3 Cookson Street
Camberwell, VIC 3124
I love days out with my sister. Except when we rock up to our designated cafe, starving like dementors, only to find it closed for renovations. So instead, we had to make impromptu plans, and we wound up at Collective Espresso for a late brunch.
In the case of Collective Espresso, the name really says it all. It’s a little hole in the wall for a quick take-away coffee, or if you have time to spare, lunch on the communal table with your collective comrades. It embraces the close-knit community feel, and it seems to have hit the mark perfectly without even trying.
The menu at Collective Espresso is rather delightful. It contains a mixture of the usual (rhubarb granola, avocado and feta mash), and the wildly unexpected (crispy duck omelette, cauliflower steak). It took us a long time to decide, and thankfully the staff were exceedingly patient with us.
|Collective Sigh of Relief ($22)
Have I ever mentioned that my sister is a greedy little piggy? Despite all the lovely things on the menu, she had eyes for nothing but the Collective Sigh of Relief ($22), aka the big breakfast. I’ve always had major issues with ‘big breakfasts’ that are nothing more than your run of the mill collection of breakfast items, and even more so when the portions are no bigger than a breakfast I would make for myself. And this has got to be the most impressive looking big breakfast I have ever encountered.
Aside from the golden yolks still wobbling in the translucent whites, the thick sourdough toast was topped with three different types of mushrooms cooked in butter, handfuls of wilted spinach, a rasher of Kaiser Bacon, and a croquette. It was all wholesome and satisfying, but a special shout-out to the bacon, which was thick and heartily meaty, and to the croquette, its crispy shell encasing the smoothest mash of potato and cheese.
|Emu Burger ($12)
So whilst my sister was off being boring, I went out on a limb and ordered the Emu Burger ($12), having only tasted emu once in the long distant past. This was one damned good burger. The salty and creamy cheddar melted into the crevices of the patty, which was juicy, rich, and still pink in the center. The crunchy ribbons of pickled cabbage were great for cutting through the richness. And for those of who are wondering, emu tastes like a more delicate and tender version of beef, not gamy at all!
There’s a lot to like about Collective Espresso, from the eclectic menu to the great family feel. The prices are also reasonable, and whilst the staff don’t wait on you hand and foot, they’re still more than sufficiently friendly. And considering it’s literally right outside Camberwell station, it would make for an excellent breakfast pit-stop for all the commuters heading into the city every morning.
Rating: 14/20 – collective sigh of joy
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. And the number of words in game of thrones.