Thursday, June 28, 2012

Common Galaxia

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Like the silvery native fish that gives it its name, the exterior of Common Galaxia may blend into its surroundings, but step inside and you will see how fresh and unique it is.

This is the second venture for the owners of South Melbourne's Dead Man Espresso, one of Melbourne's most renowned coffee-centric cafes.  Although I have heard there are also practical reasons behind the move to these premises, I do think the fact that an already iconic business from the other side of the river should choose Seddon as a viable site for its next venture is yet another signpost in the inner west's evolution.

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The coffee's serious business here, but still accessible.  The Seven Seeds house blend is broken down into its regional components and complemented by a guest blend (today from Market Lane) plus another for pourover (above).

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Luscious latte love.  Each table has a little caddy on the side for salt, pepper, cutlery and the menu, folded up like a love note.

The menu has cut the apron strings of build-your-own breakfasts and is completely awesome.  Think pikelets with apple curd and dulce de leche, and baked eggs - yes, I know, but they're with chorizo made with Warialda Beef (think Beatrix's Rachael!) or four types of braised bitter greens.  Their namesake even makes an appearance, I think as crispy whitebait-style fish, cosying up with shaved fennel and native lemon aspen berry mayo as one of their smorrebrod offerings (open Danish sandwiches on rye).

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$14.50 (plus bacon, $18)

Choosing something was the sweetest form of torture but this dish of avocado, chevre, chickpeas and pomegranate "gems" on pumpkin bread was delicious.  The bread was quite sweet, the seeds on its crust contrasting with the melt-in-your-mouth goats cheese, the tangy pop of pomegranate seeds and a side of rich, crisp streaky bacon.

The fish may be common, but this Galaxia is truly special.

Common Galaxia on Urbanspoon

Common Galaxia
Shop 3, 130 Victoria Street, Seddon
Phone:  9689 0309
Hours:  Tues-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat & Sun 8am-4pm



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27 comments:

  1. Looks like they're using Sourdough Kitchen's pumpkin bread - if so even bigger praise needs to be given for keeping it local.

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    1. I should also add that the menu is a little OTT - I needed to Google every component of one of the baked egg choices, although after I worked out what everything was it sounded pretty amazing!

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    2. Ah, I wondered that too when I was writing it up - should have asked at the time! Was it the mushroom baked eggs, with 'duxelles', 'Fermier' etc? I know what you mean, but everything sounds so incredibly delicious, doesn't it?!

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  2. Yes, the dixelles, Timboon Fermier and Skordalia, not to mention the smorrebrod (ummm...sandwiches?). Wee bit pretentious for my liking but willing to forgive if it tastes good!

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    1. I meant duxelles of course

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    2. Taste will reign supreme! I love it - I think it's a genuinely exciting, adventurous menu that will differentiate it from other local cafes. It's not pretentious inside at all - lovely staff, lots of kids and parents.

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    3. I was just reffering to the menu online, I'm sure it's lovely and can't wait to visit

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    4. I hope you like it! With Bongiovanni, Seddon Wine Store, Sourdough Kitchen and all the other great Seddon businesses, it's becoming quite the destination.

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    5. Who needs Yarraville?

      Bongiovanni is great, but if it means the eventual demise of Pompello then Seddon will be the poorer for it

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    6. I think Pompello will be OK. There's a huge amount of love for them in the community and many people dislike Bongiovanni's stocking of prepackaged fruit and veg. I think many who shop at Bongiovanni are people who value small-scale, independent producers (because Bongiovanni stocks so many yoghurts, cheeses etc from small producers) and that means they will continue to support Pompello.

      I have an old magnet that I bought from Le Chien, I think it was, about six years ago that says "Seddon - it's a secret". Not anymore!!!!!!

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  3. Dead man has been my favourite local cafe for this year. Love the fitout, and I'm not sure what I'll be more excited about. The menu or the coffees!

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    1. If you want a date to check Common Galaxia out, you know who to call!

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  4. Great Blog - although your posts would be EVEN better if you used a better camera. I'm not sure your current camera does justice for some of those delicious looking dishes... Since investing in a Nikon DSLR a few years ago, photography (and in particular of food that I make) has taken on a whole new meaning... Food for thought, as such?

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    1. Hi Dan, I know they would but I don't like the bulk of a professional DSLR and I think it can be intimidating for restaurants. My camera is a Panasonic Lumix with a Leica lens, I don't know much about photography but I think it is pretty decent for a compact digital. It's probably more the fact that I use it on 'intelligent auto' all the time and don't know much about aperture etc (even though the camera can be used as a manual), let alone composition. But thanks for stopping by and your comment!

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    2. James In FootscrayJuly 2, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      I think the photos look great!

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    3. Good one, James! I agree. I think it's a fine line between suss pics, good ones and REALLY good ones that are so good they actually misrepresent the food at hand. Honest and in focus will do me!

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  5. Hey Lauren, thanks so much for this review. I was just reading Bryan's post about brunching in the west and have added them all to my list. And now, I've got another place to add after reading this! I LOVE how there's so many great cafes popping up in the inner western suburbs, so convenient to visit from the city. Plus, I've got way more friends in the West and every time we go to Reading Room it's always a massive party haha! Am sure they'd be keen to try out this place too... Woo hoo! =D

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  6. I had a coffee there this morning. About room temperature, weak and took ages. They're not in Sth Melbourne anymore, will have to lift their game over here.

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    1. Hi Mick, thanks for your comment. In terms of "took ages", this is their first weekend open so you have to cut them some slack for that. In terms of your other comments, obviously if it was literally room temperature it's too cold but milk coffees should properly be served at 65 degrees, which, if you're not used to it, could be experienced as being almost tepid. It all has to do with retaining the milk's sweetness and texture though. Most cafes will happily make you a hotter coffee if you ask.

      In terms of being "weak", this is another way specialty coffee differs. The blend Common Galaxia are using (7 Seeds) is 100% Arabica. There are two main species of coffee bean, Arabica and Robusta, both originating in Ethiopia. Arabica grew slowly in shady, mountainous areas and was allowed to gently develop a flavour profile in a stable environment. Robusta grew in low-lying, arid areas and had to protect itself from being eaten by animals and pests, so it became far more bitter and has twice the caffeine as Arabica. Robusta is far, far cheaper than Arabica. The new breed of coffee roasters avoid Robusta pretty much at all costs, preferring the subtleties and sweetness of Arabica. However, traditional Italian coffee (eg Romcaffe and, I believe, the very popular Genovese) does contain a proportion of Robusta to increase the coffee's perception through milk and create a typically brash, bitter edge that many Melburnians associate with coffee.

      What this all means is that when you're used to drinking "classic Melbourne" coffees of the past however many years, like Genovese, Lavazza etc that contain Robusta, when you get a 100% Arabica coffee - particularly one of very high quality like 7 Seeds - they can at first taste odd, like they're not strong enough. I used to think they tasted "beany" rather than like coffee, like some sort of intense soy mik. If you keep drinking them, you will very likely start to love them and find it hard to go back to those very traditional, bitter Italian-style coffees.

      I guess there's no right or wrong. I know I love lagers and either detest or am indifferent to all my husband's bizarre weiss beers, chocolate stouts, ales, porters etc etc. He picks up my lager and says, "Pah, how boring and standard, how can you drink that?!" Despite being a friendly zealot now, it really did take me a while to get used to this new style of coffee with its more delicate texture, lighter, more beany flavour and the heat factor. Now I love it and can't go back, and as you can see I'm pretty much a lost cause because I love filter, Aeropress, siphon and all the strange brewing methods that the vast majority of people I know raise their eyebrows at, so rusted onto espresso they are.

      My one last suggestion is to try Reading Room up at Vic Uni because they have three blends on at one time and in particular Sensory Lab's Chompy which was specially roasted to "punch through milk" like a traditional Italian coffee (a gap in the specialty coffee market they identified). They also do all the alternative brewing methods so who knows Mick, you may leave there and be a full-blown convert to specialty coffee like me!

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  7. I came across the link to your blog via your comment here... http://www.lastappetite.com/the-end-of-food-reviewing/

    LOVED reading through it and although this is off topic of your post (above), I'd like to quickly share how pleased I was to read that some of us still see printed reviews having a place in today's online world. (shall email you about this...)

    On topic (of this post), you're mention of Market Lane's coffee has got me fighting my cravings for their pour overs. Having recently moved from Melbourne to be back 'home' with family in Adelaide, one thing I can say I'm longing for is a gorgeous cup of freshly ground, quality coffee. Adelaide is slowly picking up pace...but frequent visits back to melbourne town have helped ease my pain ;)

    Following you and hoping you might like to follow my corner of blog-land too.
    Maria

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    1. Thanks so much Maria! Printed reviews are still relevant. I interviewed Anthony from Bongiovanni & Son in Seddon yesterday, and he called me back to tell me what a huge impact the small mention of the shop in Epicure that day had had in terms of phone calls and visitors.

      I know the pain of missing good coffee! And glad to find another pourover fan; I feel like I'm in the minority among most people I know, even fellow coffee-nut bloggers!

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  8. Ah Lauren so are you to blame for what I hear are queues out the door at Common Galaxia - this review certainly makes me want to go, queue or not!

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    1. You must go! It's so good. It wasn't all me though; Broadsheet wrote about them the day they opened, I think, and Three Thousand soon after. They had been tweeting the design and build process for months too so there was never a chance of a soft opening.

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  9. I went today and was not disappointed. They do a good long black with a serve of hot water! I went for the avocado toast and look forward to working my way through the menu. Only criticism was way too many children for my taste.

    They are cash only.

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    1. Cash only is good to know. I also found out from another friend that babycinos clock in at $2.50 so be aware of that!

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  10. Checked this place out after reading your blog and I love it! Beautiful space, friendly staff & tasty food using, from what I can see good local produce. Lots of babies but that's everywhere in Seddon?! And can you blame them for charging $2.50?? (I'm pretty sure I was only charged $2) the mess from another tables child had choc all over the walls plus my child's scone all over the floor! Lol I cleaned as much as I could! ;)
    Brekky at Galaxia, a loaf from Sourdough, flowers from Pompello, cheese from Bongiovanni, wine from The Wine Store - happy days, might even have time to pop into a few other shops while I'm there!
    Anyway I'll be heading over to Seddon to have brekky & coffee at Common Galaxia, pick up a loaf from Sourdough, some flowers from Pompello, cheese from

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    1. Hooray! Isn't it great? That made me laugh about the scone. Every time my children up-end their babycino all over the stack of Frankie magazines in the middle of the communal table, I think it's the direct karmic correlation with every "tsk" that came out of my pursed lips when I was cleaning up children's mess when I was working in restaurants pre kids.

      I know that for serious coffee places babycinos are a pain to make because they only heat enough milk for each individual coffee at a time (that's why they have those crazy nano jugs) and don't have the big pail of hot milk sitting around that other cafes might have.

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