Husband and wife duo, Domenic and Diana Caruso, have done it again. They’ve brought a touch of class to Ascot Vale, and it’s nothing short of marvellous on all fronts. The name itself, No. 19 Society, is a nod to the couple’s very popular Essendon cafe, St Rose, which is located at number 19 Rose Street.
I tend to critique a café based on 4 critical factors; the coffee, the service, the food, and the fit out and atmosphere. No. 19 Society ticks all the boxes, and I’ll even go out on a limb here, and rate this experience as the best I have had all year. Designer, Jean Pierre Biasol is globally renowned for his dedication to crafting innovative interiors, and his meticulousness here is unquestionable. The space is inspired by Melbourne’s 1950s delis, and minimalistic while also stunningly elegant. From the moment you walk through the door, you can’t help but notice the attention to detail, as the warm sunlight flows through the large front windows. I have a special affinity for the mid-century modern style, not only because of its sleek, functional features; but it exhibits a touch of sophistication, as well as visually pleasing geometric and curvilinear shapes. Here we see this in the brass wall sconces that run down the venue, adding a dash of elegance; and the classically-shaped pale timber chairs, with embracing backrest crowns. The pastel blue and white tiles soften the room, and draping greenery above the kitchen front adds a natural layer to space.
There is no compromise on coffee here, which I have found to be a downfall of many well designed cafes around Melbourne in recent history. Head barista, Lemara, has mastered the custom Synesso MVP, and extracts every shot with precision. Filter coffee is also available, thanks to the countertop Marco SP9 brewers, which automatically assure accuracy with every brew. I was indulged with a naturally processed Panamanian coffee, sourced by Five Senses Coffee from Hartmann Estate. This family run estate has long been revered for its outstanding coffee, and the Coralia lot is one of their finest. It delivers a jammy cup, with sweet berry and tropical fruit notes. A true reflection of the Estates quality harvesting and processing practices, as well as the baristas ability to bring out the inherent flavours of this outstanding Caturra varietal.
The attention to detail also streams onto the menu, with a selection of deliciously nourishing options, infused with nutrient rich ingredients. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s the Chocolate Coyo panna cotta with wild granola and raspberry gel; Nutella Hotcakes with butternut snap crumbs and torched marshmallow; and Chia banana bread with espresso mascarpone. They also offer Pea fritters with pan fried flaked salmon and walnut pesto; and Jalapeno croquettes with sweet corn puree and manchego cheese. If you’re after something meaty, you can choose from twice cooked pulled pork with cider compressed apples, maple bacon pangrattato, and poached eggs; or the Southern style crispy chicken burger with smoked cheese.
Quaintly positioned on Union Road, No. 19 Society offers the perfect space to indulge all the senses.
No. 19 Society
214 Union Road
Ascot Vale VIC 3032