If toast is going to be a thing in Melbourne – and it looks like it is – Crompton Coffee can claim the credit for kicking it off.
Not that being known as a toast cafe is the point. As Crompton’s owners Camron Green and Nick Peters have pointed out elsewhere, the toast menu is about “doing things simply and properly”.
The simple-done-well starts with the fit-out of this old corner shop in North Richmond. A colour scheme of black below and pale plywood above teams with dark timber tables and black-upholstered chairs to give a vaguely retro-masculine feel. French doors open onto a little wood-lined courtyard that captures sun from the north.
The menu lists a dozen toast options divided between seasonal and classic, ranging from $5 for a single slice of a classic to $16 for two slices of seasonal, with some mix-and-match in between.
The classics are home-made peanut butter, Vegemite (grilled cheese extra), home-made jam, fruit toast with cinnamon sugar and an intriguing pandan jam with toasted coconut.
The seasonal offers on fat slices of Rustica bread are more substantial. The winter menu includes hummus with long ribbons of cucumber and chilli flakes, corned beef with cornichons and mustard, and poached quince with ricotta, honey and a savoury sprinkle of cracked black pepper.
Single origins for batch brew comes from Coffee Supreme, which is just around the corner in Grosvenor Street: walking distance when Green and Peters need to top up.
Green, who used to work at Seven Seeds, reckons Coffee Supreme is under-rated in Melbourne. Peters, a renewable energy trader when he’s not working the floor at Crompton, wanted to work somewhere with humans, not software. Crompton Coffee is it.
Where 380 Victoria Street, Richmond
When Mon–Fri 7am–3pm; Sat–Sun 8am–4pm