I have only ever had a take-out coffee from here before and I really liked it. So today, my friend and I decided to pay a visit to Degraves Espresso bar with a view to taking a leisurely afternoon with coffee and cake. We managed to get two seats by the window.
Before I visit a place, I often like to read reviews to see the majority vote. However, since reviews tend to be rather subjective, I like to make up my own mind.
With this place, I had read so many reviews stating that it used to be good in the early days, but has now gone downhill with rude and unfriendly service. So, today I went with an open mind, since I do really like their coffee.
It's not huge inside. There's a couple of wooden tables and benches at the back, red leather seats and wooden tables to the front. It feels kind of old-fashioned in a really trendy sort of way. It's got a cool grunge feel to it and is obviously popular with all sorts of clientele.
As we sat down, a waitress approached us all smiley and friendly. She took our order of two flat whites and on asking what cakes they had, she promptly took me to view them in their front window display.
The sticky date pudding certainly looked lovely and so did the chocolate mud cake. But seeing as I am going through a 'flourless' cake phase at the moment, I chose the flourless orange cake.
The waitress asked if I wanted it solo (i.e. without any cream or ice-cream), of which I did. And she then proceeded to ask if I wanted it warmed up. Again, I did.
She soon came back with two coffees, lovingly presented in black and white coffee cups and saucers. Oh, and a carefully coifed leafy tree patterned foam top.
I love the coffee here - it's smooth and strong without being overpowering. By no means a coffee expert, I only know what I like and what I don't like. As is the case with anything in life really...
The warmed flourless orange cake was a very generous slice (or slab rather). I was very glad to be sharing it with another person. Of course I could have eaten the whole lot, but I am not a glutton or at least I try not to be.
Although I must admit that I can indeed, 'eat cake' for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I do like to have a bit of control. Especially when it comes to balancing fat, sugar and calorie intake versus daily exercise, or in some cases, lack of daily exercise. As so many fitness experts will tell you, "It's all about everything in moderation".
Mmm, this cake was moist, dense and full of gorgeous bits of orange rind. Yes, it would have been lovely with a bit of vanilla ice-cream, but I was being good and moderating my calories.
If this is anything to go by, I think the sticky date cake would be oh so perfect for my next visit. I really am a sucker for a good piece of cake.
Our waitress wasn't rude in the slightest. She was smiley, friendly and very attentive. However, I did notice that the manageress seemed a little stressed and dare I say, a little frazzled. She certainly didn't smile, but she didn't look like a rude witch either. Coming from London, I'm used to extremely rude service, so anything other is good to me.
The guy making all the coffees was being kept busy behind the machine. In fact I don't think he stopped the whole while we were there - about two hours or so.
A lovely place to come for coffee and cake. They also serve breakfast and lunch too. With a few tables and chairs outside, you can sit under the shade of the carousels whilst taking in the full view of life on Degraves Lane.
Degraves Espresso Bar
23 Degraves Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9654 1245
Closed some public holidays.