Collective Espresso, Camberwell - another great brunch & coffee place!

I'm starting to really love having brunch at trendy little cafes on communal tables and sipping beautiful coffees while enjoying a lovingly prepared meal (usually involving eggs of some sort) and reading a food magazine while I'm at it. I can't believe I haven't found a liking to this indulgent lifestyle a bit earlier as there really are an abundance of great cafes around Melbourne. Earlier I went to St Ali, Three Bags Full and Hardware Societe and they were all fantastic places to hang out at.

A few days ago while at Camberwell Junction buying music books, I came across another chic little cafe called Collective Espresso just next to Camberwell Station and I loved it. I'm glad there are actually great cafes a little bit closer to home (just a little bit). Owners Mark Jacobson, Duncan McCance and Graham Babbs collectively created this small yet popular cafe back in 2009 and has now become one of the best places to have coffee in Camberwell.

As Yuye and I walked in, I saw micro greens growing in their window and they were so vibrant I felt they almost jumped out at me. I always enjoyed looking at store grown greens and herbs, it shows that the owners are keen to keep ingredients as fresh as possible.

The coffee machine by the door also caught my attention as I enjoy seeing the different brands of machines that are used. These machines are the backbones of cafes, without them and the barristers, we would not have the privilege of enjoying these wonderful coffees.

The cafe is tiny. There were a few small tables outside which were all taken and the only table inside was a long communal table which seated around 20 or so people. Yuye and I occupied one end of it which made me feel like I was head of the table. It was perfect for taking photos which was always welcomed. I'm sure you've noticed the Absolut Vodka bottle on the table. No it's not actually alcohol but in fact, water. Collective Espresso intelligently uses recycled spirit bottles as water dispensers. I've also noticed that the more people in a group, the bigger the bottle.

Yuye and I got a Hendrick's Gin bottle to which Yuye nodded in approval, 'great taste' he said. It was the same as the bottle on the table which held flowers.

Naturally, coffees were ordered before the meals and as usual I got a latte. Still a bit weaker than I normally like my coffees but I actually liked it more than St Ali's. It was just that little bit stronger. It was a 30 degree day that day and coffees are probably the only hot drinks I'd order.

Yuye ordered a cappuccino to which I found a little bit weaker than mine but still quite nice. I think next time, I will just ask for double shots.

All the menu items sounded very enticing but I eventually settled for the potato rosti with beetroot cured salmon, spinach, slow roasted truss tomatoes and salsa verde with poached eggs ($18). I love beetroot and as soon as I saw that word on the menu, I was instantly sold. It didn't matter if there weren't actually beetroot on the plate.

When the waitress brought out my meal, she apologised for a missing egg as it broke on the way. A new egg was brought out to me very quickly.

There were three pieces of rolled up cured salmon which went very nicely with the rest of the dish. The overall dish had a nice amount of citrus and acidity so didn't really need the extra lemon wedge. There was pesto on the side as well which was needed to add saltiness and well rounded flavours to the dish. I shoved a huge truss tomato directly in my mouth which was a mistake as it was so hot! The delicious juices came flowing into my mouth and I couldn't do anything except swallow it. Tomatoes are my favourite so I didn't regret getting a slightly burnt mouth for that instant burst of happiness. :D

Look at the egg yolk! The poached eggs were a little more cooked than other cafes but was still runny and gooey, just how I like it.

Yuye ordered the 'Collective Sigh of Relief" which came with poached eggs with spinach, three types of mushrooms and Kaiser fleish bacon ($17). I couldn't really tell that there were three types of mushrooms, but I could distinctly tell the truffle oil that was used to cook them. It was so strong in smell and taste that I fell instantly in love with it. I will have to buy a bottle from Essential Ingredients soon, they're just so irresistible!

The bread on the other hand was a bit too tough on the outside and bit oily and soggy in the middle due to the mushroom juices and oil flowing down. I could hardly cut into the bread with the knife. We eventually left a small piece of the bread but chowing down everything else on the plate.

Look at the yolk again! Another perfectly poached egg, although a little less runny than my one. Looking at the yolk run onto the plate is one of my favourite things to do.

We also ordered a lychee, apple and lemon drink for $4. It was more like a granita than juice although fresh juices were used in the making process. I believe the apple juice used was the Preshafruit juice that's so popular and tasty as Preshafruit juice was the only one available on the menu.

We added the lemon juice from the extra wedge we had which actually made it taste better. It needed that extra zing to fresher up our palates from the eggs and bacon and the hot weather outside.

I was so full I could hardly walk but a sense of satisfaction and joy filled my stomach and entire body. Ah that's the sweet life. Must seek out more cafes and eat more eggs! I know where I will be having lunch next time I'm in Camberwell.

I almost forgot to mention, I got a scare when I turned around to look outside as guess what I saw? Jason from the RACV advertisement was staring straight at me through a hole in the bushes! That was freaky but gave me a good laugh at the same time.

Collective Espresso
Phone: (03) 9882 8995
3 Cookson Street, Camberwell VIC 3124

Collective Espresso on Urbanspoon

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  1. LOL @ Jason!!!! Good one.

    By the way, I didn't know you love beetroot. Omg, I hate them!!! Next time you can have a portion, if it ever ends up on my plate to begin with.

  2. @WinWin, I know right XD it was perfect placement :D
    I LOVEEE beetroot. You can give me all of yours if you ever get some on your plate, I'll gladly finish them for you :P

  3. I don't think I'd ever eat breakfast at home if I lived in Melbourne! There are so many good choices! :D

  4. What lovely poached eggs indeed! And have you ever tried that Hendricks gin? Its my favorite! You must have very good taste, beetroot is sublime isn't it?

  5. Beautiful photos!!!! I want that egg.

  6. Your pictures are really fantastic. What camera are you using?

  7. Yum. I feel so hungry for breakfast now that i am off to bed so i can make it all happen sooner! Thanks for sharing those great photos.

  8. @Lorraine, I feel like I shouldn't be eating at home but 2 eggs every morning is a bit too much I think :P

    @The InTolerant Chef, I haven't actually tried the Hendricks gin, I'm not a big alcohol drinker. I do want to try it now that you've said it's your favourite. :D And totally agree! Beetroot's also have good taste :D

    @bagnidilucca, thanks for your comment! I kind of feel like eggs too...

    @tania, thanks for your comment, I'm using a Canon 550D with a 50mm f1.4 lens. :)

    @The Food Sage, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm getting hungrier as I'm typing, maybe I should head off to bed too!

  9. I'm having a strong cup of coffee right now, but I don't have a plate of salmon and poached eggs sitting in front of me. I suppose I'll just have to make it myself as an 18 hour flight seems kind of ridiculous for poached eggs.

  10. What a delightful breakfast place! Your photos are wonderful too!

  11. @Deanna, flying for 18hrs for poached eggs is a bit excessive. :P I'm sure you can find great poached eggs!

    @Lisa, thanks for your comment! It was indeed a great breakfast place :)

  12. lol jason

    that skull thing is freaky

    eggs look good

  13. @batasan, that skull was kinda freaky. :S I had a closeup shot of it but thought that was too many photos :P