I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to the Epworth Hospital, mainly because it was the surgeons here who saved my life when I was born with a rare blood disorder. Who’d have thought after all these years I’d be coming back here for purposes other than life saving! Well my visit is closely related to my survival- given that I can’t function without coffee! It’s a ‘tesspresso fairy-tale’… ‘Now we can get a great cup of coffee in a hospital.’
After years of visiting sick relatives at these medical institutions, and having to endure lacklustre coffee, I can finally say ‘a new wind of change is blowing.’ Thanks to Sam Zouki, who, may I add, knows a thing or two about hospital cafes; specialty coffee is now available at the Epworth Hospital. It’s the flagship for what will become a dynasty of specialty coffee focused cafes, with food and aesthetics to match.
Now let’s be serious. No one wants to be at a hospital. So how wonderful is it to know there will be a sanctuary to escape to, and take some time out from that clinical and often stressful setting. I know from talking with nurses and doctors at the Epworth, Bridge Place is a blessing, and ideal venue to retreat too. Its split into three sections, with an espresso bar much like you would find in the CBD, a casual dining area, and a lounge area decorated with 1960’s wall art.
Café manager Steven Mullen dawns from Manchester, and knows all too well of the mediocre coffee served at hospitals globally. His dream was to breathe new life into the hospital café experience, with the addition of his favourite British tunes playing as a backdrop. ‘We saw a huge gap in the market, with heavily roasted dark style coffee at the same price as high quality coffee you’d expect to find in areas like Fitzroy, so we decided to revamp the model, and offer quality and aroma based coffee, with the options of single origin beans, batch brews, and even retail coffee for home brewing’. It’s brought the community together at Bridge Place, and in their second month since launching, the interpersonal service approach is working wonders.
Food wise, think French Rustic, with fresh ingredients, and health conscious options like the gluten free pizzas that I was immediately impressed with. Time poor locals have the option of grab and go nourishment, or sit down meals like Eggs Benny.
Coffee is sourced from Mikro Coffee Roasters, and their current Panama Caturra Natural left me speechless. Not a common occurrence for the motor mouth that I am known to be. Think jammy berry tones, with a lingering sweetness that will have you going back for seconds (thirds in my case). They also have every ‘alternative milk’ you can imagine, which is ‘a blessing’ for those who are on a dairy free diet, be it an ethical or medically based motive.
They’re open from 6:30 am to 4:30 pm daily. Say hi to Chad- he’s the charming barista with the mile wide smile.