Ararat Avakian has been in hospitality for over 15 years. Together with his brother Nick, they’ve recently opened Tom Wilson. Fresh off the press, this charming leafy green meets European tiling meets modern Melbourne cafe is serving up fun foodie fare, from 7am to 3:30pm daily.
Brighton streets were graced with the Avakian flair for running a darn good joint back in 2011, when Olie & Ari set up shop in Were Street. Ever since it’s been a local favourite. 2014 saw Superrandom arrive on New Street, well known (and populated) by many for its cute and unassuming jaffles and spot on coffee.
When asked what he owes his success to in regards to creating bustling business, Ararat Avakian modestly states, ‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously.’ With a laid back menu, the flavours are king, and snobbery or pretentiousness is nowhere to be found (even though it is in Briiiiighton.)
Tom Wilson—as with Superrandom and Olie & Ari—focuses on building a strong relationship with the local community. This is apparent whenever you visit, whether it be for a cheeky coffee catch up in the early afternoon, or to brave the crowds for a brekkie (brunch—let’s not kid ourselves, sleep-ins are totally underrated) on the weekend. People don’t need to come from far and wide for this charming cafe to be busy, and although Wilson Street is not known for it’s foot traffic, six weeks since opening, it’s definitely starting to pick up!
Without a doubt we’re slipping on our sneakers and moseying on down, especially when the menu offers delightful treats such as Waffles with Nutella cream and pecan brittle, or Benedict Eggs with slow braised ham hock, cider hollandaise and a potato hash. For a lunchtime treat, the toasted pides are surprisingly unique, with a standout filling of grilled zucchini, babghanoush, feta and rocket. Or maybe you’re after some sneaky sliders? The Calamari with lime mayo buns don’t disappoint. Plus, who doesn’t love themselves some cornichons?
Fresh pressed juices are perfect as the weather is warming up, and Prana Chai features on a curated and diverse drinks list, with an intention of expanding to include liquor—pending licensing approval. While all these thirst-quenching options are exciting and enticing, lets not beat around the bush. We live in Melbourne after all, and coffee quality is close to many a heart. Thankfully, the team at Tom Wilson know their sh…stuff. Alternating between Superrandom and Tom Wilson, is barista Nobumasa Shimoyama, who has not only won Latte Art competitions internationally (plural intended), but has also designed the strong and smooth coffee served up—the Superrandom + Nobu Blend, with beans sourced from Nicaragua and Peru. #latteart.
With many happy customers, and three popular cafes providing Brighton-ites with their food and caffeine fix, Ararat Avakian tells us they have a fourth Brighton-based project in the works! We’re super pumped for the opening of Uncle George, which will be located on Hampton Street—in Brighton, duh! The plan is for a lunch and dinnertime set up, mixing it up a bit with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style menu. You can expect us there for lunch. And dinner.