61A Armadale Street
Armadale VIC 3143
+61 3 9500 1888
The best steak sandwich ever? Really? Quite a big call, I thought to myself as I read Michèle’s gushing review of the newly opened Coin Laundry cafe just a hop, skip and jump from Armadale station.
Adam and I figured that the cafe wouldn’t be terribly busy at 12pm on a Tuesday afternoon, so we lazily made our way there … only to find that it was packed to the rafters with soccer mums with massive turbo prams in tow, schoolkids from the nearby King David School taking a break from class and annoying Asian food bloggers with obtrusive Nikons and Canons (cough cough). We were told that there would be a 15 minute wait for a table which we were okay with. It gave us the chance to go for a walk and catch some much needed vitamin Ds from the sun. Before long, a corner table opened up and we plonked our tushes on the wooden seats.
As the name suggests and as you may have read from several blogs extolling the virtues of Coin Laundry, the cafe used to be a coin laundry. Then owners Steve Rowley and Matt Vero rocked up, ripped out the washing machines and installed a kitchen along with some tables & chairs and lovely ornaments all around the spaciously airy room.
They have specials listed on the giant toilet paper dispenser-looking hanger above one of the entrances, all of which sounded enticing but Adam was here for one thing: THE steak sandwich. As for me? I was, um, going to get a salad. Having said that, the (much longer) breakfast menu, which is available all day, did look amazing so I’ll be back to give the ricotta sweet corn fritters a go. And the caramelised French toast soldiers. And the house-toasted granola served with spiced berry compote and rosewater labneh. Oh, what I am saying? I’m going to keep coming back until I try every single thing on the damn menu!
We enjoyed some beautiful Allpress coffees while we waited for our food, a skinny latte for me and a short macchiato for Adam ($3.50 each). Neither of us normally put sugar in our coffees anyway but when Adam took a sip of my latte, he thought that I had perhaps snuck in a spoonful or two because it was so sweet. It was beautiful though, naturally sweet and smooth with a rather mild taste that was gentle to the palate.
Before long, we realised that our coffees had been drained, our Herald Suns read back to front (twice), our facebook pages checked five times on our mobiles and our water jug had been refilled twice. We had been waiting a very long time.
40 mins later (!!), our food arrived. While I’m aware that the cafe has been flat-out since it opened a month ago (not expecting such a positive response and therefore, being understaffed etc), I thought that an apology would not have hurt. But whatever, maybe a 40 minute wait for a steak sandwich is normal in this part of town. And maybe no one in the cafe really had to rush off to classes and meetings and what-have-you, but still. I wasn’t cranky for long though because, well, how could you not when you have food that looked THIS good…?
Seriously, folks, have you seen a steak sandwich that looked like THAT? The loveliest, crunchiest and chewiest bread from Noisette, slabs of perfectly rare Scotch fillet slices, a handful of rocket leaves and a mixture of little extras that made the sandwich so effking awesome, including a beetroot relish that will make beetroot-haters like myself fall in love with that stuff. $18.50 sounds kinda excessive for a steak sandwich but it goes without saying, this was worth every cent.
My salad: warm chermoula spiced chicken with couscous, rosewater infused apricot and pine nut salad, coriander and tahini yoghurt ($17). I had no idea that I had ordered the exact same things as Michèle until I re-read her review tonight (oops), but I guess great minds order alike, eh? This what what half the soccer mums were ordering that day so I decided to follow suit (not because I want to be a soccer mum – okay, fine, I DO – but because it was perfect salad weather). It was an amazing salad which ticked all the right boxes: there was a good balance of textures ranging from the crunchy rocket leaves to the succulent chicken pieces to the smooth and creamy tahini yoghurt, a great combination of flavours from spicy to sweet to bitter and it was extremely filling. I loved how the rosewater and apricots just brought everything together too. Beautiful, just beautiful.
We really did not want to leave the cafe – we were just content to sit by the window and read the Herald Sun for the third time – but studying awaited us so off to Caulfield we went. While I’m no fan of Lisa Mitchell, I would like to say that if the girl that she was singing about in ‘Coin Laundry’ was hanging out at THIS particular coin laundry, then I would give away my Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs to be that girl anytime.