In botany, an axil is the point of new life. Stepping into Hawthorn's Axil Coffee Roasters, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd left Melbourne altogether, such is the pace of the place. It's a heady atmosphere for the uninitiated.
Behind the sleek and unassuming facade, you'll find what only can be described as a quintessential 'coffee barn' for the city that lives and breathes caffeine. A sizeable seating space for 75 is replete with an intriguing cupping room and well-stocked retail selection of both beans and foodie equipment. Theatrical and buzzing, but large enough to be personable and original, Axil has managed to build a thriving reputation in only a few short years.
As expected, the selection of coffee on offer is expansive, considered and consistently good — proving that their three cups and award for best coffee in the 2013 Good Cafe Guide was well deserved. A changing list of single-origins, filter selections and a great house blend will keep everyone from the dowdiest drinker to the ultimate enthusiast pleased.
The industrial ambience spreads to the menu that is a nicely-balanced selection of breakfast and lunch favourites. With the middle meal of the day too often overlooked, Axil provides a welcome change. The roast pumpkin salad with goats cheese and beans ($17) is textural and satisfying, while the sweet corn and haloumi fritters with avocado, spinach, poached egg and salsa rosso ($17) is one of the more successful executions seen across Melbourne. Serves are hearty, but manage to steer clear of typically overbearing sizes. Don't miss the orange juice ($6) either — you know you’re on a winner when even the simplest things are stunning.
Staff are sharp and very well-practiced. If anything, the only drawback to this well-oiled machine is a hint of passion pulled out of the customer offering, but the constant buzz of the place hides this well.
Commitment levels at Axil Coffee Roasters are high. You're assured an impressive experience that looks like the easiest thing in the world, with character to boot. Even if you aren't a local it's worth a visit to the other side, just so you can see, eat and experience the well-earned fuss.