Review: Seven Seeds

Brother Baba Budan strapped seven seeds of fertile coffee to his waist as he travelled from Yemen to Indian in the 17th century, breaking the rules of the tightly regulated system of the time (which aimed to keep coffee cultivation confined to the Arabic world). Now, when I have an 8:30 class in the city and didn’t get home until 4am that morning, I quietly thank Brother Budan (or I make a mental note to – I’m in too bad of a mood to thank anyone or think of anyone outside of myself and how badly my head is pounding).

Since starting university, I have become slightly addicted to coffee, spend a lot of my time wandering around the northern suburbs looking for new cafes, and would like to ride a bike. It’s surprising then, that it has taken me so long to visit this coffee hub in Carlton (which, to coffee lovers, could be considered the centre of the universe). D put his trust in me to take him somewhere nice for lunch on his day-off from working 6 days a week, so I decided to take him to where I personally wanted to go in the hope that he'd like it (or at least the knowledge that he'd be polite enough to pretend he did - which he was).

This was a pretty poor effort by me, ordering a chai latte at one of the most celebrated coffee roasting houses in Melbourne, but regardless I was pretty happy with this coffee.
Seven Seeds has become a bit of a household name to those that visit cafes often, as you generally see a bag of their beans, on display on a shelf somewhere near the coffee machine. Seven Seeds humbly calls themselves a “micro roaster”, but this place is like a temple of coffee. Located in a food-barren stretch of land outside of the CBD (I think it lies just on Carlton’s border), behind unassuming grey bricks lies a roomy café, state-of-the-art roasting facility, retail counter, and a room dedicated to regular coffee training programs.

On their website they explain, “like all fruit, coffee is seasonal”, so the coffee offerings are constantly rotating, and the beans are treated with love, care, and respect, ensuring you get the most flavours from your beans. As it’s also a roastery, Seven Seeds boasts that it’s one of the few roasteries in Melbourne to cup what they roast on a daily basis. These guys are serious coffee lovers.

D didn't see this meal on the menu until I pointed it out to him and then he swore at me for pointing it out to him, because it meant that he had to get it (despite the fact that he's trying to diet). This was the Elvis French Toast stuffed with banana caramel, whipped peanut butter, and shards of candied bacon. D, with such a big sweet tooth, loved this one. 
Seven Seeds don’t neglect the food side. Even though the menu is quite short, it’s definitely not simple, with complex flavours hailing from all over the world (and it changes seasonally). And with fewer options comes more time for chef’s to refine and perfect what they serve. So our dishes (and the other dishes I spied around the room) were all beautifully presented – a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach.

I felt slightly boring ordering this after D got his deluxe sweet dish, but it was definitely just as multi-layered and delicious. Freekah and chickpea salad with za'atar, roast eggplant, chargrilled peppers, and goats cheese. Every ingredient was fresh and bursting with flavour - some of the best roasted vegetables I've ever had. 
You know that the fit out of this place (being a converted warehouse) is going to be cool. It’s spacious, with exposed brick walls, shiny concrete floors, visible roof frames, wooden benches, and industrial wooden doors. The huge amount of space made it the perfect place to hide out and stay cool on a surprisingly warm spring day – D was pretty happy about that, as he’s told me a number of times before, he’s not keen on the heat. There is also a whole corner dedicated to bikes, so diners can store their fixies safely and not have to worry.

That’s the sort of vibe they have here. University students and office workers mingling quite happily next to each other, enjoying a VERY good cup of coffee and some tasty food. But hey, that seems to just be Melbourne these days. The staff are relaxed as well without making you feel like you're going to be forgotten at any moment, and even though it was outside of the lunch rush, there was still a constant flow of people pouring in for something to drink or eat.

It's a simple menu but definitely very groovy and exciting
I'm pretty glad I've finally checked out this place, and I'm even gladder that it's so close to both university and my house and therefore easier to get to. The fact that it's open until 5pm is an even better gift as it means I can pop in to do some after university study.

Seven Seeds
114 Berkeley Street, Carlton
9347 8664

Mon - Sat: 7am to 5pm
Sun: 8am to 5pm


Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

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