117 Were St, Brighton
I have nothing but praise for the fabulous staff here at Balmains. They’re truly wonderful, are like their own little family & they know their coffee’s inside out.
Chatting with Zac, the owner, was fantastic. He explained to me the in’s & out’s of how to make fabulous coffee. I tried a couple of different blends while I was here- from Auction Rooms I sampled ‘Candyman.’ It was out of this world & the exact hit that i needed. The flavour was gentle & smooth, nothing too strong or overpowering, which accommodates nicely for the more mature audience that frequents this little corner cafe who aren’t used to big, robust flavours. Unlike most cafes’, the team here serve lattes’ in a small mug as opposed to a glass, which at first I thought was a little strange but i have now come to love.
The barista team here are all on the same level. They prefer ‘palate over skill’ & hope to serve their loyal customers with clean coffee that is not too strong & not too weak. Just well-balanced & this is why they have switched from 22gram brass baskets to 20gram stainless steel ones & cleaning the grinder blades on a daily basis adds to the coffee having a cleaner flavour. Each shot is weighed & timed right down to the second. The younger the coffee is, the more salty it is & that’s why Zac is very much into aging the beans. While I was here, I also tried the ‘Dark Horse’ blend which had ‘big, bold flavours.’
Also be sure to try the chai latte. These can be a bit hit & miss- especially if cafes’ choose to use a flavoured, powdered mix. Balmains on the other hand will serve your chai in a small pot that it has been brewed in just moments before. Pour through a strainer to keep the spices out of your cup & enjoy the most amazing chai you will ever have.
As for the food, the establishment is a humble size & therefore limits what they can do, but sticking to the keep it simple attitude, has paid off. The avocado & meredith goats cheese toast is their signature dish. Mine came accompanied with a delicious, fresh beetroot & hazelnut salad. It was the perfect lunch option & just the right size. They also have a lovely range of cakes, quiches & frittatas that are made on site.
This cafe is an all rounder & as Zac said to me, ‘Have passion & keep the love.’ Which is exactly what he has achieved.