They’re keeping their nose to the grindstone out west.
Grindstone Hoppers Crossing is the brainchild of Neil and Angie Wakefield, Fid Iljazi, and Heath Flint.
After successfully establishing the Grindstone Barbers and Baristas concept, Heath called on Neil to help setup this now popular Hoppers Crossing café over a year ago. Being a veteran at establishing cafes and restaurants, Neil jumped at the opportunity.
Together they worked on designing the fit out, which includes a fully functional commercial kitchen. Grindstone gives a whole new meaning to shopping plaza coffee, offering not only specialty coffee, but a variety of brew methods, and guest roaster’s beans which rotate regularly.
The moment one walks into this pocket size space, you notice the large mural on the main wall depicting Grindstone’s first head barista, Pete, who had a heavily curated moustache, which gave him the archetypal barista vibe necessary for a ‘barber come coffee shop’. You’ll now find Dennis behind the La Marzocco Linea PB, who may not have the Mo to match the wall art, but definitely has the talent behind the machine. At the head of service is the ever so lovely, Fid, who not only knows the area well, but has customer service down pat.
The menu features both healthy and crowd pleasing comfort dishes, with some cleverly crafted names. There’s the Sugar Daddy Ricotta Hotcakes with Nutella Mascarpone and Tim Tam Crumble; The Women in Red Velvet Vegan Waffles with Lemon Curd and Apple Jam; and the Miss Piggy Burger with Slow Cooked Pulled Pork and Onion Rings. Coffee is sourced from Code Black for milk based blend, and guest roasters are regularly updated to introduce locals to the multitude of beans available at any given time in Melbourne. Previous guest roasters include, Aucuba, Wood & Co, Padre, Profile, and Small Batch.
I was treated to a Kenyan espresso, made from a washed Kiganja lot Produced by the Thiririka Farmers’ Co-Operative. I have been meaning to try this coffee, after hearing Small Batch describe it as coffees equivalent of chocolate and ginger pudding topped with crème anglaise. It was nothing short of impressive. Its sweet buttery tones definitely made for an indulgent espresso.
Find Grindstone at 2/50 Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing. Be sure to say hi to Neil if he’s around. He is an icon of Melbourne’s coffee industry, who spends a fair amount of his time behinds the scenes successfully executing strategies to improve the industry as a whole.