Wouldn’t Charles Henry James—one of Fairfield’s original champions of development, community and hospitality back in the late 1800s—be proud of one particularly people-friendly café that’s popped up on the Station Street radar recently? That being, CH James.
Boasting the conviviality and community generosity its namesake crusaded for over 150 years ago, CH James offers a trio of engaging spaces—indoor, outdoor and upstairs—encased within masses of glass and steel, seamlessly integrating the outside and inside.
Although the Fairfield area is becoming increasingly gentrified and family-friendly (hey, there’s even a LEGO studio up the road!) the eye-catching architecture by Petridis Architects proves highly inspired and urban.
The impressive entry bar and amiable energy of the staff is what strikes you upon entering this space. But for those with no time to spare, the aroma of Small Batch Coffee (with ex-St Ali’s Miranda Rampton on the tools) seduces via the easily accessible serving window, ensuring no outward-bound commuter is without their coffee hit.
Other suppliers in the CH James mix include Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, Ocean Made Seafood, Amore cheeses, EDS Breads, Villa Verde Free Range Eggs and Flavours Fruit and Veg.
This all creates a magic mix within the kitchen manned by Rodney Mom (formerly of Rockpool), which obviously proves a huge draw-card for locals and blow-ins alike. Lunch hour is dense with dishes that marry comfort and fine cuisine, including house made pasta, jams and relishes on high-rotation.
House made gnocchi with roasted tomato, asparagus and broad beans, and ricotta and smoked trout with soft scrambled eggs, chive and coriander pesto served on toast also prove popular.
Upstairs, events can be booked in a space overlooking the church-side courtyard where a host of fine wines and hard to find brews are sure to set the tone for spring and summer Sunday sessions in the sun.
Snuggled between the local railway station and church, with a nod to the history and heart of the Fairfield strip, CH James boasts everything a churchgoer, commuter, and all those in-between, may desire.
CH James | Fairfield
Image credits: Sarah Martin for The Urban List