Penny Farthing Espresso
A bike-themed Northcote café pumps up its coffee and dining
With the world’s most prestigious cycling event in full swing (and an Aussie in prime contention), we think it fitting to bring you something old-school bike themed – Northcote’s under-appreciated Penny Farthing Espresso, a rustic conspicuous little café on High St.
With the title, owners and brothers Simon and Trevor Simmons pay homage to the late Hubert Foggart, a Penny Farthing enthusiast whose 1891 world record attempt to reach the highest top speed on the big-wheeled bicycle was denied official recognition.
The place has a homely, down-to-earth vibe. The self-renovated space absorbs a large communal in the front room, a scattering of wooden tables and a courtyard. Eye-catching is the ancient metallic steampunk bicycle in the window and Penny Farthing figurines.
So after a long, slow ride up Rucker’s Hill, settle in and crush an appetite early with the avocado and feta smash on Dench organic sourdough or bircher muesli with fresh-cut banana and seasonal berries. Made-to-order sandwiches (fillings include chicken and a housemade mayo, celery and walnut mix), stews and soups grant pedal power for the trip home.
Recently celebrating their first-year anniversary, the boys decided to diversify and develop the café’s core attributes, launching dinners from Wednesday to Saturday. Dishes burst with local, seasonal produce and offer two serving sizes: a ‘penny’ (large) or ‘farthing’ (small, for sharing). They range from seared scallops with pea and sage puree to waifer-thin smoked duck crepes.
The cafe has also started serving beans from its own off-site coffee roasting operation, Industry Beans, a move likely to cement their reputation for some of Melbourne’s best cuppas. That includes a range of specialty single-origin coffees, which you can also take home.
Add to this a select list of coffee-based cocktails. Using the same brewing methods, each flouts a unique unity between coffee, spirits and liqueurs. Down a few ‘Penny Farthing espressos’ – with Fernet Branca, Kahlua, PFE blend double ristresso, crème de cacao, cinnamon and egg white – and you’ll stay bright-eyed for some serious late night Le Tour watching.
Where: 206 High St, Northcote
When: Mon-Tue 7.30am-4pm | Wed-Fri 7.30pm-late | Sat 8.30am-late | Sun 8.30am-5pm
Phone: (03) 9482 2246