We fell in love with Torpe the minute we saw its logo: a shy little boy with his hands over his mouth.
“Torpe...” says owner Zachary Riggs. “Torpe. Yeah, technically it means a boy who’s too shy to tell a girl that he likes her.”
Didn’t know there was a word for that, but fair enough. Torpe it is.
Torpe is a tiny white-walled cafe on Wattletree Rd in Armadale, although it won’t be tiny for long...Zach has been brought on-board to oversee the development of what sounds like a foodie wonderland. There’s going to be an upstairs wine bar straddling three separate buildings, a deli and wine shop nextdoor, and a community garden out back. “We’re going to get some pigs and chickens in here,” Zach says. “Good for school groups and stuff.”
For the moment though, there’s just Torpe. And it’s super cute: big north-facing windows mean tonnes of sunlight, and the split-level space is decked out in blonde timber, bistro chairs, navy blue decal and lots of greenery. Basically your perfect suburban coffee nook.
Zach is one of the guys behind Two Wrongs in South Yarra, and he’s brought on chef Bowdy Tolhopf (ex Smak) to design a killer menu. Start with House Favourites like poached eggs topped with yuzu hollandaise on pumpkin sourdough, or maybe the Golden Gaytime Pancakes (classic crowd pleaser), with salted butterscotch caramel.
Our pick? Hard to go past the matcha waffles, served with a slick of pink coconut yogurt, strawberry and hibiscus ice cream, raspberry crumb and marshmallows.
Axil Roasters are providing the coffee (and it’s one of the better cups we’ve had in months). The cabinet up front is stocked with some seriously eye-catching treats. Giant house-baked pies (“You’ve gotta have a pepper beef on there, right?”—Zach) gnarly pork and fennel sausage rolls the size of your head, and assorted sweet treats from Noisette and Proof Is In The Pudding.
This little strip never had much going for it. For years it’s just been “the bit where Wattletree hits Dandenong Rd”. But Torpe is set to change all that. Get there now before the hype hits.
Image credit: Sammy Green