Dr Dax Kitchen

Given coffee’s universal reputation as a cognitive kick-starter, the idea of a café as part of the Melbourne Brain Centre seems like a natural fit.

Located on the ground floor of the home of Australia’s largest brain research facility, Dr Dax is a bustling and stylish example of Melbourne’s specialty coffee culture.

Run by David Haddad’s Ecco Enterprises, Dr Dax is a perfect example of the model that Haddad has been developing and perfecting in more than 20 years in the business.

David is more than just a coffee shop owner. Through Ecco Enterprises he has developed a business model that focuses on developing cafés for corporate and university environments.

With more than 30 cafés to their name, Ecco has developed such locations as the Elements Café in the city and Docklands and Pearson and Murphy’s at RMIT University.

“We really liked the fact that this is positioned opposite the hospital and near the university – it’s right in our field being within both the university and the corporate worlds, which we understand well,” David says.
Opened in mid-2012, Dr Dax’s high ceilings and exposed beams give the space an open, warehouse feel. And they have certainly proved popular with the scientists, doctors and students who occupy the neighbouring buildings.

The café is named after the renowned Melbourne-based psychiatrist Dr Eric Cunningham Dax, who was a pioneering figure in the development of art therapy for psychiatric patients. 

So, with the effects of coffee being such a hot topic in the field of brain research, has David learned anything new from his customers since setting up here? “Everybody’s got a different opinion. Some say it’s good for Alzheimer’s, and the research into that is a big thing upstairs,” he says.

Dr Dax uses Code Black Coffee, and features different single origins every week, as well as their house blend made with Central American beans. Another feature of the café is its use of Vitasoy’s Café For Baristas soy milk.

Created specially for use with espresso machines, the Australian-sourced soy milk has proved popular with the baristas at Dr Dax. Rachael Singh is training for the 2014 National Barista Championship under Dr Dax’s Head Barista, Yannis Anagnostopoulos. She is a big fan of Vitasoy’s soy milk. “It textures really well, and comes out really creamy. It’s definitely the best soy milk that I’ve worked with,” she says.

David says that, as well as choosing Vitasoy for its quality, he is also a big fan of the company behind it, Lion Dairy and Drinks.

“The great thing about Lion is that as a supplier they are always there – I’ve been with them for about eight years and their service has been great,” he says. “We use them in all of the cafés we run.”

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