Slater St. Bench has poached a number of quality baristas in the last few months. They are the German football team of the cafe world. I’ve seen some of the staff before, although I had to look up their names, Frank, Pat, Jared and Josh.
Opening up on the corner of St. Kilda Rd and Slater Street, it’s a coffee stop for businessman taking a break from doing business. Directly opposite and in fact everywhere around are rows and rows of offices, and just behind on Slater Street there is a park. So if you were a businessman that went for walks and coffee then it just keeps getting better.
I got there at about 9 on a Friday (on weekends they rest) and it was relatively busy. They’ve clearly catered for corporation CEO’s, because the inside is somewhat clinical. Everything is logical and clean. If Ron Dennis were here, he would slate (yep) them for the dust on the newspaper rack. I should imagine everyone that comes here in the morning is called Ron Dennis, wearing bluetooth ear pieces.
But yes, there is a bench, then there is a coffee bar for sitting, and one for standing as well. And that’s about it. It’s all very clean and minimalist, so bauhaus.
Considering the size, this is a good thing, because any more decorations would create clutter in such a small space. It’s a high-quality coffee bar that aims to be a modernist. So look beyond the perfect geometric shapes towards the impressive Mahlkonig grinder, beautiful La Marzocco with custom bronze plating, and a few other Mazzer grinders for when perfection isn’t quite enough. Walter Gropius would be proud.
Nowhere else in close proximity takes coffee as seriously. Considering Slater does filter, it was always going to be considered one of the best. The turnover rate is quite high, catering primarily for takeaways or a quickie in your ten minutes of R’n’R. There is an air of urgency in everyone, you could take out a laptop if you wanted to get a little work done, but there are other places for lounging around.
Because Jared is involved in the running of Clement Coffee, they use a variety of single origin and blends from them. The froth on the first coffee I had was dense, so that was disappointing. Actually no, that’s the wrong word. I’m never disappointed, that emotion is reserved for people who don’t think ahead. For a Ron Dennis who marries a blonde 22 year old stick and comes home to find her in bed with the postman. He’s disappointed in her. He’s also disappointed when his business goes under. But he did a deal with an Irishman. What can you expect?
Since disappointment is for the ignorant, I was nonchalant when I had to endure a slightly unpleasant start to what would become a taste that had some fruity notes, mainly citrus (clementine anyone?) I was told this was the pony blend. Whatever that means. It was good.
The second was I think done by someone else, the froth was silkier and I noticed a crisper finish as well. There wasn’t any lasting coffee taste, it was like I’d had a small sip of water after. Or brushed my teeth.
They have a selection of pastries and cakes as well but with my allergies I’m never brave enough to try them. Especially because I never remember my Epipen.
So the space is fresh, as is the coffee. And because a lack of caffeine means you are weak in the head, I wouldn’t trust any executive decisions made by a board that hadn’t consumed a healthy amount of the bean nectar. So we shall soon see a year on year increase in productivity, followed by a jump in top line revenue and trading on quadruple digit multiples to create a business model that is cash flow positive.
Frankie and Co have made a sound investment.
SLATER ST BENCH
8/431 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
0488 331 669