Dosage review

Halal snack pack jaffle special.
Halal snack pack jaffle special. Photo: Wayne Taylor

140 Burwood Hwy Burwood East, VIC 3151

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Features Outdoor seating
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9972 9519

Melbourne diners, you need a new skill in your repertoire; injecting your breakfast with condiments from a syringe. You'll get plenty of practice at Dosage, a hip and friendly new chemistry-themed cafe hidden in a Burwood medical centre.

Inject your smashed avo, pump extra syrup into your iced chocolate and squirt sauce into your jaffle. Perhaps you'll feel like a doctor, a scientist, a drug addict or just a bit silly and, if you get the angle wrong, you might need to hose down before moving on with your day.

The chemistry angle is also expressed in the test tube rack of spices on each table, and the laboratory beakers of water, sugar and salt, ahem, or "sodium chloride" as the label says. It's all in good fun.

The chemistry-themed cafe is hidden in a medical centre.
The chemistry-themed cafe is hidden in a medical centre. Photo: Wayne Taylor

The small menu is divided into bagels, jaffles and the "smashed selection". That's where you'll find the "fully bashed" avocado with feta and mint on a base of beetroot hummus and topped with a poached egg. The syringe is poked into the green smash and filled with chilli oil for administering as desired.

Add a spicy sprinkle of nuts and seeds, and a dusting of matcha powder and you've got a breakfast that suggests there are new places to take smashed avocado, that major Melbourne export to international cafe land.

My favourite use of the syringes is in the Halal Snack Pack jaffle, a special that's so great it may meander onto the main menu. The toastie is filled with roasted potatoes and slow-braised lamb, and stabbed with syringes featuring the HSP saucy trio (garlic, chilli and barbecue). Necessary? No. Gimmicky? Yes. Still cool? Absolutely!

'Properly bashed' avocado with beetroot hummus and poached eggs.
'Properly bashed' avocado with beetroot hummus and poached eggs. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Dosage has made much of its unpromising location in a bland building on a busy road with a cemetery and factories for near neighbours. An astro-turfed courtyard with potted greenery makes it even more of a haven. 

Owners Reiji Honour and Semir Elmazi have history at The Foreigner in Ivanhoe and Hyde and Seek in Ashwood, also off the beaten track and requiring special effort to seek them out.

Once you get into Dosage, though, it's all on show. The coffee bench is open and facing the room so you can watch the barista make your drink, expertly, lovingly, carefully and, if you like, chattily. The owners see their mission as something of a coffee outreach project, bringing Collingwood-style caffeine to the 'burbs.

A beaker of liquid nitrogen cold brew coffee.
A beaker of liquid nitrogen cold brew coffee. Photo: Wayne Taylor

They've got single origin, drip and filter and even nitrogen-charged coffee, brewed over 50 hours, then poured from a tap like beer, resulting in a cold coffee with a frothy head. It's weird but I can definitely imagine this hitting the spot on a hot day. Obviously, it's served in a beaker.

Dosage is quirky, jaunty and optimistic. Sure, injecting your food is kind of silly but I don't mind a bit of brunch DIY. So please, cafe doctor, up my dosage anytime.

Rating: Three and a half stars (out of five).