Squee, another guest post! This one is from my fave zinester Beck, of ‘Macarons Are Not Macaroons’ fame. I asked her to write this post because there was a conflict of interest regarding the place reviewed below (full disclosure: I did work there very briefly). I also asked her to write a guest post for the blog because reading writing in her voice makes me laugh my arse off.
The first time I went to Elevenses I almost didn’t go at all. As a trade-off for dragging Miss G to my end of the CBD – Degraves – the first time we met, it was suggested that she should get the next pick for our cafe-rendezvous. It was unfortunate then that, as it is at the start of all new friendships, it is hard to gauge the other party’s concept of time based on only meeting them only once before.
Never having been to Elevenses before, hell, never having ever even been to traipse Little Collins Street before – let alone trying to find a cafe there – put me on edge and I found myself there about half an hour before we were meant to meet. As luck wold have it, Miss G was then about half an hour late – or more perhaps – I remember thinking I should bail so it could have been more but I think she was having a Why Is Metro So Unkind? moment, so I was sympathetic. The point is that she did turn up in the end, even if she was late. Once we walked through the doorway of Elevenses I was well glad I had stuck around.
Upon entering Elevenses you’re stuck with a sense of walking into someone’s “this is the amazing little place I only take people I really like to” hide-away. It is all high ceilings and warm bricks, a mix of natural light and soft lighting, original artworks, old fashioned furnishings, a repurposed pool table, a side-board filled with a very fitting selection of music and Scrabble.
It is one of those places you walk into and immediately think ‘my brother would really like it here‘ even if you aren’t the kind of person who has a cafe-snob for a brother.
The story goes that Tom and Shanny originally opened Elevenses in Kensington, but after some terrible storms and a really awful landlord, they had to close and have, as such, moved on to Little Collins St. I had never been to the original Elevenses but if you watch this video you get a really good sense of the kind of place the original shop was like. Now if you can imagine taking that vibe and squirreling it away into a space in the business end of the city…
To be honest I didn’t think such a warm and homely place could exist on any kind of Collins Street, but there it is, and there you are.
Tom and Shanny run the place themselves and you can tell that it is their baby more than it is just their business. The cooked food is made from scratch in their kitchen – the menu runs from breakfasty-type things; fruit toast, muffins and pastries, to rather high-end sandwiches which include the gamey likes of rabbit and kangaroo (Rooben rye pictured below)…
…as well as the more humble varieties such as pork.
And the coffee, well, it’s not made from scratch per se – they stock Toby’s Estate, for the record, and it is quite delightful – but Tom will overextend himself for you and make you your coffee just the way you like it, even if he doesn’t pretend to understand why you would want your latte made with cold milk at all.
Elevenses is more than a coffee place, it is a cafe experience that is few and far between in these modern times – it is the kind of cafe you would call home; where Tom and Shanny become your coffee-based-family and you can very easily lose a couple of hours there if you are not careful, and you do find yourself taking your cafe-snob siblings there and find that you do not have to force them to fall in love with the place because it is a very easy and natural thing to do and you find yourself alright with that because now there is finally a place you can agree on.