Sometimes food just speak for themselves. It’s especially so on a sunny afternoon at a beautiful coffee and brunch place in a trendy part of town. I feel like food is better when I get to take beautiful photos too. Is that too biased for a foodie? I apologise if it is but it’s not something I can help. Undoubtedly, any meal experience is made up of a number of factors such as service/food quality/ambiance and whatever else makes the meal better. For me, it’s the photos.
I wonder how long this beautiful (and sometimes too hot) weather will last. In fact, I just found out I’m going to China/Japan again in 3 weeks time so I wouldn’t get to enjoy this beautiful weather for much longer anyway. There’s pros and cons of going overseas so much.
A bit over a week ago Yuye and I went to Chapel St in Windsor for a bit of coffee hit at Dukes Coffee. I read many good reviews of the place and I couldn’t contain my excitement when we decided to go there. Yuye slept in till 2:30pm that day. I was mighty hungry but also mighty determined to go so I refused to eat anything else. By the time we got there, it was fairly late already and the place was empty.
Dukes Coffee is more like a regular cafe compared to its industrial counterparts such as St Ali and Seven Seeds. Its decor isn’t as warehouse-like, although I did like the open area where the coffee roasting machines were kept.
If you don’t feel like ordering something from the menu, they have pre-made sandwiches behind the glass counter.
Or if you’re just after a coffee, you can order a cupcake or 2 to go with it. I was too full by the end of my meal so this wasn’t an option my stomach could handle.
Coffee is what this place is serious about. It’s what they are good at, it’s also what they are famous for. Look at the barista’s careful pouring, it looked so intricate that I had to hold my breathe when I took this photo.
My latte didn’t let me down. Not a bit. In fact, it’s probably my favourite coffee in Melbourne that I’ve tried. It was strong, it was fragrant, it had character, not to mention pretty too.
Yuye’s cappuccino also didn’t let him down. It was just as strong, just as fragrant and even prettier. I love taking photos of cappuccinos. Doesn’t the flower look so elegant that it almost resembles a beautifully feathered bird in flight?
We went to Dukes Coffee while I was half way through writing the post for Seven Seeds. As I mentioned on that post, I craved for some poached eggs but was disappointed that Seven Seeds didn’t have any on the menu. Dukes Coffee on the other hand, had perfect poached eggs. As we were too late for breakfast (breakfast menu ended at 12:30pm) I settled for the avocado hummus toast, poached eggs, honey candied bacon and dukkah dish for $18.
It was topped with a huge layer of raw and very fresh snow pea shoots. As a primarily Chinese food eater, I never knew we could eat this vegetable raw. I’ve only ever had it braised with garlic at Chinese restaurants and at home. In fact, Yuye made a lovely version of this the other day. Now eating it raw just defied all knowledge and common sense for me. In hindsight, it was actually very crisp, refreshing and delicious. In fact, it didn’t have a strong flavour, just like spinach which I love raw.
I learn something new everyday.
The poached eggs couldn’t be faulted. They were perfectly round and beautiful with a rich golden runny yolk trickling down the side when I cut through them. I couldn’t ask for much more.
The dukkah though could have been improved. Dukkah is a traditional Egyptian side dish that has herbs and nuts but Dukes Coffee’s version definitely missed the mark there with the lack of nuts. Nevertheless, the sesame seeds were tasty and gave a nice flavour to the eggs.
Yuye and I both thought the candied bacon were a bit tough. I loved the chunks with plenty of fat content because they were moist and delicious, but the fatless pieces almost had a jerky texture and were a bit hard to chew through. Perhaps If the pieces were cut a bit thinner, it would have worked better (or just use fattier pieces in my opinion ).
Yuye ordered the “Windsor chivitto” which according to the menu is Dukes Coffee’s take on “Uruguayan classic steak sandwich with Hopkins river eye fillet steak” for $16. It came with beautifully soft bread and pickles on top.
The funniest thing was, Yuye and I actually bought the exact same red toothpicks they used, but we got them from Japan last year!! What are the chances of that? If you’re interested, visit my Pimms cocktail recipe and see for yourself. I was so excited when I saw this I almost forgot what the sandwich tasted like.
The sandwich was so vibrant and moist I didn’t want to wreck the balance by eating it. The pretty sandwich contained beetroot, egg, tomato, bacon, steak and greens. It was a very tasty sandwich indeed. However, to me it just looked like burgers or sandwiches with ‘the lot’ but a bit more gourmet so we didn’t understand what was so special about this ‘Uruguayan’ dish.
There wasn’t much I could complain about at Dukes Coffee. It’s no wonder they have such good reviews on Urbanspoon. The strong, fragrant coffees were a highlight and the food didn’t let me down either despite very minor details that could be improved. I’d go back again in a heartbeat.
Question time: Have you ever been to a restaurant and found the same crockery/glassware/cutlery as what you have at home and felt happy about it?
Phone: (03) 9521 4884
169 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181