274 Barkly Street, Brunswick. 93876079
Coffee: Wide Open Road
Brunswick, especially in the grid between Brunswick rd and Glenlyon rd from Lygon st to Sydney rd (NOBRO?), has to be one of the most densely cafe populated inner-city suburbs of Melbourne. The only problem is, they aren’t all that very good now are they? On my work break I usually jump in the car and head down to Brunswick East Project for a pick-me-up, however I really don’t like being stuck on Sydney Rd for 30 minutes out of my 60-minute break, you dig?
Well, I got out of that little pickle the other day when I found Miss Marmalade. Problem with MM is that it’s one of those places that are too close to drive but too far to walk. In that region of 20 min walk 2 min drive. SO I feel lazy driving, but CBF walking. So it’s the perfect place to go for coffee when I feel like a short drive without traffic. But I still really wanted somewhere that I could walk to for a quick coffee that didn’t suck. So I had two options. Either I jogged to MM or pray that a café opens closer. So I prayed. Yeah, I’m lazy. Well, believe it or not, going to church once a year paid off! Wide Open Road, Brunswick’s newest coffee roaster has finally opened its doors about a 100m away from work. Now I’ve been hearing about this place on the grapevine for at least a year now, and to be honest I almost forgot about it until a few weeks ago. It’s the same owners as A Minor Place, the Brunswick institution on Albion St that you everyone who is trying to save the world one soy decaf latte at a time sits out the front of. Enough about me.
Wide Open Road’s (WOR) fit out is what you would expect for a warehouse-converted café trying to become a local institution.
Wooden communal table. Check. Retro Light fittings. Check. Shopping trolley stuck to a wall? Um. Check. Now this might sound sarcastic, but it isn’t really. WOR’S fit out is rather nice and manages to give an intimate feel to what was once a 600sqm shell. Almost like a mini Seven Seeds. The only downside to the design in my eyes is that, seeing how it is a roastery, I WANT TO SEE THE GOD-DAMN ROASTER! I really wish this was incorporated into the design is some way. I know that when (I now say WHEN not IF) I open a roastery, it will be the center of attention. They are beautiful machines. They should be seen. Anyway. Apart from that minor flaw in my eyes.
the design is great; it’s clean and simple. I like it. Yes, even the shopping trolley.
Well I guess I should talk about the actual coffee at some point shouldn’t I? Here it goes: In comparison to the cafes surrounding it,
the coffee is a clear winner. The double ristretto was perfectly extracted, giving that syrupy texture we all know and love protected by a dark orange crema. It comes with a small complimentary glass of sparkling which you all know by now that I think should be a standard offering from all serious cafes.
It’s not the best ristretto that I have had, but its definitely one that I would be happy to consume over and over again. I also had a pour over which was quite good as well. Although I did think it was lacking some body compared to others I have had in the past. Could have been me, could have been them. Ill go back and let you know. For the serious coffee lovers, I didn’t really see much of a retail section, maybe it’s still early and they haven’t set that part up yet. So if you want retail your go to cafe in the area is still Brunswick East Project.
Wide Open Road also serves food, they don’t have a commercial kitchen, I thought this would have been something that is high on the priority, but I guess they want to keep the focus on the coffee. Nothing wrong with that at all.
I know that it is the first few weeks of opening, but this new addition to the Brunswick surely does look promising. It’s definitely a step up from the cafes in close proximity, although it does have a lot of competition when you compare it to the other cafes in the neighborhood.
Wide Open Road is still very young and although the coffee is probably the best in the area (Brunswick, NOT Brunswick East , I can only see it getting better and better.