When Nick Kolaitis, Ben Freeman, and Frank Gavralas decided to turn their Greek Street Food restaurant into a café, they took to the history books to find a name reflective of the area’s history, and their vision for its purpose. Having paid respect to their own heritage, by bringing authentic Greek Street Food to Melbourne, they decided their latest venture would pay respect to the native forbearers of land on which it’s located. Located within the Boroondara Council, which comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of shade’, the 3 men decided to name the venue Shade, and thus ensure the city’s Indigenous connections would not be lost.
Step inside this Glenferrie Road haven, and you soon realise its design is specifically crafted to provide a place of shade, with its natural timber base, exposed red bricks emitting a cool feel, and dotted plants echoing the greenery from mother nature’s greatest shade providers. It’s stylish, without being obtrusive, and leaves you with a sense of lightness, much like you would feel while sitting under a tree on a sunny day.
Venue manger, Josh Carey, was quick to offer me a table, and soon offered me the fruits of another shade provider, the humble coffee tree. Beans are sourced from Reverence Coffee, with both the Night vision blend for that punchy milk coffee, and single origin beans for black coffee. For a café entrenched in a culture of paying respect, sourcing beans from a roaster named Reverence, is as harmonious as the venues ambiance. I was thrilled to see an Ethiopian Areka available for espresso. Truth be told, I could smell its blueberry aroma while Josh was putting my beans through the EK. This aroma permeated my sensory field, and followed through into the cup. Its sweet fruity flavours and clean finish made for an ideal espresso.
The flavour fusion didn’t stop there. Nepalese chef, Abe Pandi, has taken basic ingredients and concepts taught as a child by his grandmother, and interpreted them in the modern flavour filled menu. Meals are designed to bring out the essence of each ingredient, such as Saffron Bircher Muesli, Chocolate Croffle with Matcha, Crab & Chilli folded eggs; and Coconut Prawn Noodle Salad.
What I really appreciate about Shade, is that they have preserved a link to their Greek heritage by way of offering Frappe and Freddo coffee. This is definitely a point of different in the area, and a popular option with students looking for that refreshing caffeine hit on a warm day. They are served with a double shot of Reverence’s Night Vision Blend, and frothed using a traditional Greek method, which provides that thick texture frappes and Freddos are famed for. You’ll be sure to have a clear vision after a few of those.
Hawthorn continues to be a place of shade with both leafy streets and parklands; and this gorgeous café which feels like an energising embrace. Find Shade at 684 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn.