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Store Espresso, located in a leafy cul-de-sac, was formerly a hardware store. Scattered around the café are curios from the building's past life – an antique floodlight; old baskets filled with oranges; a giant clock; and other wooden odds and ends.
Inside, the café is split down the centre with the right side dedicated to the counter, coffee machine and vintage Zumex juicer. The left side of the room is taken up by one large communal table where people jumble in together, happily knocking elbows over coffee and cake.
The menu itself is short and sweet. We are sorely tempted by the egg and bacon panino with Swiss cheese but eventually are swayed by the breakfast plate with avocado, poached eggs, roast tomato, ricotta, toast, and jam. The addition of the sweet preserve to the plate is a tiny detail but ultimately it is the clincher, solving the sweet or savoury breakfast debate very effectively - you get the cooked breakfast and still get something sweet to round it all off.
Smoked trout features on the menu in place of the more common smoked salmon. Order it on the side of the eggs – the sweet, smoky flavour works perfectly. If it's well past morning when you arrive, there are thick-cut sandwiches and rolls on offer - the roast beef baguette with brie, rocket and horseradish ($9.50) would satisfy the Earl himself. There are a lot of thoughtful details at Store Espresso. If you're not averse to a little seasoning (hey, who isn't?) the table salt is the pink Murray River stuff, and jugs of water laced with lemon are always on hand.
Store Espresso is frequented by local families as well as a fair number of RPA staff taking a much-needed time out. The pace of the café is steady but rarely hectic. Instead, people linger over their coffee, reading newspapers and magazines. Some even take a blanket from the old chest in the window and set up camp in the park. The vibe is relaxed and friendly, and the service walks that perfect line between attentive and leaving well enough alone. Emily Lloyd-Tait