(Are You) The One I’ve Been Waiting For?
Words by Jerome Lebel-Jones
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre
Ever wish that you could take the best bits from your favourite cafes and Frankenstein them into the monster of all cafes? I do. I have coffee favourites and food favourites. Others I go to just for the vibe. So is it possible to do everything brilliantly?
Realistically the answer is probably no. But by jingo, some people are having a crack and getting mighty close. For my $18.50, Three Bags Full is about as close as you can get to a 10 out of 10 score. That’s right, Three Bags Full is the Torvill and Dean of cafes, albeit with slightly less glitter.
OK, there’s no such thing as perfect. But props to those that get close. So let’s get started on the handing out of props. Starting with coffee. Is it the best coffee in Melbourne? Hard to say, but there is no doubt that these guys are putting out coffee that is equal to the best Melbourne has to offer. I actually think that’s because there is so much going on here, the coffee has to be a team player rather than the star. It would be interesting to see how my perception changed if coffee was the only thing they offered.
Yes, but how’s the food I hear you ask. Pretty bloody good. As good as Duchess Of Spotswood? It certainly doesn’t push the boat out as much, but not everybody wants crispy Kurobuta pork belly, duck egg with truffled Madeira sauce for breakfast. What you’ll find instead is a menu that looks like a Best Of compilation. A menu packed full of hits from their previous cafes Liar Liar and Apte. And as any good rock star worth their rider knows, the kids are crazy for the hits.
One of the downfalls of really successful cafes is the service. The best case scenario is that it’s perfunctory. No great surprise given that some of these places are so packed all of the time that there’s no opportunity for the warmth or interaction that you get from smaller places. I’ve been happy with the service each time I visited. Very happy given how busy the place has been. The day we turned up to take photos, Three Bags Full was mental busy. Every seat in the house was occupied, every waiter doing their best impression of Ganesh with many more plates than hands. What they really needed was two urbane yet approachable guys to turn up and start taking photos. Was it a problem? Nope. Did they skip a beat? Nup. Did they still find time to charm the punters? Yep.
So whilst it’s hard to say definitively that Three Bags Full has the best food, coffee or service, what I feel confident in saying that as an overall experience this would have to be one of the best in Melbourne. Everyone has their favourites for various reasons, but I challenge you to try Three Bags Full and not be impressed. What would be handy now is some suggestion as to what they could tweak to make Three Bags Full perfect, but I’ve got nothing. Actually, come to think of it, perhaps if they could do it all on ice skates…
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre
Originally published 23 August, 2010
60 Nicholson Street
Abbotsford, Victoria 3067
T. 03 9421 2732