Monday, November 2, 2009

Latte, Michel's Espresso, Barkley Square, Brunswick

Barkley Square. It sounds familiar. Wasn't there a standard about it?

Oh. No, there wasn't. It all depends how you pronounce "Berkeley" I guess.

Anyhow, this Michel's cracks me up every time I see it. It's mainly because of what happened the first time I came to Barkley Square with LLL. We walked in through the food court, past a Baker's Delight, a fish shop and a butcher's, on the way to the Coles. There was a guy selling books on some trestle tables in the middle. It not only sounded familiar, it also looked exceedingly familiar.

LLL: Woooah, this is like Fountain Gate!
R: Yep, it's got everything that every other shopping centre has. Look out, there's a Flight Centre coming up on the left. Just this side of EB Games.
LLL: What's next, a Michel's Patisserie?!

We rounded the corner, and there was Michel's. Of course, she didn't know it was coming. But if you take notice of this sort of thing, it's easy to predict. I see it in the distance as I walk into EB Games every time I go to Barkley Square (that's pretty much the only reason I go there), and I often consider trying their coffee, unless I'm too busy wondering why a Coles and a Safeway decided to open right next to each other. But the coffee always seemed like a good idea. After all, Michel's Espresso is a pretty substantial blip on Instaurator's CV, is it not? Yes, it is. I figured a visit to Michel's would play out like a This is What Happens When you Train Staff Well instructional video. So, I tried to go there three times today. Really. Three times.
  1. After buying Brütal Legend from EB Games (OMG! So freaking Mëtäl!!) I thought, "That's it. Today's the day. I'm going to have a latté from Michel's, be blown away, then go home and play Brütal Legend." But I saw the $3.40 (from memory) espresso price, and realised Toby's was just on the other side of the car park. So I left.
  2. Toby's was closed. It's hard to know who's going to be open on Cup Eve. So I headed back to Michel's again. I got spooked by the queue. So I left.
  3. I drove to the fish guy on Nicholson St. He was closed. I remembered the fish guy at Barkley Square was open. The only way I could justify driving back there was if I also had a coffee. So I went in.
I must have looked psychotic, almost ordering a coffee twice before finally having one. Of course, we have to map that against the psychoticity associated with taking photos of a cup of coffee in public. Yes, that was a plural. Photos. I'm still not sure how the multi-tap autofocus biz works.

It was pretty good. You could do a hell of a lot worse, especially at a cookie-cutter mall-alike like this. If you're about to drop in at Coles because you forgot to get carrots at Safeway after picking up some Baker's Delight bread on the way out of Flight Centre after a quick peruse through the second-hand PSP rack at EB Games, be assured that Michel's is on the safe list. Of course, I cannot guarantee chain-wide trustworthiness. That kind of research needs a whole blog dedicated to it.
Anyone game to review every Michel's in the country?


  1. I can certainly relate to your experience of drinking coffee in shopping plaza cafes. Originally from the Northcote area, I had the misfortune of being forced through desperation to try a caffe latte at a grease bar/cafe at Northcote Plaza. Not recommended. I call this latte the Bargain Basement latte. Check out other weird and comic latte experiences recorded and illustrated on my blog. Would love your comments. Enjoy your blog immensely


  2. This Michel's latte is quite outstanding from other stores, hard to compare with those boutique cafes in Brunswick but petty safe.