A new year begins and sadly in its first month we lose an icon of music in David Bowie. A man of many faces, who wasn’t scared to be an individual. In 1969 he released a song called Space Oddity about a fictional astronaut called Major Tom who drifts into space after severing communication with earth. Nearly half a century later, in 2015, a unique venue opened in Smith Street Collingwood called MJR TOM, which like its namesake, is a pod floating between fantasy and reality, crafted from plywood and corrugated iron. And like Mr Bowie himself, owners Nick Tiktikakis and Harry Tsiaples have defied the rules, creating a multifunctional space that appears to be a cafe, is also a restaurant, sometimes a bar, but always warm, cozy and very inviting.
With history obviously playing a major role in the formation of the business, the guys decided to buck the trend of locally roasted specialty coffee and offer a reliable Italian brew, settling on Romcaffè after a long association with the brand. Upon entering MJR Tom the first thing you see is the stunning Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle machine they use to pump out the Miscela Espresso Italiano as their house blend. This coffee is silky and buttery yet punchy enough to withstand the addition of milk and equally delicious taken black, where you’ll pick up the underlying brightness. There’s no commentary here about where the beans are from and the cups aren’t presented on boards with tasting notes, because Romcaffè has been roasted in Italy since 1925. Coffee is seen as an experience and a ritual, nothing more. It needs to taste good, smell good and give you a boost at any time of the day. The company is still run by the grandson of the founder, so quality and a sense of tradition is present in every cup. If you like your coffee to be served with a story, then you’ll love it at MJR Tom.
Romcaffè’s blend is floating around currently at these establishments –
MJR Tom – 108 Smith St Collingwood The European – 161 Spring St CBD Trattoria Emilia – 360 Little Collins St CBD The Journal – 253 Flinders Lane CBD Café Paradiso – 213-215 Camberwell Rd Hawthorn East L’Hotel Gitan – 32 Commerical Rd Prahran