Hands up who can point to Heidelberg Heights on a map? We’re guessing not many of you. That’s cool. It’s a suburb that doesn’t attract a lot of Melbourne foodie hype. But for Tori and Bea, co-owners of hole-in-the-wall Crate Specialty Coffee, that’s kind of why they love it.
“It’s so hard to open a café in Richmond or Collingwood now,” Bea says. “We didn’t want to be that kind of place. Here we’re a part of the community. We’re that social hub. It’s cool to see so many familiar faces.”
Crate is tucked away down a sleepy side street, so don't expect Brunswick St-style foot traffic. But it’s slowly making a name for itself with the locals: families who moved out here for more land and a slower pace of life. Now, thanks to Crate, that pace also comes with killer coffee and brunch dishes like spiced maple beans, or turmeric-spiked brown rice salad. If you’re hungry you should definitely go the bacon and egg roll with avocado: a man-sized stack oozing egg and tangy tomato relish.
Crate isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel, just make it roll as smooth as possible. It’s a passion project, and you can tell Bea and Tori have handpicked everything, from the baby breath flowers on every table to the clay teaspoons, hand-crafted by potters all over the country.
The coffee is top-notch, which you’d expect with beans sourced from Dukes and MAKER, and the tea comes from a little New Zealand company called Ritual Tea (Tori’s a Kiwi). Inside is cosy and small, and there are a couple of big wooden tables on the nature strip, for when the weather’s sunny. A Sunday morning hub where mum can pick up her soy flat white and the kids can munch on homemade cookies and muffins from the little wall-mounted display case. Cute, tasty and unpretentious. If this is Heidelberg living, sign us up for more.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni