Axil Coffee Roasters’ Hawthorn headquarters is a big, lovely cafe dining hall backed by a serious specialty coffee roasting operation.
Up front a constant crowd chews its way through an inventive food menu that takes the cafe brunch standards and gives them a good shake. So the pancakes are red velvet with black sesame ice-cream, brownie soil and cream cheese ganache, and chocolate waffles come with hazelnut parfait and curls of gianduja chocolate.
If that makes your sweet tooth ache, there are plenty of savoury dishes: maybe a solid minute steak with potato roesti, poached egg and sauce gribiche, or Spanish-themed manchego cheese croquettes with paprika-fried eggs and Serrano ham.
Axil: a big specialty coffee menu
A large communal table at the back offers views into the Axil cupping room and the sizable roasting operation: a restored 60-kilo Barth roaster gets through three tonnes of green beans a week here, all sourced at origin.
A comprehensive coffee menu gives an idea of the scale of Axil’s operation, listing the seasonal espresso blend, a regular single origin for espresso (maybe a fruity Brazil FAF natural), a couple of single origins for Clever Dripper brews (currently a Guatemala La Folie washed and an El Salvador El Rosario natural), plus a couple of filter reserve origins that come in at $7.50 for 200ml.
The Colombia El Girasol (a washed coffee) makes a complex cup with hints of stone fruit and sweet cane sugar and a silky mouthfeel. It finishes with some bitter chocolate/cocoa powder flavours. It’s a vibrant, fresh and balanced brew.
Axil’s seasonal espresso in spring 2015 is a blend of 1:1:1 Guatemala La Folie, El Salvador El Condor and Costa Rica La Union Cerro Alto – two washed coffees and a honey-processed. In a short black it’s creamy, with complex savoury flavours: a bright start, a hint of nutty roast and a lingering, savoury finish – a great coffee to drink after food.
Axil now also operates an espresso bar in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, has partnered with cafes in Geelong and has two new cafes in the works: an Axil Coffee Roasters in a lane off the top end of Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD, and Mayday in Bridge Road, Richmond, both set to open by the end of 2015.
Where 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
When Daily 7am-4pm