Cheltenham was a sleepy hollow when it came to coffee; that was until 2014, when Yuko and Andrew Affandi opened the ‘Odd Room’ on Bay Road. Both had dipped their toes in the hospitality industry throughout their lives, but it wasn’t until they decided to open their own café that they jumped into the deep end. It was sink or swim, and fortunately for us, they’ve been swimming ever since.
The name reflects the venue’s unorthodox location in an industrial area, as well as the couple’s inspiration- that being “odd ones” such as Albert Einstein, and Thomas A. Edison. These historic figures were not afraid to be different, and have self-belief; which is what Yuko and Andrew believe is the key to their success. “We always strive to follow their examples by being true to ourselves (not just following trends), and continue to learn”.
With the assistance of interior designer Damian Gentile, they took an old warehouse and breathed new life into it. The buildings main features were reused where possible, by retro fitting large windows and copper panels as a front entrance, and the paint stained concrete floors were retained. This allowed for an industrial feel in line with the surrounding area. A timber and mint coloured theme runs through the venue, and exposed light bulb create a warm ambiance.
A matte black Synesso Hydra sits upon the white tiled counter, and boasts timber paddles and handles which have been custom made by Andrew himself. Coffee ranks highly at the ‘Odd Room’, and Andrew has worked tirelessly with Zest Coffee Roasters to perfect his craft, and develop the most suitable blend for the area. They currently serve Corcavado as their house coffee, which is a blend of the Brazilian Martas Di Minas, Papua New Guinea Owen, and Peruvian La Convención. Fascinatingly, Corcavado is a celebrated folk song written by a Brazilian composer. Its lyrics “Quiet nights and quiet stars, quiet chords from my guitar” which Zest feel perfectly captures this soft yet high achieving coffee. As a long black, it has a bold body, without the acidity; while through milk it’s like Italian biscuits infused with chocolate. They also have single origin beans for cold drip and espresso shots, and the Ethiopian Suke Quto is currently in the hopper. It has grapefruit acidity, and a floral aroma. The Sumatran Wahana Estate is also available, and Andrew has been a long-time enthusiast of this incredibly sweet Indonesian. I actually tried it at his CBD café ‘Liaison’, and was completely enthralled by its tropical fruit flavours, and clean finish.
French born & trained Chef Timothee Garreau has been the driving force in the kitchen from day dot, and the menu is naturally French-inspired with the odd Asian-fusion dish. Breakfast includes Chilli Eggs with fried onions on toast; Pork & Veal Meatballs with poached eggs; and Waffles by Noisette with berry compote and chocolate shards. If you want something warm and heartening, there’s soup of the day; warm chicken salad with chorizo and chat potatoes; and homemade seared gnocchi.
Thankfully, they don’t keep odd hours, and are open daily from 7am to 3pm.
The Odd Room
323 Bay Road, Cheltenham