Type of Venue: Cafe
Cuisine: Modern Australian, some fusion influence
Highly Recommended: Hash, Miso Benedict, Breaky Burger, Jaffa Hotcake, Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich
To coffee novices like myself, a tamper is a relatively unheard of instrument. For a slight educational tangent, a coffee tamper is a small, handheld tool used to tightly compress espresso grounds into the basket of an espresso machine, thus encouraging even packing and maximum flavour extraction, to produce a quality shot of espresso. As indicated in their name, Tamper Food & Coffee is serious about their coffee. And their food.
Previously known as From On High, this newly re-opened cafe is a kind of rebirth; a different cafe concept that the owners wanted and needed, with the help of a consulting group who are experts in the industry. Comfortably relaxed in their ambience with a cushion-lined bench along the wall and plants interspersed throughout the venue, this cafe provides the ideal destination for locals seeking a casual breakfast or brunch spot not too far from home.
Although not alone in offering a food and drink haven for locals in the area (note: Fourth Chapter is directly across the road, whilst Street Talk Espresso is further up High St), Tamper Food & Coffee prides themselves in their laid back style, and a menu focusing on classic dishes and comfort food.
A display of tempting sweet treats are on display in a glass cabinet along the counter, whilst the supply of bread and coffee beans from AU79, chocolate powder from Mork and chai powder from Prana Chai hint at the collaborative relationships that Tamper Food & Coffee has formed along the way.
If you’ve been to Prospect Espresso in Camberwell, you may detect some similarities in the style and offering of their menu, though with sufficient variation to form their own style. For something savoury and filling, the Hash is a stack of King brown mushroom, crispy hash brown, charred asparagus, grilled haloumi and a fried egg, laying on a bed of roast red pepper and sweetcorn chutney puree. Seemingly simple, the combination of ingredients contributes to the complexity of flavour detected, enjoyably enhanced by the chutney puree tying everything together.
A take on the classic eggs benedict, the Miso Benedict features nicely toasted AU79 sourdough bread, topped with charred broccoli, poached eggs, miso hollandaise and toasted almonds. The addition of bacon adds an extra element of decadence, though the stars of the show are definitely the umami flavour of the creamy miso hollandaise, and the sprinkling of toasted almonds for an exciting textural addition.
Miso Benedict ($18.00)
The Breaky Burger is the perfect hangover cure, with a hunk of grilled bacon steak paired with potato hash, a fried egg, chutney, pickles and Dijon mayo, all sandwiched within a soft brioche bun. The melted cheese oozing over the potato hash, along with the zingy tomato-based chutney, sufficiently moisten the hearty components that make up this breakfast burger. Plus, there are some leafy greens somewhere at the bottom… because, health.
Breaky Burger ($15.00)
+ added Chips ($3.00)
A clever way to entice customers to choose the sweet options, all of their sweet dishes are found in the first column of the menu, making them the first items that customers read when perusing through the menu. The Jaffa Hotcake is a crowd favourite, with a stack of two deliciously thick and fluffy hotcakes plated with orange segments, fresh berries, chocolate crumb, orange creme patisserie, Jaffa sauce and chocolate ice cream. Successfully redefining the jaffa flavour combination of chocolate and orange in this dish, the inclusion of fresh berries helps to reduce the potential heaviness of this dish, as does the overall orange-flavoured theme throughout.
Jaffa Hotcake ($18.00)
A play on the popular childhood-reminiscent dessert of matcha or taro-flavoured ice cream sandwiches in Singapore, the Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich delivers a contemporary, fusion reinvention. Two generously sized and toasted Belgium waffles sandwich black sesame ice cream and peanut praline, complimented by fresh mango slices and a strawberry puree for freshness and flavour contrast. A decadent dish that will undoubtedly become the attention-grabbing poster-child for Tamper Food & Coffee.
Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich ($18.00)
With their casual approach to the cafe scene, Tamper Food & Coffee portrays an overwhelmingly local vibe that is perfectly appropriate for the area. The unique combination of ingredients and flavours in their dishes is commendable, as is the triumphant forging of their stamp on the Melbourne cafe scene with subtle twists to brunch classics that still speak to the heart.
Note: I dined as a guest of Tamper Food & Coffee. Thank you to Wesley and the friendly staff for their generous hospitality throughout our experience.
Tamper Food & Coffee
412 High Street
Ph: (03) 9510 3751
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm.