They say “a good neighbour is a priceless treasure”.
The folks of Balwyn North have just received their own piece of treasure, in the form of a brand new café. ‘Good Neighbours’ plan to be just that- Good Neighbours, with coffee of course.
Owner operator Jessie Hyejung hails from one of Mt Waverley’s favourite neighbours, ‘Son of Tucci’, where she was head barista for over 2 years. Working as a barista left her with an exceptional ability to master consistency, and an unrelenting drive that comes with years of experience. It’s with Son of Tuccis owners, Massimo and Fabian, that Jessie learnt the importance of treating customers as though they are friends visiting your home. This is at the heart of ‘Good Neighbours’, and it begins the moment you enter the arched doors.
Clean white walls embrace the spacious dining area, with tubal pendant lights adding depth and warmth too. The concrete floor has been freshly polished, and a brand new matte white La Marzocco Linea PB sits atop the timber counter, alongside a matching white Mythos grinder and EK43. The dining area seats 41 comfortably, and shapes commonly associated with houses are strategically placed around the cafe, such as the triangular frame around the kitchen servery.
Coffee is roasted by Veneziano, and the single origin of the day for espresso was a Colombian from Finca El Retorno. I watched as Jessie prepared my shot. Every move was purposeful, and the execution was unflinching. It was like watching a theatre performance, each step was as if it had been rehearsed 1000 times before, and its vindication was revealed in my cup. I often sense when a barista puts their entire being into brewing coffee. It’s tantamount to baring one soul, and unveiling vulnerability for the judgement of the consumer. It is an art, and art is both courage and creativity. Thankfully I have never, and will never profess to be a critic of coffee. I am a mere consumer. It’s an appreciation, and it demands respect. I venerate those who have belief in themselves, and who are willing to share their take on coffee. It was a manifestly fruitful endeavour. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Colombian coffee lately, and this washed Caturra was no exception. It was like a warm bowl of vanilla ice-cream with caramel topping. Textbook extraction…. executed with Poise… and relished by yours truly.
A sample of the all-day menu includes Potato Rosti’s with capsicum salsa, halloumi cheese, and guacamole; Waffles Benedict with grilled okra, braised smoked ham hock, and gochujang hollandaise; Japanese Fully Pancakes with house made banana ice-cream; and Veal Cutlets with cauliflower puree, mozzarella, and couscous salad.
If you’re in the Balwyn area, drop into 335 Balwyn Road. There’s ample parking out front, and I have no doubt Jessie will be as glad to see you, as I was to see this gracious young lady realise her dream.