In today's cafe game, serving a stock standard latte with a slice of undercooked banana bread just isn't going to cut it. Things have to be done properly, thoroughly, and with extra, indefinable zest; a cafe should be a 'creative space', a coffee an 'experience'. And while cafe kingpins are scattered high and low around Melbourne, there's one humble jack-of-all-trades that sits comfortably off Brunswick's Sydney Road: Acustico.
Snuggled on Union Street, so close to the train tracks you'll feel like the fat controller while snacking on breaky, Acustico is a cafe well worth veering off the main strip for. It's a sustainable environment in both its direction and delivery, designed by Mike Sharp and Jessica In from The Summer Office. The interior has been constructed using recycled materials, and its intimate, yet open plan setting encourages conversation as well as shared eating. This is a real bonus given the coffee here is extra mean, and the food is so good you'll want to be showing it off to those around you.
Whether or not there's something on the main menu that takes your fancy, be sure to scope out the specials. Their lemon ricotta pancakes with caramel, hazelnuts and strawberries ($15) are light, fluffy, and will have you pleased and perplexed at how one simple ingredient can strangely enhance a century-old breakfast staple. Otherwise, the chorizo baked eggs ($16) are a solid go-to, and their range of toasties are addictively perfect — you can safely order one and know it's going to be hearty and absolutely crisp, cheese-laden, and cholesterol-spiking.
Second to a cafe, Acustico may as well sell itself as an artistic space. Its tables are wide and sturdy, the wifi is strong, and the music and conversation of other patrons never tends to be intrusive. Almost always at Acustico, there's a cafe-goer hard at work, headphones in, typing away on a Mac — usually sharing a table with someone doing the same. The space is just as welcoming for families; the menu and wait staff are super accommodating to tots, and there's even a little playroom out back.
If you can overlook all the lights and allure of Sydney Road, Acustico is a safe and satisfying detour for a coffee and a meal. Whether you're with friends, family, flying solo or just catching up on some work, let Acustico show you what fine coffee, food and eco-ethos is all about.