Axil Coffee Roasters is probably one of the more popular cafes located in the suburbs (but then again Hawthorn isn’t that much of a suburb anyway given its proximity to the city). I’ve been asking around for tips on where to find good coffee in Melbourne and this was one of the more frequently mentioned names. They’ve since opened up pop-ups in the city serving coffee only – but their outlet here in Hawthorn is headquarters.
Naturally, given the word-of-mouth notoriety this place has in connection with coffee, PLUS the fact that they actually brand themselves as “Coffee Roasters”, I was very excited with my first mug of latte. Whilst waiting, just observing the props on display and the manner in which coffee is made a big deal here built the anticipation even more!
I went for the normal house blend and after my first sip…
… I was disappointed. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it wasn’t great. I went in with the highest of expectations and all I got was a faint hint of coffee in an overly milky drink. I tried someone else’s long black, and I was quite shocked to find that it bore resemblance to filter coffee! Also quite curiously, I observed that it wasn’t served concentrated with hot water by the side (which most “serious” coffee-focussed cafes seem to do). I’m not too sure what went wrong here and quite honestly I’m left a little bit perplexed, wondering what all the rave is about.
Sorry to start with the bad news, but from here on, it’s an upturn.
The interior of Axil is not fanciful, but it is cosy, roomy and in days when cafes seem to really go for the open air concept, Axil has air-conditioning (it has a few seats outside for those who use cafe time as a sunbathing opportunity)! I really like the touch of green plants too. It’s just an absolutely comfortable place to spend a lazy Saturday (or Sunday!) afternoon.
The savoury main courses were pretty good. The baked eggs deserve a special mention and is, in my opinion, the must have here. For some reason the Manchego croquettes are quite famous too; I think the chef could afford to be a little more heavy handed with the cheese though (who will ever complain that there is too much cheese in a croquette?).
Now, I’ve saved the best for last: the real reason you should get your hungry self to this place is to have their sweets. Three words: Oh my god (if you have a sweet tooth, this would be heaven for you).
Are you done salivating as you look at those too-beautiful-to-eat desserts? If you think you can taste the genius combination of ingredients as you read their vivid descriptions – do yourself a favour and actually come eat it. Quite simply, all three desserts above are a must. You could pick just one; but I think having the pineapple carpaccio and one of the other two is a good idea as the acidity of the fruit cuts through the richness of chocolate and you could just alternate your scoops between the two. Yes, I know it’s pure gluttony but you live to eat!
So, all in all, a memorable visit and certainly worthy of returning. But I still wonder about the coffee…
Axil Coffee Roasters
322 Burwood Road
+61 (3) 9819 0091
See how this cafe ranks on The Hungry Wolf’s list of Melbourne’s Best Cafes!