STORE Espresso – Fowler Street, Camperdown

What do I like about this newcomer to Camperdown?

Firstly, it has a wonderful view across Camperdown oval. It’s small, has only one huge communal table and a smaller ‘waiting for a take-away’ table, it’s also has got a few steps up to the door, so that means it’s not really pram or stroller friendly. For a childless Inner Westie who every now and then enjoys a leisurely, tranquil breakfast or lunch, without being swamped by a throng of yummy mummies (and occasionally house-daddies) and their offspring, this is Nirvana.

That’s not to say parents (and issue) are not welcome, in fact when we last visited, there was a delightful couple enjoying the food and view while their tot dozed peacefully in one of those handy carrycot thingamajigs. It’s just that the set-up is not conducive to a large “nursery clan” gathering. The handy thing is if this type of gathering is more to your taste you don’t have far to go – right next door is Camperdown Canteen with the same views and lots of outdoor tables to tether toddlers and their conveyances.

The STORE decor is simple yet sophisticated and the waitress, who is studying floristry, is honing those skills on the table and window arrangements.

That’s the setting, now for the most important aspect … the food.

Like the place, the menu is small (blackboard) but such a great choice from breakfast, to brunch to late lunch. What really impressed me, as a winter soup lover, is that they have a choice of three soups.

I digress here for a moment to mention a bistro we visited in a Melbourne laneway a couple of weeks ago. I ordered the Minestrone (not a big ask as it was an Italian bistro), and they plonked a Pumpkin soup in front of me – I was informed they’d run out of Minestrone so assumed I would have the Pumpkin instead – I wouldn’t! After suffering years of it being the only soup ever on offer, I’ve developed a loathing for it.

Anyway, back to STORE – the food is overseen by Tony’s mum (sorry I don’t know her name, she looks like a ‘Sofia’ to me), a delightful lady who really cares about what comes out of her kitchen and encourages customers to comment on the quality, quantity and presentation of meals. The food looks and tastes fresh and we have yet to work our way through all that they have on offer. But for now I’ll say the Breakfast plate, with a side of smoked trout, the croissant, the Potato and Leek soup, and the chocolate brownie were excellent. And judging by the comments from other customers around us, the organic Muesli and Cannelloni are next on our list.

Oh! did I mention the coffee? We’re both espresso people (I was going to say we’re both short black people – but knew that would elicit wry comments!), and at the helm of his trusty machine, Tony produces one of the best. Great aroma, excellent crema and a robust, lingering taste!

We will return!

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