If you build it, they will come. For jaffles.
That's the plan from the marketing team at Trenerry Property, at least: using coffee and toasties to lure visitors to the display site of its West Melbourne development. It hasn't skimped when building its vision of utopia. Tait Lane is a semi-permanent cafe by Peter Henderson, the man behind successful North Melbourne eateries Hot Poppy and Oskar and cocktail bar Joe Taylor.
Tait Lane is a little more built-to-order than its charactered Errol Street brethren. Walls are lined with steel and timber cladding, pillaged from the condemned building next door, and a marble bar streaks down the middle. On the verandah, there's seating.
The menu borrows from the tried and true at Hot Poppy, with toasties named after West Melbourne streets. The Hopkins, for instance, is fontina, taleggio, gruyere and emmenthaler from Bill's Farm at the Queen Vic Markets, between Noisette sourdough. There's trusty shakshuka, baked eggs with tomato, ricotta, chickpea and roast pepper. Soon there'll be booze, with plans to infuse at least a little of the cocktail expertise at Joe Taylor.
The cafe is just one part of what is going to be a futuristic self-contained community out west. Dog-walking adventurers Tom & Captain have their first bricks-and-mortar store in the complex, and curator Anna Prifti has hung a contemporary gallery with local art. At this stage, the Tait Lane pop-up is expected to endure for two years, although Henderson is considering a permanent venue once the West End is erected.
If the coffee's up your alley (and you want to escape the rest of Melbourne), stay and buy a house.
Open Tue-Sun 8am-3pm.
185 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne