If you wander down Ridgeway place, you’ll soon find Liaison Café. It sits at the base of Monaco House, a 4 storey building that’s a geometric work of art. Opposite is the prominent Melbourne Club, an exclusive mens’ club dating back to the 1800s, which became the inspiration for the café’s name. The original owners of Liaison certainly did their research, and found that this area was once a brothel where men from the surrounding area- in particular the Melbourne Club, would sneak out for a ‘Liaison’. The red stools out front pay homage to this historic intrigue, which the new owners Andrew and Adrian have preserved. They took over earlier this year, following the success of their first café “The Odd Room” in Cheltenham. Remaining loyal to their coffee supplier, Andrew decided to bring Zest Coffee to the East end of Melbourne’s CBD, and extracts it via a 2 group Synesso.
The confined space will be expanded soon, with plans to extend the back section.
In the meantime, I won’t waste an opportunity to enjoy their coffee. Standing at the side bar I could not believe I was sipping on an Indonesian Wahana Estate offering. I have not always been the biggest fan of Indonesian produced coffee, however, this lot had everything I love in a coffee – all rolled into one. It was sweet, rich, and loaded with tropical fruit tones. Andrew takes pride in the quality of this particular Wahana, and shared some background information about it. Seemingly, this particular Sumatran was processed in a unique manner, whereby the entire cherries are first sun dried for 24 hours, after which they are dried in mechanical dryers for 3 weeks. This is unique because countries like Ethiopian traditionally sun dry their coffee, and the Wahana method innovatively uses mechanical driers to counter the unsatisfactory drying conditions common to Sumatra. Seems peculiar, right? Well it works.
The proof is in the cup. It may be an unconventional method, but based on this experience it’s transformed my perception of Indonesian coffee. What’s more, I found a flavour in this coffee I have not tasted since my childhood. Memories of the loquat tree in Nonna’s backyard that I used to pick Nespole from as a little girl (Nespole being Italian for Loquat), came flooding back as I took the finishing sips of my espresso. When a café experience can instigate such an emotionally rich recollection, it’s done its job – threefold.
22 Ridgeway Pl