Being a frequent visitor to their parents’ cafe, Oak Room in Ashburton, we’ve closely followed the cafe exploits of Taing brothers (Brian, Jason and Nolan) with a little bit of neighbourhood pride.
Under the banner of Workshop Brothers, the trio (and business partner, Joe La) operate a small number of innovative cafes and eateries in and around Melbourne.
Workshop Brothers – CBD cafes
Two of the Workshop Bros cafes are in Melbourne’s CBD, with the small cafe in Queen Street being more of an intimate Espresso Bar, serving quality coffee, pastries and doughnuts, and where you can pick up Workshop Brothers own brand of coffee beans.
BE.AN by Workshop Bros is a takeaway, hole-in-the-wall cafe, serving great coffee to office workers in a laneway off Collins Street. Pastries and croissants are supplied by Noisette bakery.
The brothers take their coffee very seriously, with a stated aim of pursuing the perfect cup: “We like to call this love in the cup; a coffee kick that really makes you feel the love“.
Details: Workshop Brothers Melbourne – 4/190 Queen Street, Melbourne Vic 3000, Tel (03) 9078 6533
Details: BE.AN by Workshop Bros – 410 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Tel (03) 9078 6533
Workshop Brothers – Southbank
The Southbank Workshop Bros cafe on the edge of the CBD is a much larger and slicker operation: an all day eatery at Riverside Quay. Opened in November 2018 (with free jaffles for the first 100 customers), it’s a beautiful space with a double-height ceiling and windows providing a soaring, open space with striking natural light.
The decor is elegant, classy and minimal, with the attention-grabbing black and white portraits on the wall appearing to be drawn by etch-a-sketch.
The artwork matches the artistic skills of the baristas and their ability to draw figures and faces in the microfroth of your latte. The teddy bear and elephant etchings are true latte art.
The Taing brothers certainly have a sense of style. The dishes are very colourful and Insta friendly. The delicious Sticky Date Hot Cakes are like a painting on a plate and the Nourish Bowl is a visual treat with its beetroot hummus and fresh produce.
My personal favourites: the Mr Ok-O-Nomi-Yaki (cabbage and carrot fritters, poached eggs, cucumber, coriander, sesame seeds, togarashi, tonkatsu mayo); the Buttermilk Chicken Burger; and the Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in an open croissant. These are some of the best brunch dishes in the city.
Details: Workshop Brothers Southbank – 2 Riverside Quay, Southbank Vic 3006 Tel: 0424 524 188 / 0460 964 826
Workshop Brothers – Glen Huntly and Glen Waverley
The Glen Huntly cafe was the first to open (2012) near the train station and quickly became a local favourite. The coffee is always excellent (as Melbourne commuters take their coffee very seriously) and the cafe has become a daily stop-off for many a hurried worker seeking their morning caffeine-kick.
The cafe has its fair share of healthy and wholesome breakfast options (the Homemade Granola is excellent) and the Winter Breakfast Cassoulet is a hearty choice of braised haricot beans, confit duck, smoked bacon, toulouse sausage and persillade). However, the dish that always gets the attention is the legendary Hotnut.
The Hotnut is the food blogger’s favourite – lemon curd hotcakes with homemade meringue, sour cherry coulis, orange marscarpone and toffee cherries. It’s become a classic dish, synonymous with the cafe and drawing diners from suburbs both near and far.
This dish even brings the cafe the occasional international visitor, as social media posts and ‘gram bloggers spruik the Hotnut’s virtues.
The Glen Waverley venture (at 97 Kingsway right in the centre of the surburb’s booming food hub) takes the Workshop Brothers brand to another level, as, for the first time, the cafe/ restaurant is open for dinner as well as breakfast and lunch.
The menu has a distinct Asian-fusion feel to it. Breakfast options include Egg Congee with Caramelised Pork Belly and Chinese Doughnut Sticks, and a delightful Sweet Hong Kong Waffle (paired with a chocolate parfait and pumpkin caramel).
For the less adventurous, there’s also the traditional brunch fare of eggs benedict and acai bowls.
Details: Workshop Brothers Glen Waverley – 97 Kingsway, Glen Waverley Vic 3150 Tel: (03) 9078 6533
Other Breakfast, Brunch and Coffee Options
Need more options for breakfast in Melbourne, then check out these eateries.
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Workshop Bros Coffee Blends
The Huntly blend has been devised to showcase the best of seasonal coffee.
The cup profile we are trying to achieve is one of balanced chocolate and fruit. Coffees used to construct our blend have been carefully selected to make sure we have a full bodied coffee with a nice hint of acidity and sweet berry fruits. This of course is done by sample roasting and cupping over 15 different washed & natural coffees every couple months.
We are proud to say we have used a combination of the best African, Central and South American beans to create the most stunning, unique blend that definitely differs itself from the rest. We continuously cup the freshest seasonal coffees and adjust roast styles to make sure we maintain and maximise the award winning cup flavour.
The definition of ‘Single Origin’ coffee has evolved significantly over the last decade, and since the introduction of the Cup of Excellence program, we have seen the definition and benefits of ‘single origin’ coffee really come to light. Single origin basically refers to coffee that is sourced specifically from a single farm, or more specifically a microlot, or field on a farm.
KENYA RIAKIBERU, Africa
REGION – Kirinyaga District
ALTITUDE – 1650 metres
VARIETY – SL28, Ruiru
PROCESS – Washed
Sugarcane sweetness; bright, citrus acidity and notes of rhubarb, stewed fruits, dark chocolate and toffee apple. A lingering sweetness
RWANDA CYIYA LOT 2, Africa
REGION – Kilimbi Sector
ALTITUDE – 1800 metres+
VARIETY – 100% Red bourbon
PROCESS – Washed
Floral honey sweetness, blackcurrant acidity and notes of fig, cherry, rich and complex