High Street, Armadale's Street Talk Espresso first opened its doors seven years ago. Fostering a magic combination of great food and a welcoming atmosphere, it is a neighbourhood favourite that not only keeps its local customers loyal, but sets about making new friends on a daily basis.
With the mission of supporting local vendors and producing hearty, wholesome fare, Street Talk is the brainchild of Dean Fouritz and is a simple celebration of hospitality the way it should be: excellent coffee, delicious locally-sourced produce and friendly service. Dean talks to diners as though they're his friends. In fact, he makes a point of saying, "once you've been in here, I consider you my friend". It feels genuine.
Chatting to Dean, as everyone does, it quickly becomes obvious that he is obsessed with food. Growing up in a "typical" Greek house with a gate through to his aunt's next door, there was always great food on the table and lots of people around it. In those days, Dean would typically be found in the kitchen helping his mother and grandmother prepare the family feast. So it's clear food was always a way of life for him. "Food has no boundaries," he explains. "No right and wrong — it's about finding unique and interesting flavours that bind together."
Take, for example, Street Talk's Iron Mike ($17). Showcasing Dean's heritage "to a T", he uses cauliflower, fresh green peas, yellow lentil puree, toasted chickpeas, burnt lemon, poached eggs, almond flakes and oregano salt to create a considered breakfast dish. The presentation is delicate (but not over the top) and it looks damn good on the plate.
The Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater bruschetta ($18) is an intriguing combo of roast pumpkin mash, a wild mushroom medley, poached eggs, local charred haloumi and a lemon beurre noisette. The haloumi — made in Clayton by a Greek guy, according to Dean — is all crisp, golden and meltingly good. There's almost a shortbread butteriness to it. This is all served in the brick-walled, concrete-floored rustic space which creates a laidback dining atmosphere in either the front dining area or the covered courtyard out the back.
The coffee is where it all gets slightly technical. If you want it to. Dean can talk you through the intricacies of bean blending and flavour balances; he's been roasting for three years now, and last year launched his own coffee brand, Agency Espresso. With a passion for the natural sweetness of South American beans, he's perfected a house blend with specialty grade beans that have origins in Guatemala, Panama, Brazil and Colombia. The cafe has also recently unveiled their latest blend Project Andes, which has Brazilian, Colombian and Guatemalan origins.
For inspired dishes crafted with a real sense of respect for the food, consistently good coffee and really great conversation, Street Talk Espresso is where it's at.
Images: Jo Rittey and Street Talk Espresso.