Coin Laundry

June 21, 2011

61 Armadale Street, Armadale

Do you have a dollar? Do you have a dollar for me? Have you got a little old house and a lemon tree? Do you have a reason? Do you have a reason for me? Can I be the girl that you met in the coin laundry?

Oh Lisa Mitchell, how quaint and freckly you are. How cute you looked in your little cream dress and enormous head-bow in that music video. I swear that bow was so big it looked like some sort of clam was eating your head.

This post isn’t about Lisa Mitchell. But it is about an (ex) Coin Laundry, and Armadale, and soccer mums, and chickpeas and coffee (just to give you a rough summary of the topics covered in this post – and now for the obligatory “contextual introduction”)

The Coin Laundry cafe used to be an actual coin laundry, and they’ve kept what I assume was the original sign out the front. The external building is very pretty, and I especially like the blue door and large windows, which afford plenty of natural light to those eating inside. Situated in the back streets of Armadale, at lunchtime on a Friday the place was hopping.

Inside, there is a funny display of origami cranes in metal grids (I like how only a few are blue), and a particularly interesting DIY ceiling made of tea towels, a homage to the building’s former function.  The tables are all wooden, and the floors are concrete. Above the front door there’s a fat roll of butchers paper which has been partly rolled down to have the day’s specials scrawled on it. Next to the coffee machine was a cute little side table of small cakes and slices, and the long bench where I was sitting had comfy green and cream pillows, matching the green accent tiles on the bar. The lighting is a combination of exposed, low hanging bulbs, which seem to be very popular in cafes these days, and a few which were suspended in red cages.

To me, this looks like a scene straight out of a Vogue Homes magazine. Distressed exposed brick wall, shelves with artisan jams, non-de-script copper cooking pot that has no functional purpose. But I do love that someone has put effort into the place, it makes it an interesting and pleasant place to be.

I mentioned before that the Coin Laundry is in Armadale. This is actually my first foray into the leafy south-eastern suburb; until this day I had no idea what Armadale was like. I’m sure I’d been there before when I was younger, but I have no memory of it. In fact, anything south of the Monash freeway and you’ve lost me entirely. Fancy that, an entire area of the city where you live that you have no preconceptions of! It’s quite thrilling really, like discovering a new world. A new world which turned out to be a posh version of Camberwell, I thought. Here’s what I noticed as I drove down High Street:

Cafes. Lots of cafes
Bridal shops
Antiques shops
Toorak Tractors
Thigh-high boots and gigantic D&G sunglasses
Soccer mums (shudder)
To (somewhat) paraphrase Jane Austen, I will not say that I hated Armadale High Street, but I am afraid that I did not like it. (Original quote “I will not say that your mulberry trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive”). But perhaps that is just first impressions, in which case a few return trips may be necessary to modify my opinion (but I seriously doubt it – I really really hate soccer mums).

First up, the coffees. Here is my latte and D’s flat white, both with perfectly drawn rosettas in the froth. I really enjoyed my coffee, the perfect drinking temperature, silky smooth milk and nice taste, if a little sweeter than I’m used to. D however, found that his flat white, though it had a good flavour, lacked enough heat.

This picture reminds me of the glowing orange lunar eclipse from last week.
D had the slow cooked lamb with hummus, tabouleh, fattoush salad, mint and tahini. This caught my eye when I read over the menu, so I was glad he ordered it so it could make an appearance here, and, as I suspected, it photographed very well. D’s feedback was that the lamb was really nice, very tender (always a good sign), and that he liked the salad and dressing/hummus.

I had the chickpea and chorizo cassoulet with a fried egg and grilled turkish bread. It was quite chilly that day, so this was the perfect winter warmer dish. Often when I have beans or chickpeas done in a tomato sauce, it suffers from an insipid taste, but not this version, which had a lovely rich sauce that was beefed up by the smokey paprika taste of the chorizo. I also enjoyed having a fried egg for a change, usually they’re poached. A very filling dish though, I couldn’t finish it.

A few hours after lunch and the place had quietened down somewhat, so I got this shot to give some perspective of how the cafe is set out. Overall a very pleasant afternoon spent (blissfully) far away from soccer mums – well worth the trip down Glenferrie Road!

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Filed under: Armadale, Brunch, Coffee