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Collective Espresso

An unassuming presence brings a pleasant slice of the suburban ecosystem to Camberwell.
By Roseanne Tiziani
August 08, 2013
By Roseanne Tiziani
August 08, 2013

For all intents and purposes of title, Collective Espresso has built quite a reputation within a loyal and diverse group of locals. The perfect location near Camberwell station means commuters are satiated, families or smaller groups are welcomed by the extremely obliging staff, and, with a sleek interior, it regularly manages to attract a hip, younger crowd. With this in mind, Collective Espresso is a pleasant slice of the suburban ecosystem.

An unassuming presence is exactly what has Collective Espresso alive and thriving. With a penchant to attract minimal attention to itself, every piece of the cafe experience has been left to do the talking. The narrow space is well-utilised, with the white decor carefully accented by regularly changing artwork on the walls and a thoughtful selection of reading material on offer. An expansive communal table that runs down the centre of the space bustles during peak periods, and, instead of potentially proving a beacon for a dissatisfying visit, actually makes things all the more jovial. Mixed all together, it's a quietly coherent and confident experience.

Service is extremely friendly, comfortable and practiced. Such reliability is accommodating of the seasonal menu changes, which vary from the expected to the thoroughly surprising. A mixture of verbose descriptions and interesting ingredient combinations are assured to make you think for a second or even furrow your brow, but with adventure comes lovely results that will not disappoint.

Despite endless revisions the menu stalwart remains the 'collective sigh of relief', a compilation of scrambled or poached eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomato chutney, bacon and toast ($23). Locals also continuously dive into the avocado and feta mash ($12) that is simplicity at its best. For the best morning-after cure, the fried chicken, cos and chipotle mayo brioche roll ($12) cannot be overlooked. Wash this down with a BAM: for the uninitiated, that’s a blueberry, apple and mint slushy ($5). Don't miss it.

Collective Espresso really is a bit of a local secret. It's assured to satiate any craving without needing to travel far, and that's even if you do need to come via train. Reliability in a cafe experience all too often equals boring, but this is far from it.

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