The Hudsons Road shopping strip is buzzing with life, and the latest café to join this ever growing hub of Spotswood is 85 Espresso. Formerly known as Mies Coffee Bar, Ibby and Stephanie Khodr snapped up this space as soon as it became available, having just returned from a stint in Canberra where they ran Remedy café on the Kingston Foreshore.
They launched their new look café and menu early last week, and I couldn’t help but take the trip over the West Gate Bridge to see the transformation. They’ve taken a rundown space, and revitalised it with warm timber furnishings, and a modern rustic feel that’s punctuated by the wrought iron gates at the front entrance. The first thing I noticed was the main counter lined with coffee beans that are set in resin. The white Nuova Simonelli Black Eagle with matching Mythos One grinders take pride of place on the black tiled coffee bar, and that’s where Ibby spends most of his days perfecting his coffee. For someone who began his career in the telecommunication industry, he has taken to coffee like a duck to water. Having met the Veneziano team while at the Melbourne Coffee Expo this year, the couple decided they’d be in safe hands with these industry leaders known for their wealth of experience in coffee; and not to forget, famed as the home of former Australian barista champion, Craig Simon, who was just recently crowned Southern Region Barista Champion 2018. It must have been fate that I should visit when Ibby had the winning Panama gesha beans in the hopper, as well as several rare Ethiopian Gesha Village lots. I was treated to a banquet of espresso shots; each with their own unique and enchanting characteristics. From the Shiraz like nuances of the Panama Gesha, the strawberry jam flavours of the natural Ethiopian gesha 1931 varietal lot 51, to the sweet nectarine tones and passionfruit acidity of the lot 72 Gesha 1931 varietal natural; I was left feeling as though a rainbow of flavours had cascaded across my palate.
I don’t usually drink milk coffee, but their current house blend, Bond St, was rather enticing. Made up of a fruit driven Ethiopian Womburta natural from the Guji region, and a washed Colombian San Fernando that’s grown at high altitude, this blend was as smooth as silk, and had a sweetness which tasted as though it was infused with honey. Quite the reverse, it didn’t even have sugar in it- the delightfully sweet tones were inherent to the coffee, which married well with the Jersey Milk.
Justin Quattrocchi heads the kitchen, and has created a modern Australian style menu with something to suit everyone. There’s Sticky Black Rice served with coconut yoghurt, passionfruit and fresh mango; Ricotta Waffles topped with poached rhubarb and drizzled with maple syrup; Cauliflower and Cheddar Croquettes; and the gluten free Quinoa fritters served with cumin yoghurt and a lime & mint salad. There’s also a selection of toasted sandwiches filled with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired ingredients like roasted beetroot hummus, labne, whipped feta, and slow cooked lamb with quince paste. For those who enjoy a fresh pastry out of the oven, they have an assortment of hearty pies, quiches, and savoury muffins all served with house made relish.
Open 7 days a week, 85 Espresso is rising to the occasion, and the Khodr’s are set to draw the masses with their welcoming spirit, and commitment to going the extra mile to make the ordinary, extraordinary.
85 Hudsons Road