Fitzroy North in Melbourne is an area that appreciates diverse cultures, cuisines and coffee. Its latest addition to the neighbourhood, Coco & Thyme, embodies all that and is an experience waiting to be explored.
Walking into the large, open facility, there’s something to look at in every direction – motivational coffee quotes, 1920s-inspired ornaments, and a giant graffiti mural of the old Fitzroy junction with an X marking the spot for Coco & Thyme’s location.
Owner Carol Sassine says opening the café was a long-time dream come true. “I’ve always wanted to start a café from scratch, which included doing the fit-out, creating our own menu, and putting our own flavour into the business, which is Middle Eastern inspired. I’ve been to Lebanon before and the flavours are out of this world. It’s something we’re trying to replicate here,” she says. “As for the location, it’s perfect. I went to TAFE around the corner 21 years ago and to be back again here doing something I love is really special.”
Head Barista Nandi Dharma, or Andy as he is better known, uses a custom Kees van der Westen Spirit machine to produce the Estate house blend from Veneziano Coffee Roasters.
“It has a smooth, velvety body with milk chocolate toasted cashew notes, sweet spice, and lingering honey,” Andy says. “Fitzroy drinkers love a strong coffee. I’m really happy to serve our customers Veneziano. They’re one of the leading roasters in Australia, and have such a star-studded team with the likes of past Australian Barista Champ Craig Simon, runner up Australian champion Jade Jennings, amazing head roaster Pat Connolly, and World Barista Championship Judge Craig Dickson. How can you go wrong?”
Single origins frequently rotate with the latest seasonal offering from Veneziano. A tasty Kenyan coffee was available on filter at the time of print.
The breakfast, lunch, and dinner (on Friday and Saturday) menu embodies Carol’s love of bold flavours.
The St. Benny is a signature dish, featuring panko crumbed choux potato, pulled ham hock, eggs, apple cider hollandaise, and charred apple. However the Forbidden Rice, Green Machine, and Middle Eastern Lamb Kofta aren’t far behind.
A large function area is utilised at the back of the café to host birthdays and special occasion events. But the best part for Carol is being part of the Fitzroy community.
“Everyone is so supportive. We wanted to bring more people to the area and experience our flavours, our relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, and tasty coffee,” she says. “If our customers leave with a smile on their face and feeling great, then mission accomplished.”