when Aaron extracted a Kenyan long black that tastes exactly as the tasting notes described. No bitterness, not signs of an over or under-extracted cup, and not a scolding hot mug of coffee filled to the rim. It was everything but that. The washed Kenyan Kangunu AA was perfectly balanced, with a crisp acidity. Upfront notes of nougat, followed by soft pineapple highlights. I felt like I was back at the Sensory Lab roastery; being served by the roasters who know how to best extract the beans. It was so refreshing to have a coffee served to me as it was intended by the roast. Not only does it show the effort the barista puts into each cup, but it is a fine display of their passion for coffee.
The menu has a contemporary Australian theme, with French highlights. There’s the ‘Polenta jamming’, aka. Grilled Polenta and corn bread with bacon jam, roasted cherry tomato, jalapeño salsa and two poach eggs; Salmon Gravlax with goat cheese, and chilli oil on toasted oregano Turkish bread; the ‘Bloke and Sheila’ pumpkin and broad beans falafel, with bitter leaf salad; and Spice rubbed beef brisket with coleslaw, chive aioli, and jack cheese on a brioche bun.
Two Feet First plans to open into the evenings over the New Year, and their back section will also be available for functions.
Two Feet First
451 Nepean Highway
Chelsea VIC 3196