Friday, 28 June 2013

A Day in the Life… Quick Q 10 with Café Manager Tim Dalton

Have you ever wondered what makes a Café Manager tick? Have you ever wanted an insight to the reality of running a busy café?  

I talk to hip and happening Café Manager Tim Dalton from Brewhouse Coffee Roasters in Bendigo.

Tim Dalton working hard

What makes you get out of bed at 5am every morning to go to work?

Tim: I love the industry and I love my job.  I’m lucky enough to work with some amazing people who make it worthwhile… and the customers.

What’s the highlight of your job?

Tim: To see a full café everyday that’s buzzing.

And is there a lowlight?

Tim: Not really…I think it can be pretty exhausting talking all day…but I do find it all very rewarding.

How do you motivate your already high functioning team?

Tim: I’m very big on involving the staff with everything.  I involve them in decisions allowing them to have some ownership within the café.

Talk coffee to me – what’s your preferred style?

Tim:  A long black.  Basically because I gave up milk a couple of months ago.  I like it to be strong, single origin Brazilian bean – it’s nice and milk-chocolaty.

How many coffees per day do you drink?

Tim: 6 to 8.  It’s just easy!

What do you think draws people to your café?

Tim:  I’d like to think it’s because of the brilliant customer service.  We’re very big on making peoples day by remembering their name and the coffee they drink.  Plus it’s a pretty rad fit out with great ambience.

How do you handle the difficult customer?

Tim:  I try to deal with it a quickly as I can.  Treat them how you would like to be treated in their situation.  I advise my staff to do the same and most of the time they don’t need me to step in as they diffuse the situation as quickly as they can.  And I don’t take it personally and learn from any mistakes.  The business can always benefit from any feedback good or bad.

What are the future plans for your café?

Tim:  We are in the process of getting our liquor license at the moment.  So we will be starting Friday nights with shared food and small live bands.  It will be a cool place to see open at night.  It’s exciting!

And my final and standard question – are you a visionary of a realist?

Tim:  (pauses) I’d like to say a visionary.  Bendigo is really staring to move forward as a food destination and I’d like to think I’ve been apart of that after being in the industry for 11 years.  I always like to look forward.  I think there is always a different way of looking at something and approaching it and you can get the desired outcomes that everyone wants.

You can find Tim at Brewhouse Coffee Roasters in Bendigo.  

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Trendy Food - Taco's

I often wonder how a food trend starts.  How does one particular dish or cuisine become a mainstream obsession?  Why do a collection of venues all vie to be at the top of the chain for a certain food at the same time?  Who starts this game of dominoes? 

If there’s a ‘movement’ to join, I want in!  Is there a system or a committee that predicts food trends like fashion forecasters?

At the moment I think it’s fair to say there are a few food trends on the circuit.  Burgers are trending big time.  Not the fast food variety but the gourmet style - a wagu beef patty with zucchini relish and goats cheese on a sunflower chia seed bun.  That kind of burger, you know the ones I mean.

The other trend that’s in my face, literally, is taco's.  Forget the ‘Old El Paso’ kit that Mum used to dish up when I was a kid, with browned minced meat, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and grated cheese shoved into a corn chip shell.  No, I’m talking about the lightly toasted tortilla filled with extravagant ingredients such as slowly braised pulled pork and mixed cabbage leaves or spiced chicken with white bean and avocado puree.  Yes, those ones!

These I cannot get enough of right now.

Fortunately I have befriended one of my local restaurants that every Friday for $5-gets me two different taco’s both with scrumptious fillings.  This goes all day, every week…now you know where to find me on a Friday!

GPO Taco's

There are loads of places doing groovy Mexican and serving up terrific tacos.  There’s even a ‘Taco Truck’! But in my neck of the woods I frequent ‘GPO’ in Bendigo.  Each week Chef Chad and his team push the limits a little further and bring with it some taco fillings to challenge anywhere else.  But remember – only on a Friday.

Tell me…where do you get your taco on? 

GPO Bar & Grill
60-64 Pall Mall, Bendigo, Victoria.
Phone – (03) 5443 4343

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Three Bags Full

Three Bags Full is nestled in the charming streets of Abbotsford in Melbourne.  Vibrant, sleek and sharp is the vibe of this café ready and waiting with your daily grind of breakfast or lunch, coffee or cake.

A converted warehouse, Three Bags Full has retained exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors and decorated cleverly with quirky lighting and bright artwork.  The multi coloured upside down cup and saucer light shades suspended from the ceiling are fun and novel.   The communal and single tables fitted with an industrial metal and road works signage print on the chairs and stools give an edgy look and feel.

First up I order a cappuccino.  It’s obvious that coffee is an important part of the philosophy here with a massive espresso machine and the barista happily joined to it.  They respect that espresso is not everyone’s thing and offer brewed filtered coffee also.

My cappuccino blew my head off!  It was super strong.  But the temperature, texture and flavor were bang on, making it still enjoyable despite my opinion on its intensity.  If it’s a strong coffee that you love then Three Bags Full have got you covered.

I was in for breakfast on a Wednesday morning. The breakfast menu is impressive.  It’s diverse, thoughtful and covers all bases.  In spite of this I opt for a dish from the specials board – ‘Crispy potato rosti with smoked salmon, salsa verde, two poached eggs and goats cheese cream’ ($17).

The flavours on this dish were very complimentary to each other.  The textures balanced out and removed any concern I may have had initially about the richness that some of these ingredients can normally attract.  It was fresh and light enough to leave me feeling content.

Staff were casual but friendly, neither overshadowing nor inattentive.  It wasn’t wall to wall busy but the service provided was just the right amount. 

Three Bags Full has also opened a duplicated space next door that offers the same menu with the addition of some quicker options including salads, toasties and soups.

This café on the corner has certainly cornered the café market in this area.  It ticks all the right boxes.

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Ambience – 8/10

Three Bags Full
Corner Nicholson and Mollison Streets, Abbotsford, Victoria.
Phone – (03) 9421 2732

Open –
Monday – Friday 7am to 5pm
Weekends and Public Holidays 8am to 5pm